Ottawa narrows short list of Innovation Superclusters

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ottawa announced yesterday that it has further narrowed down the number of proposals for innovation superclusters upon which it plans to spend 950 million taxpayer dollars. The supercluster program is part of an initiative by the Justin Trudeau administration to spur innovation and create jobs in Canada. The shortlisting of approved projects is being managed by the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The five finalists are expected to be announced by March 2018.

A supercluster is a hub which integrates university research with business. These hubs are intended to produce new advanced technologies and generate jobs. Superclusters are to be operated by consortia of research institutes and private companies incorporated as non-profit organizations. Each consortium is expected to match every dollar contributed by the government toward the supercluster's operating costs.

Ottawa has received 50 supercluster proposals from more than 1,000 firms and 350 consortia. Yesterday's announcement has reduced the short list to nine innovation superclusters. The $950 million will be allocated to superclusters during the next 5 years. Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains will visit Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, to announce the chosen finalists.

One approved supercluster, nicknamed the Ocean Supercluster, is slated to operate in Halifax with the goal of fostering digital technology for offshore oil and gas collection, energy production, aquaculture, and fisheries. Other proposed superclusters plan to focus on such subjects as manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and mobility systems.

It is not known at this time whether superclusters will be established throughout Canada.