Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage: Progress Report 2009

Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage — Executive Summary

The Government of Canada is building a strong future for Canadians through science and technology (S&T). Scientific discoveries and new technologies are essential to building a dynamic economy. This is, perhaps, even more important in difficult economic times. By investing in S&T, the Government of Canada is creating a stronger economy, future opportunities for jobs, an improved quality of life and other benefits for Canadians. New knowledge and technologies will help us meet many of the challenges of the 21st century — from preserving the quality of the environment to enhancing our health, protecting our safety and security, and managing our energy and natural resources.

Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage

The federal S&T Strategy seeks to foster Canada's competitiveness through
investments and activities in three key areas:

  • Entrepreneurial Advantage
  • Knowledge Advantage
  • People Advantage

It is founded on four core principles:

  • Promoting world-class excellence
  • Focusing on priorities
  • Fostering partnerships
  • Enhancing accountability

It also identifies four priority areas for enhanced investment and activity:

  • Environmental science and technologies
  • Natural resources and energy
  • Health and related life sciences and technologies
  • Information and communications technologies

On May 17, 2007, the Prime Minister released a federal S&T Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage. As a key part of the Government of Canada's long-range economic plan, Advantage Canada, the S&T Strategy lays out a comprehensive, multi-year plan to make Canada a leader in S&T and a source of entrepreneurial innovation and creativity.

Canada has tremendous strengths in our research base and in the resourcefulness of our people. We have a proud history of accomplishments in S&T — from the discovery of insulin to the creation of the BlackBerry®. But as a country, we must do even better in turning ideas into the innovations that will improve our economic competitiveness and standard of living.

That is exactly what the federal S&T Strategy aims to do.

Moving Quickly to Achieve Enduring Results

The Government of Canada is quickly translating the S&T Strategy's objectives into reality. The government's sustained commitment to S&T is reflected in a succession of recent federal budgets that have made major, ongoing investments to build a sustainable national competitive advantage.

Budget 2007 focused on fostering research partnerships involving businesses, academics and the public sector by renewing important existing programs and launching new ones to keep Canadian researchers at the forefront of their fields and to strengthen partnerships to ensure Canadians benefit from their discoveries. In addition, the government took steps to improve the business environment to support creativity and innovation.

Building on these advances, Budget 2008 put the emphasis on people — attracting the world's top researchers and students, and encouraging Canada's best researchers and students to collaborate here at home.

Budget 2009, known as Canada's Economic Action Plan, contains one of the single largest federal budget investments in S&T to date. The plan announced $5.1 billion in new spending in the areas of S&T infrastructure, research, people and commercialization. These investments will help jump-start the economy as early as this summer and will improve the working environment of researchers for decades to come.

Federal S&T spending has increased every year since 2006. In doing so, it surpassed an historic level of $10 billion in 2007–08. Canada ranks first in the G-7 and second among the 30 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for R&D performed in the higher-education sector as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Strong progress has been made in implementing the S&T Strategy. The federal government has strengthened existing initiatives and advanced the principles of the S&T Strategy through new world-class policies and programs that will expand private sector participation in S&T, build Canada's knowledge base and brand Canada as a destination of choice for talented, highly qualified S&T workers and students.

The vision of the S&T Strategy has taken hold. Key partners from business, academia and other governments have been inspired to join us by investing in Canada's future through S&T.

As Canada and other countries emerge from the global economic recession, successful economies will be those that create a knowledge advantage by supporting research. The jobs of the future will be increasingly dependent on science and technology, and attracting those jobs requires long-term vision and a favourable environment for investment in research and development.

Working together, we have witnessed the kind of remarkable results that can be achieved in creating value for Canadians. Moving forward, we will continue to lay the groundwork through the S&T Strategy to the economic and social benefit of all Canadians.

About This Report

Through this report, the Government of Canada is working to demonstrate more clearly the impact of federal S&T investments and to advise Canadians of the progress made in implementing the S&T Strategy.

The examples that follow are not meant to be comprehensive; rather, they show the scope and depth of the Government of Canada's activities, its commitment to getting initiatives up and running and to advancing the principles of the S&T Strategy.

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