Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Five Winning Superclusters Still Haven't Received Their $950Mln in Promised Funding

          By Henry Stewart

Almost seven months after the  five "industry led" technology groups slated to get a piece of the $950Mln Federal government “superclusters” funding program were announced in Ottawa to much fanfare, none of the groups seem to have received any of the promised funding.

Innovation minister Navdeep Bains announces the five "industry led" technology groups which would receive funding under the Federal Supercluster program at the Ottawa, ON based Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) on Thursday, February 15th, 2018. Photo c/o CBC News.

On the other hand, and as outlined in the September 6th, 2018 Financial Post article, "Canada’s $950-million bet on innovation gets set to take the next step," the five winning groups, "have been hammering out details and funding agreements with Ottawa and some expect to launch projects this fall."

According to the article, "money is expected to start flowing this fall once the five innovation partnerships receive final sign-off from the federal government — something that could happen imminently."

As outlined in the February 16th, 2018 post, "Ottawa Announces Winners of $950Mln 'Supercluster' Competition," the five technology groups chosen for funding include:
  • Canada's Ocean Supercluster, based in Atlantic Canada, which will develop and utilize innovative technologies to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy. Partners include PQ based ABB Canada, Ottawa ON based C-CORE and Cambridge, ON based exactEarth.
  • The Quebec based SCALE.AI Supply Chain Supercluster, which will work on building intelligent supply chains using artificial intelligence and robotics. According to its website, the consortium includes "over 80 Canadian companies, 26 business associations and 12 Canadian academic institutions."
Last fall, the government narrowed a field of about 50 original applicants to nine organizations. The money will be distributed over five years to the five winners, which will have to match the federal funding they receive, dollar for dollar.

A proposal from the Satellite Canada Innovation Network, which was discussed in the August 3rd, 2017 post, "Satellite Canada Applies for Innovation SuperCluster Funds," didn't make the list of finalists.

As second proposal, the Prairies’ smart agri-food supercluster, profiled in the August 31st, 2017 post, "MacDonald Dettwiler is Part of an Alberta Based Agrifood ‘Supercluster’ Proposal"and listed as one of the nine finalists, didn't make the final cut either.

The government expects the program to eventually create more than 50,000 jobs for Canadians.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer. 

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the most ridiculous "investments" of tax payer money made by this Government.
    The expectation of 50,000 jobs has no basis and must be traced by the tax payers to seek government accountability by way of evidence and confirmation that it has been achieved. I would "short" this investment to economically negligible except the direct creation of jobs to maintain and execute the program without long-term effect on job creation and on Canadian GNP growth.
    The above negative view is based on total lack of evidence that similar governments undertakings that are politically-motivated experiments performed by parties in power have met their expectations, and personal in-depth experience with high-tech job creation and related economic benefits.


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