Policy context

The most recent federal science and technology policy document, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage, was released in 2007 and provides a framework to guide Canada’s S&T policy. It focuses on creating an “entrepreneurial advantage”, a “people advantage” and a “knowledge advantage” for Canada by promoting world-class excellence, partnerships and accountability for R&D investments. The strategy centres both on increasing private sector R&D and on ensuring that Canada benefits from an internationally competitive university research environment. Four broad strategic R&D priorities were also outlined and these include: environmental science and technologies; natural resources and energy; health and related life sciences and technologies; and information and communication technologies.

To provide further focus, in 2008, the Science, Technology and Innovation Council identified 13 sub-priority areas for R&D, which were endorsed by the Government of Canada. These include:

Environmental science:

  • Water (health, energy, security)
  • Cleaner methods of extracting, processing and utilizing hydrocarbon fuels, including reduced consumption of these fuels

Natural resources and energy

  • Energy production in the oil sands
  • Arctic (resource production, climate change adaptation, monitoring)
  • Biofuels, fuel cells and nuclear energy

Health and life sciences

  • Regenerative medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Health in an aging population
  • Biomedical engineering and medical technologies

Information and communications technologies

  • New media, animation and games
  • Wireless networks and services
  • Broadband networks
  • Telecom equipment

More recently, in the October 2013 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada stated its intention to release an updated ST&I Strategy, which is anticipated to reflect the need to maintain and build on Canada’s R&D strengths while identifying opportunities for enhanced commercialization activities. In November 2013, the Government of Canada launched a new international trade plan entitled “Global Markets Action Plan,” which can enhance the reach of the Federal ST&I Strategy by promoting Canadian business innovation and global competitiveness.