Good morning, everyone.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm pleased to be here this morning with our deputy minister, John Knubley; our associate deputy minister, Kelly Gillis; and our assistant deputy minister, Lawrence Hanson.
I'm really pleased to be here this morning as this esteemed committee reviews the main estimates for 2017-18. You will know that this fiscal year the total for our department is up $1.3 billion over last. This is largely due to the investments in research infrastructure that our government made with the post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund. This $2-billion investment demonstrates our priorities when it comes to supporting scientific excellence in this country. When we are investing in such a major way to build and upgrade Canada's research facilities, this is really an investment in the people who make science happen.
This is my consistent refrain in all that I do. It's all about people. It's the lens through which I view all of our support for Canadian science. It's why our approach has been, and will continue to be, to make investments to provide people with the right skills and opportunities to make their greatest possible contributions to Canadian science. For example, through the Canada first research excellence fund, we have devoted a full $900 million to the Canadian researchers who are taking action on grand initiatives like quantum computing, stem cell research, brain science, and so on.
This year's budget is also investing $125 million to maintain and enhance Canada's international reputation for excellence in artificial intelligence. The committee may be familiar with some of the amazing people already doing world-leading work in this field, such as Yoshua Bengio in Montreal, who is a world expert in deep learning and artificial neural networks and Geoffrey Hinton at the University of Toronto, who is doing groundbreaking work in computer science and artificial intelligence.
It's important to remember that all these investments are in addition to the boost we have already provided to our three national granting councils through budget 2016. They now have access to an additional $95 million per year in ongoing permanent funding. This is the highest amount of new annual funding for discovery research in more than a decade. This new unfettered funding supports the efforts of tens of thousands of researchers and trainees at schools and facilities across the country.
That said, we haven't forgotten that more than 20,000 scientists and specialists are engaged in science and technology activities, government science. To help give these world-class professionals the tools they need, we will develop a new federal science infrastructure strategy.
We've already kicked things off by providing $80 million to replace the Sidney Centre for Plant Health with a new, world-class research facility.
We're also making investments directly in the work of these federal researchers in all the departments.
On the social science side, we have set aside support for the community and college social innovation fund, which fosters community college partnerships aiming at achieving beneficial social outcomes. Science is helping communities understand and meet the challenges and opportunities around them. This is one of the ways we are making good on our commitment to the multidisciplinary nature of science. I truly believe that we can make so much more of the relationship among the pure sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
We do all this because, again, it's all about people. It's about nurturing our domestic talent, even from the very earliest age, and all throughout their schooling and careers. That's why we are investing to teach grade school students to code—the language of tomorrow. We are also providing major support for PromoScience, a highly successful program that encourages young Canadians interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In addition, we are funding up to 10,000 new work-integrated learning opportunities per year through Mitacs research internships.
As science minister, I want all young Canadians to be able to see themselves taking part in the world of science. As I hope I've shown so far, our government is investing strategically to make the most of today's and tomorrow's homegrown talent, but we also need to make sure that we are attracting the best international researchers to Canada.
That's why, in honour of Canada's 150th anniversary, I've announced a new type of research chair to attract top-tier scientists from around the world. We're working on implementing this new chair quickly so that universities can recruit researchers as soon as possible.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to finish this morning by discussing the science review and how it will inform the future of Canadian research and scholarship. As you may know, a broad external review of the federal agencies had not been done since the 1970s. Simply put, it was time.
I am profoundly grateful to all the distinguished panel members, including the chair, Dr. David Naylor, for their service. I am reviewing the panel's recommendations now with a critical eye, through that people lens that I've been talking about. I'm pleased to see that the report talks a lot about talent. It talks about how we can best support students, researchers, professors, and everyone else involved in our research ecosystem.
It particularly highlights diversity and equity as places where we must do better. This rings so true with me. Throughout my own academic career, I have consistently advocated for more diversity in science. Science needs more women and more young people. It needs more indigenous peoples and more Canadians with disabilities. Because, as University of Victoria president Jamie Cassels so eloquently says, “diversity is the foundation of excellence”.
That's exactly why we have instituted new equity requirements in the Canada excellence research chairs competition. Right now, there is only one active female CERC. This is unacceptable. We have to do better. I have told university presidents that I am expecting to see a change.
What's more, I'll continue to explore other measures to encourage more diversity and equity in the research community. If Canada wants to achieve its full potential, we need all people to feel welcomed in the lab, the field and the classroom. I can't say it enough. The key word here is people.
The science review also brought into sharp focus the challenges facing early-career researchers and new investigators. Young scientists come with fresh insights and new ways to solve old problems. We have only to think about James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin. Their ages were 24, 36, and 32, respectively, when their work led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. Think of the science we may be missing out on for want of supporting our early-career researchers.
We hope to announce the appointment of the chief science adviser before the summer recess. He or she will be feeding into this discussion as well.
I am confident that if all partners, public and private, are united in working toward a singular goal, together we will be able to create a research system that is bold, vibrant, and equitable.
Thank you for having me to this committee, and I'm looking forward to receiving your questions.
Thank you all for coming.
Minister, I'm so glad that you're talking about diversity. We had Bill in this committee, and when that bill was introduced, the government did not show any direction as to what it meant by “diversity”. After deliberation in this committee, the government finally agreed to put into the regulation what it means by “diversity” in the bill. It says that it includes designated groups such as women, indigenous people, visible minorities, people with disabilities, and others.
I noticed in your speech that you talked about diversity. I would like to quote you. You said that science needs more women and more young people, that it needs more indigenous peoples and more differently abled Canadians. I guess it was an oversight that you didn't include visible minorities there in the speech, but that's okay, I know that you mean well.
On the investment in research, I'm so glad that we are back investing in fundamental research. It's very important for us to invest in this because this is what continues to keep Canada at the forefront of the new, global, knowledge-based economy.
One thing I know is that the bulk of the funds that are going to fund research are used very productively by the universities, but anecdotal evidence also states that some of it is going—and I don't know how to put it—to fund deadwood, that it's continuously subsidizing people who are not productive. Is there anything that's measurable? How can you measure the outputs or the deliverables of the huge investments we are making?
Thank you, Chandra, for your question. You've raised a number of issues; I'll try to address them all.
Thank you for your commitment to equity and diversity. As you know, our government is the first government to have a gender-balanced cabinet. In this last budget, budget 2017, there is a gender statement.
When I took on this role, I made it very clear that I would make equity, diversity, and science a key priority. I began having discussions with the universities and with the granting agencies. In September we brought back the university and college academic staff survey, the UCASS survey. It had been in place since 1937, but it was cancelled under the previous government. Come this spring, we will have data to know if people are progressing through the ranks at the same rate and whether they're making equal pay.
In October we put in place new equity and diversity requirements for our Canada excellence research chairs. These are among the most prestigious awards in the world. They offer $10 million over seven years. Right now we have only one woman who is a CERC. It's unacceptable.
In October we posted that diversity and equity data on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council website. It was the first time. You will know that in the last few weeks we've put in place new requirements regarding the Canada research chairs.
The Canada research chairs have been in place since 2000. They're very prestigious to have. We're saying to the universities that if they have more than five of these research chairs, they're going to have to put in place an equity and diversity plan by the end of the year, that we expect them to meet those targets by 2019, and that if they don't, they won't be having their proposals reviewed.
To come to your point about fundamental science, fundamental science is a key driver of innovation. Our government's priority is economic growth, jobs, and growing the middle class and those working hard to join it. If you want innovation, a key driver of economic growth, you need fundamental science, discovery science, curiosity-based science. It's a continuum through to applied science, innovation, those commercial products and services that we'd like to sell. I want to be clear. It is not an easy continuum. It's actually very messy. Scientists go back and forth seamlessly between fundamental science and applied science.
I'm really proud of the investments our government has made. In budget 2016, we gave the largest top-up in a decade to the three federal granting councils. It was $95 million. That was for 2016-17 and each year going forward.
I won't talk about the fundamental review at this point. It matters. I think it's really important for this committee to understand the world-renowned peer review system we have in this country. When people apply for a grant, the granting councils put together a world-class panel to review each grant application. They're carefully reviewed, and then the results are made public. We have, then, this world-class review system.
Thank you, Madam Minister, for being here this morning, and to all of your folks from the department.
I've just come from a meeting where our interim leader, Rona Ambrose, spoke to the Economic Club of Canada. When we talk about great women in leadership roles, I think of her. I think of Deborah Grey and Kim Campbell. These are people who won their jobs because of the great skills they had.
I remember going into Central America where I talked about how to get women engaged and involved in politics. At that time, 80% of Canadians had a female premier. There are great opportunities for people to work and use the skills they have, and they need to have chances from everybody. Sometimes that comes via political parties, to make sure that you elect strong people who are there to be able to take on these positions.
I say that to tie into the discussions you have when you've said to universities that if they don't meet quotas or diversity targets, something is going to be done. Of course, what we've heard is that there will be a withdrawal of funding, and so on.
I'd like you to tell us what that actually means. How will you roll out that policy? Is it something that your government will be legislating, or will it be departmental policy at the tri-agency institutional programs secretariat? How will you be withholding funding for those institutions that don't meet the targets that you've looked at?
The other aspect of it is, are we going to be seeing decisions about research funding no longer in the hands of the experts who review and evaluate the science but rather in the hands of politicians, consultants, or bureaucrats with little experience in advanced research? What happens to the tri-agency institutional programs secretariat?
Earl, thank you for your question.
Let me be clear. Equality and excellence go hand in hand. I've gone across this country and the women I meet with are outstanding researchers. I think of people such as Victoria Kaspi, who won the Herzberg medal, which is, as you know, NSERC's highest prize, just the other year. I think of Molly Shoichet who just won a Killam Prize. There are excellent women researchers.
Our priority is always excellence. That means the proposals are reviewed. I've talked about our world-class review process. However, we have not seen the increase in women and other under-represented groups in the sciences that we should have. We know when we bring all minds to the table, to the lab, to the field, it is good for research; it is good for Canadians.
I will give specific examples of what happens when women and diverse groups are not included. I'll start with the example of heart valves. The first heart valves were created by cardiologists who happened largely to be men, and they made heart valves that fit a male-sized heart and not a woman-sized heart. The first voice recognition software was calibrated only to men's voices. The third example I'll give is air bags. The first air bags in cars were created by engineers who largely happened to be male. They made air bag prototypes that fit a male-sized body. When those cars went onto the road, women and children were injured, or worse.
We need to make sure that everybody is included, that they come with different perspectives and ideas. They might use different methodologies, they might ask different questions, and we might get different results that benefit all Canadians.
I hope everyone is attending Science Odyssey events. We have 600 of them across the country right now. I know you were there yesterday, and Kate, and I thank you for coming.
It's really important that we encourage young people to enter science, particularly women.
Thank you, Madam Minister, for being here.
I do actually appreciate the movement that's taking place at the universities and colleges, because they are also an addition to the overall society problem that we have with the inclusion of diversity. My background is as an employment specialist on behalf of persons with disabilities and youth at risk, and I can tell you that.... A clear example is that women still do not receive the same pay for the same jobs.
It is important that this movement is happening. The unfortunate thing—and I like your commentary about this—is the fact that the legislation that is being proposed by your government under Bill , the reform to the Canada Business Corporations Act, does not do the same thing. You are moving to a comply or explain model for diversity, and the legislation doesn't even mention the word “gender”.
I would like to get your thoughts on how this is really at odds with what's taking place with regard to legislation in the House of Commons. It is clear that the voluntary commitment by public institutions that have a board of directors who are assigned by the public has required this type of step to change the behaviour with regard to inclusion, especially given the populations, diversities, and gender balance that they represent, their customers being students.
Second, why isn't it carried forth in terms of legislation to the Canada Business Corporations Act and Bill ? I had several amendments that were defeated at this committee.
I appreciate that, but your government legislation is not doing the same thing. It's at odds with itself, with this committee, and with the voting in the House of Commons on Bill , so I'd ask you to consider that as that draft legislation works its way through.
The other one to review as a scientist and working so well within our academic communities is Bill . I won't touch on too much of it, but at this point I would appeal for a review of it. It's amazing, Madam Minister, that despite the testimony of Munir Sheikh and Wayne Smith, and other testimony that we had on this committee, not a single amendment was able to pass through this committee with regard to the inclusion of their contributions.
In fact, several witnesses who have high profiles and respect in academia, not only at home here but internationally, and were also the former census operators, both resigning over differences of opinion in the scientific approach to the census going from long form to short form and so forth and also provisions. Not a single word of their testimony, or of any of the witnesses, will be included in the legislation that's been proposed to go back to the House of Commons at this time.
I would like to move though, Madam Minister, to the review panel and the expectations for it. I think that was an excellent approach. In the 1970s we didn't even have the concept of a mobile phone. I think the first time I saw a mobile phone was in a movie with Mel Gibson. The phone weighed about 10 pounds and looked like a World War II phone.
At any rate, can you give us an indication of when we might hear back about that, and what type of movement and resources the government has committed toward that?
I'll talk a bit about the fundamental review. Since the 1970s there has not been a comprehensive review of the funding ecosystem. Can you imagine any other system that has been allowed to go 40 years without being reviewed? Therefore, I was very committed to doing this.
We had this incredible blue ribbon panel chaired by Dr. David Naylor, the former president of the University of Toronto. It included people like Dr. Art McDonald, our newest Nobel Prize winner; Dr. Martha Piper, the former president of UBC; Mike Lazaridis of BlackBerry; and the chief scientist of Quebec, Rémi Quirion.
I want to begin by saying thank you to them. They have worked tirelessly for their commitment, for their insights that will improve the ecosystem here in Canada. As well, I want to thank all the individual researchers, the research organizations, and the universities and other academic institutions that contributed to that review. I was pleased to receive the response on April 10. I was very clear that this report would not be buried. It was released at the Public Policy Forum so that we could begin a national discussion about how we fund federal support for fundamental science.
There are 35 recommendations. They talk about the need for additional funds for investigator-led research. There were also issues of governance and coordination, the need for more equity and diversity, the need to support early-career researchers, and the need to make the system more nimble and responsive. For example, if Zika or Ebola hit, money would be available that we could get out to the research community quickly and also support multidisciplinary research.
We have big challenges, whether it's climate change or antimicrobial resistance. We need to bring different disciplines to the table and to support risky research. Those are some of the recommendations from the report.
Thank you, Lloyd. You've brought in a number of pieces here. You started with the National Research Council, so I'll address that first.
National Research Council has a proud 100-year history in this country, and we want to make sure it succeeds going forward. You will know that we have a new president, Mr. Iain Stewart. He comes with a tremendous background of both academic and government work in science, technology, innovation, and economic development.
When he came on board, my colleague and I sat down with him. I said that there needed to be a lot of listening, and he has had hundreds of conversations with employees of the NRC. In the spring we'll come forward with ideas of how we can strengthen the NRC.
I've been clear that I don't want it to be a political football any longer. We want to make sure that its industrial research assistance program, IRAP, which has 250 advisers across the country, provides help to small businesses—last year, it was 2,500 businesses, and helped support 11,000 jobs—continues, and is strong.
I'd also like to see fundamental research strengthened, because that's where the innovation will come going forward.
You've also talked about needing to support fundamental science. That's part of my research mandate, so we have put in place the top-up of $95 million to the granting councils. That is unfettered money, representing a real change from the previous government that tied money. If you look at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, in 2005 there was no tied money. In 2006, 9% was tied, and before budget 2016, that was 37%. So this is unfettered money.
Just to come back a bit, you mentioned the $70 million that is there as far as added research is concerned. As I mentioned in my last question, we have $59.6 million that is from the National Research Council of Canada's numbers. Mitacs is down $7 million, and there is a cut of $1.7 million to the centres of excellence for commercialization and research program. You start to get into real money there as well, things that are in the main estimates and get moved around.
As someone who has a base in agriculture, I'm extremely happy to see the research dollars that are there. I disagree vehemently with the suggestion that those kinds of dollars and that kind of research and the research clusters were not there in the previous government. I think it's unfair to make those types of statements, in so many ways.
In your presentation, you talked about joining with the at the Central Experimental Farm to announce $70 million to support agricultural discovery science and innovation in the country. Included in that then, we need to have some real discussions on agriculture about things like GMOs. Health Canada has to be taking a look at things like gluten-free diets, whereas 0.7% of the population has a problem with gluten, yet there is a fad such that 2% to 3% of people believe that they should be taking on these kinds of diets. Therefore, you have 1.3% to 2.3% of the population that is not benefiting from gluten.
Take a look at some of the science and some of the decisions that have been made regarding neonicotinoids. These are the kinds of things that make me a little bit concerned when I hear people talk about agricultural discovery science who don't live out there on the farms, on the ground, or see exactly what this does.
Yes, it's important, but where are the researchers? Are there researchers out there in western Canada who can take a look and actually talk about what neonicotinoids do and why it is that the guys who have bees want to make sure that their bees aren't out there where the canola is that is treated with that substance? There are reasons there, but we get caught up in a bunch of rhetoric that comes from people who just don't want to have a dandelion sprayed on their lawn in downtown Toronto.
Those are the concerns that I have. I really want us to make sure that when we talk about agricultural discovery science, it goes back to agriculture and the people who really recognize what is there. I see too much of, “Here's this fad. Here's that fad. Let's talk about this. Let's satisfy some other group,” whether it be in Europe, the U.S., or China. In reality, all that is happening is they're using these for trade irritants and causing problems there.
How can we be assured that our scientists are going to pay attention to the real part of science instead of getting caught up in this social science aspect of things?
Thanks again, Minister, for your input.
I want to get to the social sciences, but, again, I guess I would implore upon your government to look at Bill . This is act that is amending the Canada Business Corporations Act. Part 1, in particular, deals with the structure of corporate boards and governance, and the inclusion of women and persons with disabilities. The bill shied away from actually defining “human rights”. It wouldn't even comment on what a human right was with regard to racial equality. Secondly, it didn't address the issue of gender by including the word “gender” in the bill.
Lastly, it's moving to a model called “comply or explain”, which, the way that the legislation is written, if you follow the legislation after we finish it, at the very best you're looking at probably seven years in the time duration before it can actually be reviewed once it's actually passed. You're probably at up to 10 years from this date in terms of reviewing that legislation from the time we pass it in the House of Commons. Because you have a majority and you do have a lot of allies looking to change that, I would implore your government to reach out to those allies who want to actually make the bill relevant, because you're now doing this in your own department, under this initiative, with the universities.
With my remaining time, I will ask this in particular and pass it over to you. Social sciences and the humanities again have come up. We've heard a lot of discussion about it. Are you making any efforts, or is the government doing any work to bridge the social sciences and the humanities to some of the work of trying to privatize or bring ideas to market, so, more of the hard sciences for innovation? Are you doing anything with the social sciences and the humanities to help in that? That seems to be a lost piece of the puzzle for getting items to the marketplace, ideas to production, so to speak?
Good morning. It's nice to be back.
My name is Mark Schaan, as you have just heard, and I'm the director general of the marketplace framework policy branch at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Along with me are my colleagues, Alison McDermott and Konstantinos Georgaras, who also have interests on the technology transfer and intellectual property administration side.
To start off our presentation, I'll provide a brief overview of our intellectual property laws and of how they benefit our marketplace frameworks.
Then, my colleague from the science and innovation sector will provide more details regarding the relationship between IP and universities, and technology transfer in the post-secondary sector.
Finally, my colleague from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, or CIPO, will provide an overview of CIPO’s mandate and responsibilities and some information regarding public sector patenting activity.
First, just to put our IP laws in the broader policy context, they are considered to be key marketplace framework laws in Canada. We recognize that they play a critical role in encouraging innovation, attracting investment, and supporting other key drivers of the Canadian economy.
As you can see from the statistics, Canada has a decent track record when it comes to our marketplace frameworks. That said, we know we need to do better, particularly in the use of IP by firms. IP laws create terms of protection enshrining public and private rights.
As you see, copyrights protect original creative works, such as books, movies, music, and video games. Copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 70 years for sound recording. Patents protect novel inventions, such as advancements in technology, pharmaceuticals, and processes. Patents last for 20 years from filing.
Trademarks promote certainty in the marketplace by protecting distinctive branding used in commerce, such as a logo, a slogan, or brand names that distinguish the goods and services of one person or organization from those of others. Once amendments to the Trade-marks Act come into force, a trademark registration will last 10 years, renewable indefinitely for additional 10-year periods.
Industrial designs protect product designs, such as the shape of a lamp or the design of a chair. Once the amendments to the Industrial Design Act come into force, industrial design rights will last the later of either 10 years from the date of registration or 15 years from the date of filing. These rights prevent others from using, copying, selling, or manufacturing without authorization of rights holders.
IP laws establish the requirements to obtain or challenge the rights, their use, length, and scope of protection, and the administration governing the granting, registration, and maintenance of IP rights. IP rights are domestic but are anchored in treaties, which set minimal requirements.
Canada’s IP regime has three main objectives. The first is to support innovation and enable innovators to extract value from their creations and recoup investments. The second is to ensure Canadians have access to a wide range of innovative products, new technologies, and new goods and services. The third is to promote consumers' confidence in the marketplace.
Well-functioning marketplace frameworks generate positive outcomes for Canadians. They provide incentives for innovation and creativity; ensure access to the latest technologies and ideas; foster competition; promote confidence in the marketplace; and balance competing stakeholder interests as well as the common good.
IP-intensive industries are key drivers of the Canadian economy. As this chart shows, the orange bar demonstrates that they account for almost 14% of all jobs in Canada and more than 25% of our GDP. About 40% of all Canadian exports are from IP-intensive industries. We know that SMEs that own IP are more like to grow to scale and have a greater propensity to export. For example, SMEs that hold formal IP are four times more likely to export, 64% more likely to be high-growth, and 32% more likely to seek financing.
Canada has made strides to improve and align its IP regime with those of our international partners. For example, we introduced amendments to ratify the CETA agreement, which included an additional period of protection for eligible pharmaceutical patents.
In 2016 Canada played a leading international role in intellectual property. Canada amended its Copyright Law to implement and accede to the Marrakesh treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print-disabled. Canada was the critical 20th country needed to bring the treaty into force internationally.
Our agenda for 2017 is very ambitious. We know that there will be a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act. The five-year review is mandated by section 92 of the Copyright Act, which requires that Parliament review the Copyright Act every five years. Five-year reviews are intended to ensure that the act remains responsive to changes in technology.
Budget 2017 also announced that the government will develop a new comprehensive intellectual property strategy over the coming year. This strategy will help ensure that Canada's intellectual property regime is modern and robust and supports commercializing Canadian innovations in the 21st century.
The purpose of the IP strategy is to support the objectives of the innovation and skills plan—namely, fostering an ecosystem that supports businesses to grow to scale. The strategy will work to do this by ensuring that the IP regime is efficient, that it fosters innovation, and that firms have the awareness and incentive to strategically use IP to grow and compete.
With that I'll turn it to my colleague, Alison.
Great. Thank you, Mark.
As mentioned, I'm the director general within ISED's science and innovation sector. We work closely with the granting councils and the post-secondary education sector.
Mark has started off with a good overview of the overarching context for IP. In my remarks I will try to narrow in on the topic of IP and technology transfer in the post-secondary education sector.
I prepared my remarks in English, but I would be happy to answer questions asked in French.
Post-secondary institutions serve a variety of important functions, including training, the creation of scientific knowledge, and the transfer of that knowledge to those best placed to put it to use. We'll call that “technology transfer”.
IP protection is an important component of technology transfer because it allows academic researchers to publish their research while still providing industrial partners with the incentive to commercialize. Technology transfer offices—we'll call them TTOs—facilitate technology transfer activities at universities and colleges. These can be as varied as managing IP, developing and supporting partnerships between academia and knowledge users, and supporting entrepreneurship and company growth. Universities and colleges play different roles in the mobilization of knowledge, with university research often driven by researcher and student curiosity, and college applied research driven largely by industry needs.
As we've been asked to be brief, in this presentation, I'll focus on university technology transfer.
The Government of Canada provides support for technology transfer through the federal granting agencies, NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR, including many programs designed to encourage post-secondary and private sector research collaborations. These seek to bring a wide range of research and technical expertise to bear on specific industrial challenges. These are also about exposing researchers to these industry needs.
These include several NSERC programs under the NSERC strategy for partnerships and innovation; the tri-council business-led networks of centres of excellence and the centres of excellence for commercialization and research programs, generally known as the BL-NCE and the CECR programs; as well as the Mitacs scientific internship program, which received significant sums of money in the last budget. Many of these programs include the training of highly qualified personnel as another means to help ensure knowledge is also mobilized into the workforce.
I'll mention another program, the research support fund, formerly known as the indirect costs program for those familiar with that. This is a tri-agency program that provides Canadian post-secondary institutions with support to help them defray the indirect costs of research that is funded by the federal granting councils. Under this program, the Government of Canada directly supports costs related to technology transfer, including the creation, expansion, and maintenance of a TTO, and costs associated with IP protection and supporting industry partnerships.
Metrics are an ongoing challenge in technology transfer. There are no available metrics that fully capture the economic impact of technology activities at post-secondary institutions on a national scale. Instead, we tend to follow narrower outcomes related to IP, which are the easiest to measure. You will hear talk of and we'll keep track of things such as patents, licences, start-ups created, and licensing revenue generated.
There can be some downsides associated with the focus on those kinds of metrics, dangers that TTOs can sometimes be pushed to chase those kinds of metrics, sometimes at the cost of the quality of the broader objective of transferring technology.
The majority of Canadian university TTOs, when last asked, suggested that these common IP metrics, while the best that we have in some ways, don't effectively measure the full extent of what they do in their offices. That also reflects some evolution that's taken place in recent years over the way TTOs work. Many of them are now more focused on other technology transfer outcomes that are not IP-related but better suited to advance the Canadian economy in the long run. These are things like forming academic industrial partnerships and transfer through HQP, highly qualified personnel, of skills to the workplace.
In terms of IP ownership policies, there is no national uniform policy governing IP. I know this is an issue you're interested in. Provincial governments have the jurisdiction to set IP policy at post-secondary institutions. The majority of these will actually defer to the institutions to set their own policies, which in turn are often embedded in faculty collective agreements.
This has led to an overall diversity of approaches to intellectual property protection policies, which can be more or less summarized in two broad approaches. There are the inventor-owned policies and the university-owned policies. Both of them are associated with high-quality technology transfer outcomes, or they can be. Some universities have a policy that contains features of both. We refer to this as the joint ownership approach, where both the inventor and the institution share IP rights.
With respect to federally funded research, the granting councils do not require institutions to follow any particular IP policy. With respect to community colleges, the role of applied research in Canadian colleges is to help solve an industry problem. Canadian colleges normally do not own their IP. It remains with the industrial partner.
In terms of a comparison of IP ownership models, for a university that adopts an inventor-owned IP policy, the research or inventor has the right to decide whether to sign over his or her IP to an industrial partner. Some of the advantages of this approach are that it can be highly motivating for academics. It encourages them to get more actively involved in the commercialization of their research. It also gives them flexibility to adjust to the licensing preferences of the firm that they're dealing with. In contrast, a TTO may be constrained by broader institutional policies.
On the downside, the success of this approach can be highly dependent on the individual concerned and whether they have the kinds of skills, the ability, and the motivation to commercialize their IP and/or launch a successful start-up. This model assumes that researchers are motivated by the concept of capturing monetary benefits from the results of their research. It can also increase the complexity of negotiating licensing agreements due often to the inventor's lack of experience in this area.
Now we'll look at the university-owned ownership model. For a university that adopts a university-owned IP policy, the university has the right to sell or retain the inventor's IP once it's disclosed. Some advantages of this policy are that it seeks to simplify the process of commercializing and licensing by centralizing ownership and taking maximum advantage of the expertise in the TTO. It also gives universities flexibility to pool the licensing of relevant IP that may have been invented by different researchers from diverse fields. They might package different patents together and sell them to an appropriate company that could take advantage of that. This policy recognizes that researchers may not have the interest or expertise to further develop and commercialize their intellectual property independently.
On the downside, this kind of policy can create a barrier to technology transfer when university TTOs, many of which operate on cost-recovery models, sometimes tend to overvalue IP in terms of trying to maximize their financial benefits. TTOs can also be less nimble and have less flexibility to adjust to the licensing preferences of an individual firm than an inventor would, or a single person would. Inventors may be less inclined under this policy to be involved in this critical stage of developing the technology towards commercialization. This is the counter-side of the motivation issue that was mentioned in the inventor-owned model.
We have some examples of international experience. There's a lot of interest in the United States, where IP ownership rights for government-funded university research have been governed by the Bayh-Dole Act since 1980. This act essentially states that the rights to inventions resulting from federally funded research belong exclusively to universities and are subject to a number of obligations regarding disclosure and royalty sharing.
The Bayh-Dole Act has often been seen as an important catalyst for the increases in patenting and licensing activity that took place in the 1980s and 1990s. It's hard to say unambiguously that this is responsible for that in the sense that this strong, upward trend in patenting and licensing did begin before the implementation of the act. You could attribute many elements of this increase to other factors, for example, the broader scope of patentable inventions, and the fact that there was an increasing propensity to patent over this time, and just the nature of technological progress that took place in certain fields. Bio-medical sciences, for example, really picked up a lot in the eighties and nineties.
Other countries, such as the U.K., Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Norway, all maintain a university-owned IP model. In Australia, as in Canada, universities are able to develop their own policies. The majority of these use a university-owned IP model. Italy and Sweden use a professor-privilege IP policy in which IP ownership remains with the inventor.
Overall, we would say there's little evidence that the policy governing who owns the IP rights of an innovation has an overriding impact on the success of technology transfer between institutions and industry as measured by the volume of patents and licences. As mentioned before, there are successful examples of both models of ownership. I'll give you a couple of examples. The University of Waterloo is often cited as an example of an inventor-owned policy that's very effective. UBC would be an example of a university-owned model that works very well. They're both considered to be leaders from a technology transfer perspective.
Other factors that are often pointed to as contributing to the success of technology transfer would include things like how many resources a university puts towards its technology transfer office and towards these activities in general, and the quality of contractual agreements. As well, overall the level of education and awareness about the importance of intellectual property protection and commercialization, as well as overall culture, are seen as very important. Waterloo is an example of a university in which there is a strong culture of entrepreneurship that supports and values technology transfer, and that culture has a strong influence as well.
Some other channels of technology transfer can be arguably as important or more important than IP licensing. As mentioned before, there is this idea of movement of people, students in particular, from universities to the private sector or public sectors and the know-how they bring with them. Company creation is another mechanism. There is publication of research results and interactions through things like meetings and conferences. We mentioned the Mitacs internships that create connections between universities and firms, and there are just general research partnerships and co-operative research centres.
I'm going to turn it over to Konstantinos now.
Hello. My name is Konstantinos Georgaras.
I'm from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, a special operating agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. We are responsible for the administration of the intellectual property acts and the registration of IP.
I'd like to give you a brief overview of some of the counts and trends in IP and do a deeper dive into where the technologies are coming from and what those technology areas look like, where the collaboration is happening, and then finally give you a debriefing on interactions we've had with technology transfer offices to identify the barriers they have in using the IP system and what we are doing to address it.
As my colleagues have mentioned, there are a number of broader objectives for research and technology transfer, and not all of these discoveries will make it to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, rather we see a smaller subset in patenting. In our overall applications, we receive about 100,000 IP applications per year. In 2015 there were 37,000 patent applications and 22,000 patents were granted. If you look at Canadian universities patenting in our office at CIPO, the University of Alberta, for example, had 27 patent applications in fiscal year 2015-16.
Again, this is just applications in Canada. If we look at where Canadians and universities file for patents, you will see that most Canadians will file outside Canada. The top blue line on this chart represents all Canadians, and it shows that about 13,000 patent applications were made in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. If you look at the green line, there were about 4,000 patent applications by Canadians in Canada, so about three-quarters of the applicants will go to the U.S. first, and that's a business decision. Likewise, if you look at the red and purple lines, that represents university filings, and it's the same proportion. About three-quarters of universities will file in the States.
We conducted what is called IT analytics. This allows us to dig deeper into the data that's provided in the patent applications, and here you see the spread of technology that Canadian universities are patenting worldwide. You can see this landscape of peaks and valleys. The snow-capped peaks represent the specialty areas in which Canadian universities are filing for patents. Two to highlight are alkyl and optical light beams, for example, and I'll get back to that. That's the general landscape, if you will, of technology that Canadian universities are patenting.
Now we'll look at just one university, so we can go deeper. Here, looking at McGill, for example, in the last 15 years they filed for 273 patents in Canada. Worldwide they filed for 758. When we look at the patent applications, we can unbundle where the collaborations are happening, and I understand that is an initiative this committee is interested in looking at—where the collaboration is happening. In 52% of these worldwide patent applications that McGill pursued over the last 15 years, over half of them had collaborations with other universities and companies. We did the same thing for UBC, but let's skip forward.
If you dig even deeper into the patent data, you can identify where the collaboration is happening. Here at the University of Ottawa this is a collaboration map looking at optical transmission and communication systems, and you can see how these patents are coming forward as collaborative applications with the University of Ottawa and companies such as X-Ray Optical Systems or Spectalis Corp., as well as Harvard and Waterloo universities. Once you start digging deeper and deeper into the data, you can see where the collaboration is happening.
Now let me step back. At CIPO our mandate is to support innovation and help pull through the ideas once they come to our office. We tried to better understand some of the challenges that technology transfer offices and universities were facing in applying for IP, and they identified five key challenges. There is a fifth one that is not on this slide, but I'll start with that: cost. Clearly technology transfer offices have to make business decisions as to what they pursue to patent. Our office provides a 50% discount to university applicants. It's our contribution to help reduce costs for the university applicant.
A second issue that came up was the issue around awareness and education. We heard throughout, from technology transfer offices and the community around universities, that there's a need for awareness of how to effectively use IP. With that, CIPO is launching very extensive work on developing educational programs and material for IP strategy. We have something called IP case studies. We work with students in universities to help them understand IP, as they're part of the spin-off, if you will, for university discovery.
A third element that came up in terms of a barrier or a challenge that universities face, is, as I mentioned earlier, that three-quarters will file outside of Canada. There was the issue of harmonization internationally. CIPO is working very hard to implement some international IP treaties, and we're targeting 2019 for them to come into force. This will help to ensure that there's a harmonized system, and it will help facilitate IP filing in Canada and abroad.
A fourth element was trying to understand the breadth of technology and what's coming forward. What we're doing, and I demonstrated earlier through IP analytics, is trying to show where the technologies are coming up. That helps identify the collaboration. This type of information can help inform professors, technology transfers, where the collaboration can happen.
The final element was really directed at the office itself. Our databases are lacking, and we are working hard to modernize them. We have done quite a bit over the last few months to bring more information forward to users.
To sum up, you've seen some of the trends. We've done a deep dive into the technology areas. We are taking action at CIPO, for those coming to our door, to help facilitate their applications going forward.
I'll wrap up with that.