March 27, 2006
(Innovation, Trade and Rural Development)
New strategy designed to build culture of innovation in province
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador today launched its new innovation strategy. Innovation Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for Prosperity is a strategy designed to encourage innovation at all levels and create a more prosperous society for Newfoundland and Labrador.
"Our province was built by adventurous people who, of necessity, found innovative ways to survive," said Premier Danny Williams. "Today, innovation enhances economic growth and helps build an environment that attracts investment. The Innovation Blueprint is part of government�s commitment to build a stronger, more diversified economy for Newfoundland and Labrador."
Government has identified four strategic directions necessary to build an innovative economy:
"Using the innovation strategy as a foundation, we will build a culture of innovation that values creativity and innovation in our industries, our institutions and in our people," said Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and Minister responsible for the Rural Secretariat. "We need to be able to identify and capture market opportunities for our innovative goods and services and ensure that our people have the right skills and knowledge to support an innovative economy."
Through the Innovation Blueprint, government has earmarked $20 million over the next four years for programs that will help turn innovative ideas into reality.
This year, approximately $3 million has been allocated to a Commercialization Program that will help companies transform ideas into products and services by expanding the range of funding options for small and medium-sized enterprises, and increasing the profitability of transforming new ideas into new services and products. In addition, the Commercialization Program will also include assistance for the protection of intellectual property and technology transfer support.
An Innovation Enhancement Program will support public sector institutions, not-for-profit groups, community organizations and industry associations involved in activities that will enhance the innovative capacity of the province. Increasing primary and applied research and development (R&D) at the institutional level will help the recruitment and retention of highly qualified people, and contribute to the number of "spin-off" companies that are incubated at educational institutions. These new businesses offer potential for growth in employment and research opportunities for students and new graduates. Government has allocated approximately $2 million for innovation enhancement this year.
Innovation enhancement initiatives will also include activities such as: the development of strategic clusters; support for youth innovation; scholarships and bursaries; graduate employment incentives; R&D incentive information; innovation awards; a federal-provincial innovation team; and an Advisory Council on Innovation.
The new programs will support high growth sectors of the economy such as ocean technology, life sciences, environmental industries, ICT and others.
Newfoundland and Labrador�s success as an innovative culture and economy depends on having a skilled and educated population that is prepared to compete and lead in a global society. Government�s recent White Paper on Public Post-secondary Education committed almost $90 million over three years to strengthen the base of the province�s post-secondary education system and to support our capacity for innovation. A further investment by government of approximately $34 million in 2006-07 in the areas of apprenticeship, science and technology programming, training and infrastructure will strongly support the direction of the innovation strategy.
Of the $90 million committed in the white paper, $22.5 million is for an expanded Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF). As part of this commitment and in strong support of the innovation strategy, government will provide $7.5 million for IRIF for 2006-07. This builds on the $5 million already delivered in 2005-06 and the additional $10 million earmarked for 2007-08. The Industrial Research and Innovation Fund supports research and development investments in targeted, high-growth clusters offering significant long-term economic development potential in such areas as advanced manufacturing, marine technology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, value-added natural resources, and the oil and gas industry.
"Government is committed to ensuring that our students have access to technology and state-of-the-art equipment and programs. In the coming weeks, details will be announced related to funding to support the development of new programs and equipment and infrastructure renewal to ensure this province�s students have the proper academic experiences to support innovation," said Joan Burke, Minister of Education.
"We need a culture in which every individual learns to develop innovative solutions to the challenges we face," said Premier Williams. "This innovation strategy represents our vision for Newfoundland and Labrador�s future in the 21st century, and I encourage people to embrace it and participate in this process as together we move forward in realizing the full potential of our province."
2006 03 27 10:40 a.m.
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