Innovation Policy encompasses all policies governing the innovation ecosystem, including social innovation. It focuses on putting the outputs of research (knowledge, technology) into use for broad socio-economic benefits. Innovation policies generally support and promote technology transfer, product, process development, validation, commercialization and scale up, national and regional innovation systems with the objective of improving productivity and competitiveness and driving economic growth and job creation. Social innovation is considered as an integral part of innovation policy. CSPC encourages nominations from all disciplines of science (natural sciences and engineering, social and human sciences, and health sciences) and from all sectors (governments at all levels, academia, private and non-profit sectors, media, and others).
The Science for Policy Award
The Science for Policy Award recognizes an individual who has distinguished themselves via the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations. Science for Policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, criminal justice and others.
The Policy for Science Award
The Policy for Science Award recognizes an individual who has pioneered policies and practices to improve the development of new technologies, capacity building and research infrastructure. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, the production of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly quality personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of Policy for Science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies.
Science Policy Definition
Science Policy is inclusive of both policy for science and science for policy. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, i.e., the generation of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly qualified personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of policy for science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies. Science for policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, and criminal justice and others.
The adoption and adaptation of leading-edge technologies by Canadian firms results in greater productivity and innovation in our country. Governments support research and development and innovation to spark new inventions, train talent and develop intellectual property in order to improve productivity and competitiveness. However, Governments also support a range of institutions to encourage technology adoption to improve process innovation and productivity. These institutions provide access to technical experts and facilities through ongoing interactions with companies on issues ranging from product design and development, onboarding of the latest production software or machinery, acquiring new skills and methods of production, and refinement and innovation in production processes. This panel will talk about the importance of technology adoption for innovation and productivity, profile some examples of strategies underway to make firms aware of new technology and how to use it in their businesses.
Iain Stewart, President, National Research Council (NRC)
Andrea Johnston, Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
Ken Doyle, Executive Director, Tech-Access Canada
Dennis A. Darby, President and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Lakshmi Krishnan, Vice President of Life Sciences, National Research Council (NRC)
David Lisk, Vice-President, Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
This panel dealt with different aspects of innovation policy, specifically innovation in the later stages of development and deployment. Areas addressed included:
Ways in which adopting new technologies or developing new technologies enhance competitiveness
Approaches to connect companies and universities to leverage technical expertise, facilities, universities, colleges, and government labs across the country more effectively for advancing innovation.
Many companies seek to advance and innovate and would benefit from the adoption of innovative technologies, but it is sometimes difficult to reach them. While there are excellent programs across the country to support companies at all stages, as a policy community we don’t organize and communicate enough to make these companies aware of the support that is available to them.
Scale-up companies need access to talent, capital and markets. Canada has been fantastic in the growth of firms but could improve by learning how to better maintain scale-up talent, especially important since 97% of our manufacturing firms are small companies.
Access to talent and the challenges of acquiring HQPs, was a common theme. The main challenge now is the labour shortage which is a critical issue for enterprises of all sizes.
The pandemic demonstrated that our system can come together to solve complex problems, but we cannot wait for a crisis to organize ourselves. In general, our system is siloed (expertise, funding, tools) and companies face considerable challenges in accessing what they need to grow. Innovation Canada was created as a single window to support companies in their innovation and has seen some success by working with partners across government to connect companies to the support they need.
Programs such as the IRAP business innovation stream, the Technology Access Centre (TAC), the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the Digital Advisor Marketplace, and supports offered by the NRC were cited as examples of government programs that support innovation by companies.
Manufacturing is a $200B/year sector with 1.7M people, but still hasn’t recovered from pandemic. It is held back by labour shortages and supply chain issues. Manufacturers turned down $13B of business in the last year due to labour shortage.
The federal government can play a constructive role in creating Communities of Practice within industry by helping to connect companies with stakeholders with similar interests.
Government agencies can help companies conduct technology assessments to help companies understand whether or not they are ready to adopt new technologies that are relevant to them, and to prepare them for such transitions. These assessments are usually expensive and small companies rarely do it themselves.
Immigration is critically important to solving the labour shortage but the process for bringing in new talent can be too long and too difficult both for employee and employer. The system needs to be updated, especially since HQPs are in high demand everywhere; we should strive to simplify the process of entering Canada.
Empowering Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Clean Energy Technology
Context: Moving to a net zero economy is a priority for Canada. Federal support has been a key component in helping SMEs overcome the challenges they face to find innovative and sustainable solutions. The National Research Council of Canada, Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) has long been an integral part of Canada’s cleantech innovation ecosystem. This panel provided an overview of the NRC-IRAP program and heard from SMEs who have leveraged IRAP to bolster their R&D and grow their business, resulting in cleantech solutions for industry.
It is challenging to attract capital in Canada for high-risk scientific projects.
Clean energy technologies require a support network and government procurement to increase adoption.
A ripe area for intervention is water treatment, since it is very carbon intensive and contributes about 3-4% of global emissions.
Venture capitalists are now taking a higher share of equity from entrepreneurs compared to before. This may diminish entrepreneurial incentives to innovate.
The main goal of NRC-IRAP is to support innovations and entrepreneurs in sectors with long gestation periods that are critical to Canada’s economy.
NRC-IRAP provides advisory services as well as funding for new entrepreneurs and SMEs. Partnering with IRAP also helps in credibility to partner with big companies.
Innovative Solutions Canada also provides funding for entrepreneurs and SMEs.
The problems emanating from the COVID pandemic and the current war in Ukraine indirectly affect climate change outcomes.
Climate change may impact on food security for Canadians as fruits and vegetables we currently receive from places like California may be in jeopardy.
The Fall 2022 Economic statement showed that the Canadian government remains committed to supporting NRC through its recapitalization program.
Next Frontier for Quantum Applications in the Natural Resources Sector
Panel Abstract: With the advent of, and improvements in quantum science, many countries are actively nurturing the growth of quantum technologies through national strategies and initiatives. The Government of Canada announced the development of a National Quantum Strategy in Budget 2021 to amplify Canada’s significant strength in quantum research, guide the development of the country’s quantum ecosystem and position Canada as a global leader in quantum technology space. Government agencies, companies, and academic institutes are pursuing use cases on how to apply quantum technologies to real world issues. Quantum technologies will lead to critical innovations in many fields, including the natural resources sector and hold the potential to significantly support Canada’s goals in climate actions and net-zero emissions. The natural resource sectors are potential end-users of quantum technologies such as quantum sensors, quantum materials, quantum computation and communication. There are emerging examples of how quantum technologies can be deployed in the natural resource sectors and support developments in clean technology and energy, sensing and imaging instruments. This panel will explore the potential for quantum technologies to support Canada’s climate actions, net zero targets and energy transitions.
Moderator: Brenda Dogbey, Director of Strategic Policy, Governance and Communications in the Office of the Chief Scientist at Natural Resources Canada.
Aimee Gunther, Deputy Director of the Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors Challenge Program (QSP) at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).
Bruno Couillard, President and CEO, Crypto4A Technologies Inc.
Rafal Janik, Chief Operating Officer at Xanadu
Barry Sanders, Director of the University of Calgary’s Institute for Quantum Science and Technology and Scientific Director of Calgary’s “Quantum City”.
Shohini Ghose, Professor of Physics and Computer Science at Wilfrid Laurier University
Context: The Government of Canada announced the development of the National Quantum Strategy in Budget 2021 to amplify Canada’s significant strength in quantum research, guide the development of the country’s quantum ecosystem and position Canada as a global leader in quantum technology space. Quantum technologies are expected to lead to critical innovations in many fields, including the natural resources sector and hold the potential to significantly support Canada’s goals in climate actions and net-zero emissions. With the advent of, and improvements in quantum science, many countries are actively nurturing the growth of quantum technologies through national strategies and initiatives. The natural resource sectors are potential end-users of quantum technologies such as quantum sensors, quantum materials, quantum computation and communication. There are emerging examples of how quantum technologies can be deployed in the natural resource sectors and support developments in clean technology and energy, sensing and imaging instruments.
State of Affairs
Natural resources sector is one of the greatest near-term beneficiaries from quantum technology applications.
Related technologies can help in achieving Net-Zero Emissions, Climate Action security, Energy transition.
The NRC Quantum Sensors Challenge program is aligned with Canada’s national quantum strategy by supporting innovation and skill and talent development.
Canada has been a leader in investing in quantum tech, but true commercialization is far off.
The future development of advanced quantum technologies can solve problems that we cannot solve today. For example, building next-generation EV batteries, better catalysts for carbon sequestration and hydrogen production.
Plenty of opportunities are presented by quantum sensor technologies.
Various Applications for Quantum Science in the field of Communication, Sensing, Computing, Design and Science are being developed globally and we have to look at what other countries are doing.
Canada has formidable strengths in Quantum Sensing, Quantum Communication and Quantum Cryptography areas.
Most of the technologies that are being developed are in early stages.
We need to be careful and make sure our security and communication systems remain robust and reliable.
It is becoming more and more difficult to do international collaborations. Canada will not independently dominate in quantum tech, but we need to learn how to collaborate better with international partners to further research development.
Safety of systems is very critical and with the advances at which technologies are happening and number of devices are exploding, the policy making process should also evolve to keep up with changing technologies to ensure the community is protected and they are adequately regulated, as it can be a life and death matter.
Factories in Canada are limited and function in traditional materials production. Policies directed at commercialization of quantum tech should be encouraged to help domestic development of materials.
Other Key Insights
No clear idea/consent on what makes something quantum and what makes it not quantum, as it is very important to distinguish as we prioritize resource allocation.
Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator – Established by the Swiss foreign ministry in collaboration with the UN is working on how Quantum technologies can address the problems of the Global south.
Very big technological challenges need to be overcome to solve problems. Current largest quantum computer at IBM (430 Qubits) cannot solve major problems as it would require systems with millions of Qubits.
True commercialization of Quantum technology is quite a few years away and we need to develop an ecosystem and supply chain technologies.
Brain-drain in Canada makes talent retention extremely difficult. However, the excitement around quantum can draw in the next generation of scientists in Canada to build a diverse educated workforce.
Canada’s Advanced Technology Supply Chains: Becoming More Fragile or More Resilient?
Moderator: Dr. Madison Rilling, Executive Director / Directrice Générale, Optonique
Ester Gerassime, Economic Analyst, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Robert Crawhall, Executive Director at Canadian Academy of Engineering
M. Johnny Rungtusanatham, Canada Research Chair in Supply Chain Management at Schulich School of Business, York University
Claude Goodman, Director, Strategic Development and Partnerships, Sherbrooke Quantique
Context: A March 2022 survey by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters reported that nine out of ten companies in the sector are experiencing supply chain issues. Impacts include job losses, inability to fulfill orders, and supply chain fragility, which is threatening Canada’s long-term growth. Have businesses in Canada become over-dependent on global supply chains? What foresight can be provided by academics in policy studies? Is there a policy-driven role for the government to play? This panel brought together executives from the manufacturing sector, policymakers, and academics to address these questions and recommend solutions.
Supply chains are fragile because they inherently change over time and largely depend on government decisions. In general, weak supply chains indicate that the production and supply of various goods are easily susceptible to disruptions.
When it comes to the final sale of goods, small and mid-sized businesses often lack sufficient resources to develop their operations, collaborate with reliable shippers, and/or recover from costs and losses incurred from the pandemic.
Companies need to practice transparency by being open about their operational processes and paying attention to blind spots involving people and technology to pre-plan accordingly and build resilience over time.
It is important to acknowledge differences with regards to supply chain regulation across provinces. This complexity makes it more challenging to realize positive changes.
With greater transparency & efficiency, Canada can develop its technology supply chains and make them more competitive, contributing to our country’s growing economy.
Compared to the United States, supply chain management as a profession is less developed in Canada, but a ripe area for further advancement.
We should focus on systems-level thinking to develop strategies that improve manufacturing, infrastructure, and transportation systems. This includes the identification of pain points, creation of alternative routes, and consideration of strategies for diversifying procurement and enhancing digitization. Furthermore, Canada should consider providing financial incentives for manufacturers of essential goods to meet our needs.
The federal government should continue important conversations and collaborations with industry to create more job opportunities and support employers in bringing in skilled labor from abroad by speeding up processing of their visa applications.
It is important to leverage international collaboration and improve our work in crisis management and contingency planning. For example, we can learn from China’s ability to build hospitals at a rapid pace in response to the pandemic, which can partly be attributed to the fact that they had these prior plans in place.
Building the circular bioeconomy through innovative policy design and implementation
Panel Abstract: Canada’s net-zero carbon transition hinges on the development of the circular bioeconomy, where biotechnology drives systems-level integration of all sectors towards a renewable, sustainable, and equitable future. Uptake of innovations is challenged by the perceived trade-offs between circularity and stakeholders’ bottom line. Coordination of research, innovation, commercialization, regulation, and policy is needed to overcome the economic headwinds impeding implementation and amplify the social and environmental tailwinds that promote it. This panel brings together academics, policymakers, and industry leaders to discuss circular systems policy in Canada and uncover opportunities and solutions to drive the transition to a circular bioeconomy.
Moderator: Bi-ru Amy Yeung, Program Manager, Genome Canada
Ryan Philippe, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Innovation, Genome Canada
Context: The industrial bioeconomy is an economic model based on substituting fossil carbon with biocarbon, sourced from biological inputs sourced from agriculture, forestry, fisheries and so on. Products include biofuels such as ethanol, bioenergy such as heat and biochemicals for plastics, and others. A bio-based economy can create and support a circular economy, whereby carbon already in the system gets recycled, limiting new carbon entry into the system.
Coordination of research, innovation, commercialization, regulation, and policy is needed to help Canada realize Canada’s net-zero carbon aspirations. To achieve this objective the country needs a national bioeconomy strategy. The panelists discussed relevant opportunities, solutions and policies that can drive this transition.
Lack of National Strategy: Canada does not currently have a national bioeconomy strategy, putting Canada behind sixty other countries around the world. Lack of such strategy has led to a policy and regulatory environment that is seen as disjointed and unpredictable; making the investment environment uncertain industry and impeding broad stakeholder collaboration.
Capital: Existing government programming and funding mechanisms are siloed and not well aligned with related aspirations. Canada should follow examples of other countries, like the US, to create programs that help de-risk investment and build demonstration projects for promising strategies.
Reframing waste: Products from the natural resource sector, now discarded as waste, need to be viewed and utilized as valued input resources for other applications.
Environmental implications: Environmental concerns regarding transitioning to a sustainable bioeconomy are real and need to be accounted for. Canada is in an advantageous position with our water and land resources (9% of the world’s forest and 60 million hectares of agricultural land), and could leverage these assets to facilitate carbon recycling, while meeting social demands for new products and energy.
Technology: Physics and chemistry-based technologies have matured in Canada to the point that we are fostering world-class companies with leading-edge systems. Conversely, our biotechnology-based systems and processes for production and upscaling of bio-based products is relatively limited, and lagging behind investments in other jurisdictions from both the public and private sectors. Strategically positioned and focused investment is required to unlock the potential of Canada’s basic research strengths.
Talent: Canada’s highly educated workforce trained in biology, chemical and biological engineering, and energy generation can support transition to a bioeconomy.
Federated ecosystem: The federated ecosystem can provide bridge opportunities to develop, exchange and advance technologies across sectors at a national level, enhancing export opportunities, and contributing to rural economic development.
Regionality: Each region in Canada has specific strengths and strategic advantages in some biological system of relevance to the bioeconomy. Developing a circular bioeconomy in Canada will benefit from recognizing these strengths and investing in amplifying them to greater effect – providing a regionally-driven yet pan-Canadian opportunity for economic and social development and environmental benefit.
Identification of BDO zones: Canada is playing catch up to identify Biomass Development Opportunity (BDO) zones. We currently only have a handful of ongoing projects and need to identify and validate more BDOs, by identifying where we have capacity in terms of assets, critical mass from a biomass perspective, and the ability to utilize other stranded assets.
Industry decarbonization: Industries need to improve their carbon literacy to better understand their carbon footprint and look for opportunities to decarbonize along their value chains and processes to improve productivity, maintain sustainable competitiveness, and meet the growing regulatory demands while mitigating potential carbon tariffs in the future.
Canada’s Oil and Gas Energy Innovation Ecosystem in Action Driving to Net-Zero
Panel Abstract: Canada is leading the world in the creation of cleantech solutions. The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is at the forefront of accelerating these made-in-Canada innovations to ensure they are rapidly developed, commercialized and adopted at home and globally.
In this panel moderated by Dr. Monica Gattinger, CRIN Director and Director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, we will demonstrate CRIN’s impact on Canada’s net zero goals. We will also highlight CRIN’s achievements and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for cleantech innovation in the oil and gas sector.
Moderator: Joy Romero, President of the Clean Resource Innovation Network, Executive Advisor Innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Drew Leyburne, Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Efficiency and Technology, NRCan
Catherine Berube, CEO Cycle Central, VP Sustainability, Investor relations and Public Affairs, Cycle Capital & Cycle Momentum
Andrea Crook, President, OptiSeis Solutions Ltd.
Context: Canada is a leader in cleantech. Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is a volunteer network of networks with over 3,500 active members from over 52 institutions including Student Energy, which is a network itself of about 40,000 members globally. CRIN’s mission is to enable development, commercialization and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions in oil and gas that are applied across Canadian industries and globally. CRIN brings end-users, decision-makers, technology developers, investors, and policymakers together to drive its mission. CRIN has also provided millions of dollars for a variety of projects to advance its mission. This session focused on demonstrating CRIN’s impact on Canada’s net zero goals and highlighted CRIN’s achievements. Panelists discussed challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for cleantech innovation in the oil and gas sector.
Each member/sector in CRIN has a different value proposition from CRIN that allows them to get their job done. These are examples from four of CRIN’s sectors.
Alberta Innovates and IRAP initially supported OptiSeis Solutions Ltd to find solutions to reduce the land footprint through oil, carbon capture, and geothermal energy exploration programs. Subsequently, one of the 27 projects led by OptiSeis Solutions Ltd received $3.2 million from CRIN to test their technology in the field. It is anticipated that this work will lead to the reduction of land footprint by 50%.
Federal Government policy maker, funder & technology developer
NRCan team and Sustainable Development Technology Canada worked together and identified that Canadian companies do not have enough capital to work on the clean energy sector and secure IP rights. These factors contribute to a risk of losing ownership of technology developed by Canadian entities. To this end, the NRCan team is a part of CRIN and helps CRIN support a number of Canadian entities to help secure ownership of cleantech in Canada.
NRCan and CRIN work together to share lessons they have learned with other entities and help them streamline the processes for funding
CRIN is a place that venture capital firms can see the progress and pull from industry with respect to companies that they are considering investing in.
Oil and Gas Producer
ISED invested $100 million to support CRIN activities to achieve 100 Mega tonnes GHG cumulative reduction by 2034. CRIN will deliver 119+ Mega tonnes GHG cumulative reduction by 2034. These are solutions that the Oil and Gas industry and other sectors can use in their net zero plans.
CRIN is a virtual network that helps the oil and gas industry and Cleantech in Canada from coast-to-coast. It features and promotes Canadian-based technologies and promotes networking and training opportunities in Canada.
Stakeholders are encouraged to attend CRIN webinars to expand their networks and seek collaborations with public, private, and other organizations.
System-driven and goal-oriented policies need to be developed that facilitate further development of cleantech in the oil and gas industry and all sectors in Canada that need to get to net zero.
Achieving a net-zero goal in the oil and gas energy sector is a team sport and active participation by all stakeholders including the governments, researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capital firms is essential.
Changes in Federal and Provincial regulations have presented challenges to the oil and gas industry in terms of reducing land footprint and site cleaning. Active partnerships facilitated by CRIN are bringing solutions like OptiSeis addressing these challenges.
Innovators developing carbon capture technology need a globally competitive environment to be able to deploy and are working with the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure Canada keeps our leadership position in this space.
Large corporations from all sectors across Canada are developing their net zero plans. The work that is taking place within the CRIN network of networks is sharing the plans of those who are further advanced and the technology options that exist today and the ones that are being developed to support them in what directions they should take to achieve net-zero goals.
Although the funding landscape for the oil and gas energy innovation ecosystem is improving, the sector still faces a variety of other challenges.