Dr. Michael Hendricks On How Canada Can Create The Innovation It Claims to Want

By: Sam Garnett

September 28, 2017

Our current Liberal government wants to make Canada a center for innovation, dedicating portions of the 2017 Budget to investment in tech “superclusters” and applied science initiatives. These superclusters are intended to be areas of concentrated economic activity, like we see in the US Bay Area, with start-ups and businesses doing research and creating new technologies. McGill University professor Dr. Michael Hendricks decided to look into what creates the environments akin to the Liberal’s desired superclusters, arguing that well funded research universities and basic science are the primary variable; and that we aren’t doing enough.

Dr. Hendricks found that if you compare federal funding for our big research-intensive universities in Canada (U15) and compare it per student & academic staff to US universities that are associated with innovation districts, we are dramatically underfunded. If you account for ALL federal funding in Canada towards university infrastructure and grants we still do not meet the per staff/student investment of our neighbours to the South.

Read Dr. Hendricks full post on Medium here.

Dr. Hendrick’s calculations echo the recommendations of the Naylor Report , which calls for billions in increased funding towards fundamental basic research grants and infrastructure at Canada’s universities. This makes a good case that if the Liberal government wishes to foster innovation centers in Canada and make the most of their economic policy decisions, they would be wise to listen to these recommendations. With our new Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, recently named we hope she can bring the voice of fundamental research to the top levels of government.

If you want to tell the government to invest in basic research and implement the recommendations of the Naylor Report please sign our open letter here. Fundamental research creates the basic ideas and knowledge from which innovation can be born and we strongly support funding our universities to create the best knowledge environment possible.