Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014

Seizing Canada's Moment:

Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014

4.0 Focusing on Priorities

A strong knowledge base allows Canada to respond to social and economic challenges, and leads to unexpected discoveries and breakthroughs. This requires federal support across all disciplines that include both discovery and application driven research. It also requires that Canada's research strengths are leveraged to gain a competitive edge in areas critically important to Canada.

…The Canadian advanced manufacturing sector must adapt to a whole new era of fast-paced technological change, particularly in the fields of digital technology, materials, bio- and nano-technology, and big data…the weight of manufacturing in Canadian R&D is so important that it is imperative for the government to make it a national S&T priority. Therefore CME recommends that Canada's S&T strategy include advanced manufacturing as a priority.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME)
CME submission to Science, Technology and Innovation Consultation (posted on CME website, )

The 2007 Strategy identified four research priorities – Environment, Natural Resources and Energy, Health and Life Sciences and Information and Communication Technologies.

In the years since, we have targeted investments in these priority areas and we are already seeing a great return on these investments. In 2012, the Council of Canadian Academies' follow-up assessment on the state of science and technology affirmed Canada's leadership in these four broad research areas. Our government will continue to sustain and enhance the nation's advantages in these strategic areas.

However, we understand the need to adopt high-potential platform technologies that transform industries and yield strong social and economic benefits. So we are adding Advanced Manufacturing as a new priority. Advanced manufacturing can include disruptive and enabling technologies such as new materials (e.g., composites, biotechnology and nanotechnology), as well as new methods of design and production (e.g., simulation, automation, additive manufacturing). Firms that embrace advanced manufacturing will have a powerful tool to deliver high value-added activities and products.

Equally important is to continue to research and innovate in Canada's strong traditional sectors. Agriculture encompasses a broad range of activities including technological development, genomic research, and manufacturing. Agriculture has been added to the Environment priority to focus research resources on this vital sector.

With advice from the Science, Technology and Innovation Council, we have identified areas of particular focus within each of the five research priorities that are of strategic importance to Canada.

Research Priorities and their Focus Areas
Research Priorities Focus Areas

Environment and Agriculture

  • Water: Health, Energy, Security
  • Biotechnology
  • Aquaculture
  • Sustainable methods of accessing energy and mineral resources from unconventional sources
  • Food and food systems
  • Climate change research and technology
  • Disaster mitigation

Health and Life Sciences

  • Neuroscience and mental health
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Health in an aging population
  • Biomedical engineering and medical technologies

Natural Resources and Energy

  • Arctic: Responsible development and monitoring
  • Bioenergy, fuel cells and nuclear energy
  • Bio-products
  • Pipeline safety

Information and Communications Technologies

  • New media, animation and games
  • Communications networks and services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Advanced data management and analysis
  • Machine-to-machine systems
  • Quantum computing

Advanced Manufacturing

  • Automation (including robotics)
  • Lightweight materials and technologies
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Quantum materials
  • Nanotechnology
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive

These focus areas are relevant both to Canada's key economic sectors and societal challenges. By targeting them, we will encourage a greater integration of innovative technologies, products and processes and, by extension, create greater benefits for Canadians and key Canadian sectors.

For example:

These research priorities and focus areas address the needs of Canada's key industrial sectors, such as space, robotics, aerospace and automotive. Advanced manufacturing will provide higher-value added services, such as R&D, design and after-market support, that link to opportunities in global value chains. Automation, 3D printing and advanced data management, for instance, can revolutionize the way manufacturers operate in both traditional and emerging industrial sectors.

In a changing world, our research priorities cannot remain static. To inspire Canada's innovators to take the next leap forward in ST&I or capitalize on a new opportunity, our Government will review and identify emerging areas of comparative advantage to inform medium- and long-term planning.

Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing technologies including automation, robotics, biotechnology and nanotechnology are rapidly developing, high-technology areas that cut across multiple traditional industries.

They provide competitive advantage to manufacturers by enabling the development of premium, differentiated products and they represent new, more effective processes for existing products.

These new processes, business models, product design and materials are driving gains in productivity and are crucial to ensure the competitiveness of Canadian firms on the global stage.

Advanced manufacturing firms are improving productivity to compete for global mandates. These firms are:

These activities make Canadian firms more competitive and help grow jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

"Internet of Things" Untapped Potential for Canadian Business

The "Internet of Things" (IoT) is considered among experts as the next wave in the communications revolution and Canadian businesses are posed to embrace it. According to the Telus / International Data Corporation Internet of Things Study 2014: The Connected Canadian Business, released in July 2014, some 30 percent of medium and large businesses surveyed plan to deploy IoT technology in the next 24 months.

IoT – the evolution of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology – is a network of uniquely identifiable end points (or things) that communicate without human interaction, most commonly over a wireless network. It is the use of sensors, actuators and data communications technology built into physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—that enable those objects to be tracked, coordinated or controlled across a data network or the Internet. The systems collect, analyze and act on information in real time and are being deployed to create "smart" connected businesses, homes, cars and cities. Cisco, which opened Toronto's Internet of Everything Innovation Centre in March 2014, has predicted that the Internet of Everything will generate up to $19 trillion dollars of global economic opportunity over the next decade.

Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy positions our country well for the upcoming opportunities through our priorities, including:

As device communications and complexities grow, Canada is well positioned with its priorities, highly-skilled people and world-class researchers to capitalize on this opportunity.

Emphasizing Key Technologies

The aerospace and space sectors make critical contributions to Canada's prosperity and security. To keep government policies and programs relevant and in step with changing global conditions, the Aerospace Review (Emerson Panel) was launched in February 2012. In examining research priorities, the Panel noted that, "a 'sweet spot' exists where there is a confluence of the tools vital to Canada's future, rising demand in the global marketplace, and the technologies and products conceived and tested by Canadian researchers and businesses." Research priorities in information and communications technologies and advanced manufacturing will support Canada's space and aerospace industries in gaining a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

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