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March 20, 2014

Federal Pilot Program to Boost Linkages Between Canada’s Universities and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises

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Canada’s universities applaud the launch of a federal program that will improve small- and medium-sized enterprises’ access to cutting-edge research and innovation.

The Business Innovation Access Program, announced today by the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology,) provides innovative SMEs with straightforward, upfront funding through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program that will help pay for research, technology and business development services at universities, colleges and other research institutions of their choice.

“Innovative initiatives like the Business Innovation Access Program will help turn the R&D knowledge of university researchers into improved products, goods and services,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

“Business already counts on Canada’s universities for more than $1 billion in research every year,” adds Mr. Davidson. “This mechanism will boost university-industry links even further, as more small- and medium-sized business owners will be able to put the expertise of universities to work leading to the creation of new jobs, improved products and greater prosperity.”

The Business Innovation Access Program is consistent with a recommendation made by AUCC to the 2011 Independent Panel on Federal Support to Research and Development, which was chaired by Open Text chairman and chief strategy officer Tom Jenkins and included David Naylor, former president of the University of Toronto and Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director of Mitacs and recently named as president of the University of British Columbia beginning July 1, 2014.

Announced in Budget 2013, the two-year, $20 million program will enable hundreds of SMEs to use the skills, talents and knowledge of Canada’s universities to help commercialize their products or services more quickly and effectively. These companies frequently lack the resources to conduct their own research, employ recent graduates or take on student interns who would drive productivity gains.

Click here to read the original news release.


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