As Minister Bains recently said, “Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians.” It is vital that in 2016, our approach to innovation is both an inclusive and coordinated one. A strategy that benefits only certain regions, industries, or disciplines will be insufficient for innovation leadership.
Without careful planning, the shift towards an increasingly tech-driven, globalized economy may exacerbate existing social disparities. An inclusive approach to innovation will make the most of the skills, qualifications, and ideas held across Canada’s diverse population, and in particular women, Indigenous peoples, and new Canadians.
Canada’s strategy must also promote new partnerships across sectors and borders, while avoiding duplication of efforts. Enhanced collaboration and greater integration among players in Canada’s innovation ecosystem must be a priority if public funds are to be invested as strategically and effectively as possible.
Mitacs supports these objectives by working with provincial, national and international partners across disciplines and sectors to improve Canadian productivity and growth. Our expansive network allows Mitacs’ innovation internships to be integrated into complimentary initiatives, avoiding duplication and presenting a simplified point of access for participants. Specifically, Mitacs has worked to support this coordination through partnerships with organizations like CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC, Genome Canada, NRC-IRAP and many more federally supported entities promoting Canadian innovation.
Finally, an inclusive and coordinated approach must recognize the continued importance of basic research. Mitacs encourages the federal government to support Canada’s granting councils, and to promote basic research at colleges, polytechnics and universities across Canada. Often, basic research leads to new discoveries, and support for untargeted research is important to our innovative future.