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Oceans, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and more: Business/Higher Education Roundtable celebrates superclusters as unprecedented examples of research partnerships

OTTAWA – On February 15th, the federal government announced the recipients of major research funding, aimed at boosting collaboration between business and higher education. Each of the five regional superclusters involves a consortium of large anchor companies, SMEs, public research facilities, post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations.

Each cluster teamed up to submit a joint funding proposal that identified key regional players, capacity for growth, and a long-term sustainability strategy. Over the next six years, the five recipients will match dollar-for-dollar the $950 million in federal funding – a strong commitment to ongoing Canadian innovation.

Encouraging research partnerships has been one of the Business/Higher Education Roundtables’ key priorities since its establishment in 2015. Beyond their areas of focus, these superclusters hold tremendous potential for spin-off initiatives, which will help Canada’s researchers answer long-standing questions and fuel healthy economic growth.

All told, the superclusters involve more than 60 post-secondary institutions, 450 businesses and 180 other participants in sectors covering 78 per cent of Canada’s economy.

The superclusters are:

1.      The Ocean Supercluster

2.      The SCALE.AI Supercluster

3.      The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster

4.      The Protein Industries Supercluster

5.      The Digital Technology Supercluster

 

Select statements by BHER members on the supercluster initiative:

  •  Richard Florizone, President, Dalhousie University: “The Ocean Supercluster builds on the momentum we’ve seen with the Ocean Frontier Institute [OFI], the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship [COVE], and other exciting initiatives in our region that bring together industry, governmentandresearch to propel ocean innovation forward.”
  • Linda Hasenfratz, President and CEO, Linamar Corporation: “Led by some of Canada’s strongest companies, the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will drive greater connectivity and collaboration between our manufacturing and technology sectors. By leveraging southern Ontario’s innovation infrastructure and a strong network of manufacturing, technologyandbusiness expertise, we’re confident that the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will drive exponential benefits for industry and the Canadian economy.”
  •  Kathy Kinloch, President, British Columbia Institute of Technology: “This initiative directly supports students who are eager to succeed in the jobs of the future, and industry who are in need of skilled talent. The Digital Technology Supercluster fosters new collaborations, partnerships, and training advancements that will ensure graduates have the right skills for the changing workplace. The implications of this investment are profound. Together, we are ensuring that Canada is at the forefront of the digital economy.”
  • The Honourable John Manley, President and CEO, Business Council of Canada: “Building ambitious partnerships like these isn’t easy. It requires vision, deep commitment and an understanding of the long-term benefits of closer collaboration. These five superclusters highlight the significant investments – hundreds of millions of dollars – that Canadian firms are making in developing the highly skilled talent, research capacity and innovative technology we need to face our future challenges.”

 

About the Business/Higher Education Roundtable

Launched in 2015 by the Business Council of Canada, the Business/Higher Education Roundtable represents some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Composed of leaders from the private sector, universities, colleges and polytechnics, BHER works to support young Canadians as they transition from education to the workplace, strengthen research collaboration between industry and institutions, and help Canadian employers as they adapt to the economy of the future. Learn more at bher.ca.