Ottawa to kick off $950-million innovation ‘supercluster’ competition – by Sean Silcoff (Globe and Mail – May 24, 2017)

OTTAWA — The federal government will kick off the centrepiece of its innovation agenda Wednesday by officially launching a program that will disburse $950-million to as many as five “supercluster” initiatives geared toward creating high-paying jobs in fast-growing sectors.

Initial applications for the funds will be due July 21 from industry-led consortiums in eight high-potential sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health-bioscience, clean resources, infrastructure and transportation. Shortlisted applicants will have until Oct. 20 to submit detailed proposals, and the government plans to select the winners by year’s end.

“This initiative is about government partnering with industry, academia and communities to build on our strengths to develop the economy and the jobs of the future,” Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said in an interview.

“We’re looking for bold and ambitious proposals that can generate large-scale transformative results, not incremental change,” Mr. Bains said. “People say to me: ‘What does success look like?’ I’ve got three words: jobs, jobs jobs.”

The Globe and Mail has learned that winning consortiums must include two industry-leading “anchor” companies, six small and medium-sized enterprises and one postsecondary institution. The proposals must lay out how each group would create globally competitive sectors with high-paying, “resilient” jobs, boost economic growth and translate into commercial success for Canadian companies.

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