Archived — Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative Announcement

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The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario

Oakville, Ontario
April 19, 2010

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Bonjour. Ladies and gentlemen, friends and honoured guests — thank you for joining us today.

I would specifically like to thank our friends at Sheridan College for hosting us today for this important announcement.

Whenever I visit an institution like Sheridan, I am always impressed to see so much innovation and partnership at work. This is where the jobs and ideas of tomorrow are taking shape. In Ontario, we take great pride in our ability to innovate and participate in the ever-growing knowledge-based economy.

Never have innovative ideas been more important than they are now.

I don't need to tell anyone here how difficult the last year has been to southern Ontario. We have endured some of the most significant economic challenges this province has ever seen.

The good news is that we are seeing signs of growth everywhere. Since last May, we've added 102,000 new jobs in Ontario. Considering the tough road we've travelled, that's quite an accomplishment.

In fact, just last month, Ontario added 10,000 new jobs, which was the largest gain in Canada. Even more encouraging is the fact that many of those new jobs are being created in the scientific field.

This is the type of growth Ontarians want to see. In our pre budget consultations and in survey after survey, Canadians tell us that the economy is their top priority. Canadians want a more robust economy, an economy that is diversified and knowledge intensive. We have a duty and an obligation to listen to Canadians and, ladies and gentlemen, we have done just that.

Last year, in the Economic Action Plan our government announced the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. We have a budget of $1 billion to be allocated over 5 years.

Since beginning operations, the Agency, which we call FedDev Ontario, has created conditions and implemented programs and initiatives that are generating new jobs throughout our region.

Our initial focus has been to get southern Ontario residents back to work and get the economy moving again. Recent reports show that our plan is working —  now let me be very clear about that  —  the plan is working — but it hasn't finished yet — there is still more to do

The second phase of our mandate is to create high-quality jobs that will support the economy of tomorrow.

In recent months, I have met with workers, community leaders, academics and business leaders to listen to their ideas about how we create this environment.

No matter where I went — the message was clear. One of Ontario's greatest strengths is the research being carried out at our world-class universities, colleges and other academic institutions.

But people also told me that more needs to be done to help commercialize this research so that we can grow our small- and medium-sized businesses into global leaders.

We need look no further than Research In Motion (RIM) as an example of what is possible when the private sector works together with academic institutions to transform ideas into viable businesses, and innovation into reality.

RIM was once a small company, but it is now known throughout the world as the global leader in wireless communications.

I know there are countless other ideas just waiting to be brought to market throughout this province. In many cases, they simply need a partner to help them clear the first few hurdles.

With this is mind, I am pleased to announce that our government will invest $15 million to create a brand new Applied Research and Commercialization initiative to help small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario work with colleges and universities to bring promising new innovations into the marketplace.

Starting immediately, post-secondary institutions can each apply for up to $750,000 under a competition that our government is launching to fund projects they will undertake in partnership with businesses. Each project will be eligible for up to $50,000.

This pilot initiative will help to bring our post-secondary institutions and small- and medium-sized businesses together so ideas can flourish and businesses can grow.

By bridging this commercialization gap, we are putting the conditions in place where ideas can be nurtured and realized and high-quality jobs can be created.

There are a number of ways we will achieve these goals. The Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative will allow smaller enterprises to work more closely with colleges and universities to meet their research and development goals. This program will also allow companies to experiment with new products or production methods in a cost-effective way.

I am sure we can lay the foundations for the next global leader like RIM. All great ideas start in forward-thinking, supportive environments like Sheridan College. We must do all we can to ensure these ideas are given every chance to succeed.

I believe the Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative will allow this to happen.

These applied research, development and commercialization projects will be market focused and driven by business needs. The research will be undertaken to solve a particular problem, develop a product, practice or process, or meet an organizational objective.

In closing, I would like to thank representatives from Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities for joining us here today. And I would especially like to thank Nobina Robinson and Ken Doyle from Polytechnics Canada for their hard work in helping to make this initiative a reality.

I encourage all eligible academic institutions in southern Ontario to submit applications for this program. I look forward to seeing the partnerships that take root and what ideas will emerge from this program.

Together, we can work together to create a stronger, smarter Ontario.

Thank you.

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