Volume 27 Number 8
May 23, 2013
As an innovative nation, Canada runs in the middle of the pack. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for a country of our size and economic attributes. But as the value of the knowledge economy is increasingly recognized by established and emerging nations alike, we're falling further behind the pacesetters.
That was the overwhelming message emanating from the State of the Nation 2012 report, compiled by the Science, Technology and Innovation Council. STIC rightly points out that Canada should not be complacent with our current status as a mediocre innovation performer masked by resource revenue. To sustain our prosperity and competitiveness, all sectors need to spend more and spend smarter on the things that will make the nation more innovative.
To crystallize our thinking, the Council has identified five indicators which it calls aspirational. It argues that if Canada can make significant gains in these areas — business spending on R&D, business investment in ICT, higher education R&D spending, science and engineering doctoral degrees granted per 100,000 population; and share of human resources in S&T) — our decidely lackluster innovation performance will improve.
In 2007, the government released an S&T framework to guide its investments and boost the nation's innovative fortunes. It didn't work as the STIC report makes abundantly clear. Hopefully the forthcoming new strategy will take some of STIC's observations and recommendations to heart, and give science, research and innovation the serious attention (and commensurate funding) it deserves.
Mark Henderson, Editor
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