Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
Environment and Conservation
Fisheries and Aquaculture
April 26, 2007
Turning Vision into Action: New Strategy Fuels R&D Momentum
The Williams Government�s vision of a successful economy is one that includes strong industrial research, development and innovation. Budget 2007 continues to turn that vision into action by including more than $29 million for research and development (R&D) projects in natural resources and knowledge-based industries. And it will see the development of a province-wide, comprehensive R&D strategy and the establishment of an R&D Council.
"The highest performing economies have strong research and development capabilities," said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. "In Newfoundland and Labrador, R&D activity is building momentum and we have the ingenuity, expertise and vision to build a globally competitive R&D centre right here in this province. To increase our competitiveness, government and industry must increase investments in research capacity and new technology industries and our new R&D strategy will achieve great things for the province."
Premier Williams said a key focus of the province�s innovation strategy, Innovation Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for Prosperity, is to expand R&D capacity to grow technology development and commercialization in strategic sectors. To drive that process, government has allocated $300,000 for the development of a provincial R&D strategy and the establishment of a Research and Development Council.
"The Provincial Government currently provides R&D funding to institutions, companies and educational institutions through a number of departmental programs," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "A new strategy will focus the delivery of R&D funding, and increase the level of economic spin-off in the provincial economy arising from R&D. The new R&D Council will be a Crown corporation that spearheads R&D activities based on priorities in the R&D strategy, reflecting both general public policy and economic/technology development priorities."
Developed in collaboration with Memorial University, the College of the North Atlantic and the private sector, the strategy will be designed to give Newfoundland and Labrador a competitive edge in sectors such as ocean technology, genetic research, environmental monitoring and alternative energy technologies. Under this strategy, the Provincial Government aims to increase private and public sector research capacity, and enhance the provincial research and innovation environment.
Minister Taylor said funding is already being provided to help companies bring their research and ideas to market through the Commercialization Program. To continue support for companies, the program will receive $3 million, along with carry-over of $1.245 million from last year�s budget. The Innovation Enhancement Program, whichsupports public sector institutions, not-for-profit groups, community organizations and industry associations involved in activities that enhance the innovative capacity of the province, will receive $2 million.
Supporting Our Students
The backbone of all current and proposed R&D activities is the education system. As outlined in the White Paper on Post-Secondary Education, the province�s college and university systems must be able to produce and adequately support capable and inquisitive students.
As part of the White Paper commitment and in strong support of the Innovation Strategy, the Provincial Government will invest $10 million to expand the Industrial Research and Innovation Fund. This investment builds on the $12.5 million already delivered by the White Paper which has leveraged $39 million from other partners, or over three dollars for every provincial dollar spent. The enhanced Industrial Research and Innovation Fund invests in public research institutions and supports the objective of improving the province�s position in the global environment.
The Department of Education has received $1 million to establish a School of Ocean Technology at the Marine Institute, which will help the province respond to the emerging education, training and research requirements and opportunities in the ocean technology sector. It will increase the Marine Institute�s capacity in areas such as seabed mapping, acoustics and marine communications.
In total, $1.25 million is being committed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre of Excellence for Environmental Science, Research and Technology (CEE) initiative in Corner Brook this year. The CEE will be a cluster of both existing and potential new program activities related to sustainable forestry, freshwater ecology, terrestrial ecosystems and other elements of the environmental sector. For the upcoming budget year, $795,000 will be allocated to the Sir Wilfred Grenfell campus of Memorial University in Corner Brook to begin a graduate science program, establish a policy centre, provide supports for a sustainable forestry cluster as well as project administration. Additionally, the College of the North Atlantic campus at Corner Brook will receive $455,000 to offer a new geomatics advanced diploma program and to support its existing geospatial research facility.
Optimizing the Benefits of Our Resources
Research and development is an essential piece in the development of the province�s natural resources. The Williams Government is committed to sustainable natural resource development based on sound analysis and advice and in a manner that provides optimal benefit for the people of the province, now and into the future.
"Simply extracting our resources and shipping them off is not good enough. We must find ever-more innovative ways to develop our natural resources and ensure we get a fair return on the development of our resources," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "Research and development can add value through secondary processing opportunities and identifying niches where our products can compete globally. It is also invaluable in providing us with information to make the best decisions to get the most out of our natural resources."
In Budget 2007, the Williams Government is investing $283,800 in the Comprehensive Research Program for Sustainable Forest Management. This funding will help address the ecological, social, environmental and industrial development challenges facing the forest sector and potentially lever additional investments of up to $3 million from other interests for sustainable forest research in the province.
The Provincial Government is also about to launch the province�s first-ever Energy Plan to guide the long-term development of Newfoundland and Labrador�s energy resources. Government is investing $350,000 to allow the Department of Natural Resources to continue with research and development related to energy policy and in the preliminary implementation of the Energy Plan.
Budget 2007 also supports research and development in offshore oil and gas. The Provincial Government will provide Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada (PRAC) with $100,000 in each of the next three years to improve understanding of the province�s offshore geology, prospects and related activities. This will help attract additional exploration by reducing exploration risk to companies.
Budget 2007 is also strengthening the oil and gas industry by investing in a three-year, $1.85 million technology initiative with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. The Provincial Government will contribute $925,000 this year to begin developing and implementing a Data Management Repository System. The system will enable the offshore regulator to more effectively manage the province�s oil and gas resources through faster access to data for accurate and timely decision-making.
Ensuring a Well-Managed Environment
Research, sustainable development and management of the province�s natural environment and resources are critical to ensuring a healthy environment, economy and communities for the benefit of present and future generations.
"It is imperative that government carry out research and development on a frequent basis to enable government to be proactive and make decisions about the environment based on scientific evidence," said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Environment and Conservation. "This government will continue its investment in research projects that support sound management of our wildlife, ecosystems, water, air and natural resources for the enjoyment of our people now and in the future."
The Provincial Government will move forward with a number of initiatives to protect and conserve our environment:
Diversifying and Renewing the Fishery
Research and development is a key component of a modern fishery competing in the global marketplace. To ensure that the fishery continues to be competitive and modern on a global basis, government is investing in fisheries research and development in Budget 2007.
"As the global fishing industry continues to evolve, so will the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery," said the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "As part of the investment in fisheries in Budget 2007, our government will continue to pursue and develop new opportunities to diversify the industry. This will meet our overall goal of ensuring that our fishery remains sustainable and viable into the future. This is critical to the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador."
Specific investments in fisheries research and development in Budget 2007 include:
As part of the Fishing Industry Renewal initiatives, Budget 2007 also includes $2 million for fishing industry research and developmental work. This will involve work associated with the development of new species, new products and new markets. A total of $6 million has been allocated for this initiative over three years.
Improving the Health of Our People
Budget 2007 will include $1.3 million to establish a Centre for Clinical Research in the Health Sciences Centre to increase capacity in clinical and genetic epidemiology. Evidence shows that recent investments in health research of $3.2 million have resulted in a 5.8 fold increase in external dollars for health research. In clinical research, every $1 million invested creates 20 highly skilled jobs.
The new centre will become the focal point for collaborative interdisciplinary research teams and includes staff of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Research, the Patient Research Centre and associated Information Technology. Additionally, the centre will enable the province to better interact with the Canadian Centre for Health Information�s proposed national network of clinical research centres.
The Centre for Clinical Research will focus primarily on genetics research. This area is important to the province as it has the ability to generate significant findings for medical research at Memorial University. The research will focus on specific characteristics of clients and will generate genetics-based information to assist with improving health outcomes.
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