Report: Canada’s industrial R&D strengths focused in four areas
Expert panel report also finds industrial R&D expenditure half that of U.S. and declining.
A new expert panel report on research and development in Canadian industry released by the Council of Canadian Academies has found that, despite Canada’s historically poor performance in industrial R&D, four sectors of national strength exist. According to the report, (The State of Industrial R&D in Canada), these areas are: Aerospace products and parts manufacturing; information and communication technologies; oil and gas extraction; and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.
In addition to an evidence-based analysis of Canada’s R&D strengths in industry, the report also details how these strengths are distributed regionally, and also how they align with Canada’s overall research and economic performance.
For example, the panel’s report found that IR&D activity is concentrated in central Canada, with Ontario and Quebec ranking highest, followed by Alberta and British Columbia. The assessment also revealed that IR&D in Canada is relatively personnel intensive and less capital intensive than in other comparative countries, and that fewer large firms undertake IR&D in Canada.
According to the report, IR&D expenditures in Canada are now roughly half of the U.S. level and declining. This gap is largely driven by low IR&D intensity in Canadian high-tech manufacturing sectors, such as semiconductor and computer equipment manufacturing.
“Industrial R&D has been a source of perennial concern for Canadian policy-makers as it is an important contributor to the innovation process,” said Expert Panel Chair Kathleen Sendall, C.M., FCAE, director of the CGG and director of Enmax Corporation. “This report will serve as an important baseline for policy and decision-making going forward as it is one of the most detailed and systematic studies on industrial R&D ever undertaken in Canada.”