Innovation Superclusters Initiative: Assessment process

From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The selection of successful superclusters was informed by a rigorous assessment process that identified the applications that would deliver the strongest value for Canada.

The assessment was conducted by officials from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada with the support of relevant federal organizations, third-party contractors and expert reviewers. Together, their advice informed the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development's consideration of the proposals.

Expert reviewers included leaders from the business and innovation communities. They provided their considerations on the merit, feasibility and value of supercluster applications in line with program objectives. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada engaged in outreach and consultation to identify candidates with the appropriate experience and expertise that would allow them to make meaningful contributions to the assessment of applications and provide insight and perspective to the Minister. The selection of expert reviewers reflected gender parity and Canada’s cultural diversity.

Expert reviewers

Sylvie Chagnon has 15 years of experience in the private and public sectors in finance, strategic planning, project and risk management, and governance. Ms. Chagnon holds a Master of Business Administration and is a member of multiple ministerial committees and of several Boards, including recently as an independent member and Chair of the Board of the Financière agricole du Québec. Her leadership and vision have been recognized by l'Association des femmes en finance du Québec, Premières en affaires magazine, Réseau des Femmes d'affaires du Québec, and the Collège des administrateurs de sociétés.

Noémie Dupuy is the Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Budge Studios Inc. With more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry, Ms.Dupuy is responsible for Budge's partnerships with licensors such as Mattel, Disney, Nickelodeon and Crayola, among others. Prior to founding Budge, Ms. Dupuy was Co-Founder and Business Development Director at Wave Generation and Audio, Video and Localization Director at Ubisoft. She is a board member of the Quebec Advisory Council on Economy and Innovation and was ranked eighth on the W100 2014 list of Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs. She was nominated as Quebec's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and has been invited to speak at various conferences including TEDx, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Kidscreen Summit.

Judy Fairburn is the Board Chair of Alberta Innovates and a member of the Board of Directors of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Public Policy Forum. Trained as a chemical engineer, she recently retired as the Executive Vice President, Safety and Chief Digital Officer of Cenovus Energy Inc. She was the co-founder and director of Evok Innovations and has over 30 years of experience in the energy sector. Ms. Fairburn is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, has been recognized as one of Canada's Clean 16 and is a member of Abundance 360.

Dr. Arvind Gupta is Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and will be Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto starting in July 2018. He has served as President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC and as the CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs. Arvind helped create the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences and the Banff International Research Station in Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS). Dr. Gupta was a Member of the Federal Science, Technology and Innovation Council and a Senior Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Institute. He is a Senior Fellow of the Brookfield Institute and serves on the Boards of the Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence, SimTrec, BIRS, the Fields Institute and the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute.

Nitin Kawale is a business leader with over 30 years of domestic and international experience in the technology sector. A former president of Rogers and Cisco Systems Canada, Mr. Kawale is a recognized Canadian expert on the topics of innovation and productivity. He has also served on Ontario's Job's and Prosperity Council and as Chair of the Conference Board of Canada. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Toronto Global.

Dr. Sarah Lubik is Simon Fraser University's first Director of Entrepreneurship, promoting the power of, and need for, entrepreneurship education, interdisciplinary teams and commercialization of research to solve problems. She is Co-Champion of the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program, a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Beedie School of Business and a researcher in technology management. Dr. Lubik is also a certified business coach and the co-founder of a high-tech startup, Lungfish Dive Systems.

Shelley Martin is currently President and CEO of Nestlé Canada Inc., prior to which she worked at General Mills. She also served as Chair of the Board of Directors for Food and Consumer Products Canada (FCPC) and as a member of the Board of Directors for Kids Help Phone. Ms. Martin now serves as a member of the Board for FCPC, the Grocery Innovation Foundation, and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. She was named one of Canada's Most Powerful Women – Top 100 by the Women's Executive Network and was the recipient of the Food Industry of Canada's 2017 Golden Pencil Award.

Dr. Peter Nicholson has served in numerous posts in government, business, science, and higher education. His career in the public service included positions such as Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy in the Office of the Prime Minister, and Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the OECD. Dr. Nicholson's business career has included senior executive positions with Scotiabank and BCE Inc. He was founding president of the Council of Canadian Academies and was the founding chair of the Members of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Mark Podlasly is the founder of Brookmere Management Group, a consulting practice specializing in corporate strategy, strategic partnerships and revenue sharing related to extractive industries, and is a member of the Nlaka'pamux First Nation in British Columbia. Mr. Podlasly advises the Assembly of First Nations and the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council on global energy and mining issues and their impact on indigenous lands and communities.

Gerry Pond has over 45 years of experience in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. Mr. Pond is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Mariner Partners Inc. and has co-founded a number of successful ICT start-ups, including iMagicTV, Q1 Labs, Brovada Technologies, Radian6, Shift Energy and Cirrus9. He is a Director of Upside Foundation, NB Business Council and the National Angel Capital Organization.

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