Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014
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.
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||Focus Areas|
Environment and Agriculture
Health and Life Sciences
Natural Resources and Energy
Information and Communications Technologies
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.
- Research in neurodegenerative and chronic diseases (e.g., Alzheimer's, arthritis, cardiovascular disease) can address health-related challenges associated with an aging population.
- Research in water can improve the sustainability of our fresh water resources, and reduce water usage in the agriculture, mining and energy sectors.
- Bio-energy research presents opportunities for innovative renewable energy sources and sustainable bio-based products for Canada's forestry sector.
- Advances in biomedical engineering and medical technologies will create new opportunities and markets for Canada's pharmaceutical and medical devices sector.
- Lightweight materials and technologies can reduce costs, improve environmental sustainability and enhance safety and reliability in many sectors, such as aerospace and defence.
- The use of computers and mobile devices can advance Canada's digital economy by providing innovative communications solutions to connect rural, northern and remote communities.
- Information and communications technologies offer a wide range of new tools and instruments to profoundly change the technological, organizational, marketing and institutional foundations of the services sector.
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 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:
- Capital intensive, making investments in disruptive technologies (such as additive manufacturing and automation);
- Adopting new business models including providing services and other higher-value added activities;
- Linking into growing emerging markets through participation in global supply chains; and
- Providing products to meet world markets' needs at the right price, produced with the latest technologies.
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:
- Machine-to-machine connectivity;
- Quantum computing and materials;
- Advanced manufacturing;
- Communications networks and systems; and
- Advanced Data Systems.
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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