Publication Type

Except from remarks by Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor to the Economic Club of Canada in March 2016.

“Working together, our universities can give our students, our communities, our industries, and our country a sustainable competitive advantage.

A competitive advantage designed for the 4th industrial revolution — the new knowledge economy.

We’re building on strong foundations.

Our existing innovation capacity continues to be world class.

The quality of the talent we are producing is world class.

The demand from local industry to access both of these Ontario resources is high, but with significant room for growth.

And we are seeing political leaders at all levels converging on an important point.

They are eager to work together with universities and industry to secure Canada’s position as one of the elite global destinations for talent and capital.

Last week federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau promised to invest $800 million dollars to support innovation networks designed to increase collaboration and create value through innovation.

He said this:

“We need to connect people and their ideas. These clusters are where innovation will happen — innovation that will ensure Canada is at the forefront of technological advancement in the 21st Century.”

And as you know — there is a very encouraging development taking place right in the heart of this region.

It is led by some outstanding civic leaders — starting with Toronto Mayor John Tory as well as mayors Berry Vrbanovic of Kitchener, Dave Jaworsky of Waterloo, Doug Craig of Cambridge and Waterloo Region Chair Ken Seiling.

Their shared vision — and ours, at the University of Waterloo — is to develop the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor as a global hub of innovation, growth and prosperity.

Mayor Tory visited the Waterloo region last week and told us that he believes we are much stronger working together to take on the world.

He said, “We are in a position to take Canadian innovations, talent, ideas and research and transform them to create jobs and create wealth.”

But to help us achieve this for our region and our country — and for universities to reassert ourselves as the strongest sources of innovation — our university system must keep evolving.”

Read the speech in full here.