There was good news for CANARIE in the 2012 federal budget: we will receive $40 million over the next two-year period, a clear indication of the importance of this vital digital infrastructure for world-leading research and innovation in Canada.
"Over the last mandate we were averaging $24 million a year, so our new funding represents a slight decrease. But in today's fiscal environment we were expecting a reduction," notes Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE. "Overall the research, education and innovation community should be pleased. There could always be more funding, but given the federal objective to eliminate the deficit, this is not a complete surprise."
CANARIE will use the allocated funds to pursue three key elements in its mandate:
- Evolve the network to meet growing demand.
- Traffic over the 19,000 kilometre fibre-optic network has been growing steadily at approximately 50% per year. CANARIE will increase network capacity to meet the needs of users and will continue to extend the network to institutions that require its ultra high speed and capacity.
- Build network tools to speed time to discovery.
- Leverage the network to commercialize innovation.
- Building on the success of the Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) pilot program, CANARIE will broaden the program’s target market from its current focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. DAIR’s digital testing and development environment, which has helped small businesses launch new digital products and services, will become available to more Canadian entrepreneurs, information and communications technology (ICT) researchers, and to multinational corporations wishing to conduct advanced ICT research in Canada.
CANARIE will deploy innovative technologies to enable diverse research communities to fully leverage the network as they pursue solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues.
Canada’s previous investment in the CANARIE network and its funding programs has delivered tremendous economic rewards. An independent economic benefits study conducted in 2011 found that each dollar invested in CANARIE since its creation in 1993 has generated $2.84 in GDP growth. These investments also created 820 full-time equivalent jobs per year. These benefits are in addition to the very tangible results of world-class research discoveries enabled by CANARIE.
CANARIE connects to and works closely with advanced networks in each province and territory. This advanced network alliance, stretching from coast to coast to coast, connects over 1,100 institutions and over one million users. Historically, 40% of the funding for this advanced network alliance has come from the Government of Canada through CANARIE, with the remaining 60% coming from user fees and provincial revenues.