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View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, meeting number six.
Pursuant to Standing Order 81(5) we are studying the supplementary estimates (B) for 2019-20.
We have with us today from the Department of Industry Mr. Simon Kennedy, deputy minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, as well as Mr. Douglas McConnachie, our assistant deputy minister and chief financial officer, corporate management sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Gentlemen, you will have 10 minutes to present, followed by a round of questions. The floor is yours.
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View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have some votes on the supplementary estimates (B), so I ask the members to stay for a moment.
Can I get unanimous consent to lump together the votes that we have to do today?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
ATLANTIC CANADA OPPORTUNITIES AGENCY
Vote 1b—Operating expenditures..........$3,932
Vote 5b—Grants and contributions...........$3,457,536
(Votes 1b and 5b agreed to on division)
CANADIAN NORTHERN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Vote 5b—Grants and contributions..........$500,000
(Vote 5b agreed to on division)
CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY
Vote 5b—Capital expenditures..........$69,178,862
Vote 10b—Grants and contributions..........$930,000
(Votes 5b and 10b agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Vote 1b—Operating expenditures..........$2,696,570
Vote 10b—Grants and contributions..........$67,926,793
(Votes 1b and 10b agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION
Vote 1b—Operating expenditures..........$49,043
Vote 5b—Grants and contributions..........$5,524,559
(Votes 1b and 5b agreed to on division)
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF CANADA FOR THE REGIONS OF QUEBEC
Vote 1b—Operating expenditures..........$34,622
Vote 5b—Grants and contributions..........$2,790,618
(Votes 1b and 5b agreed to on division)
FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO
Vote 1b—Operating expenditures..........$46,519
Vote 5b—Grants and contributions..........$4,434,631
(Votes 1b and 5b agreed to on division)
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA
Vote 5b—Capital expenditures..........$1,375,185
Vote 10b—Grants and contributions..........$5,560,708
(Votes 5b and 10b agreed to on division)
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL
Vote 5b—Grants..........$1
(Vote 5b agreed to on division)
The Chair: Shall the chair report the votes on the supplementary estimates (B) to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
The meeting is adjourned.
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View Dan Ruimy Profile
Lib. (BC)
Good morning, everybody. Welcome to meeting 165 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), we're resuming our study of the main estimates 2019-20.
With us today we have the honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport.
Welcome, Minister. Thank you for coming today.
From the Department of Industry we have David McGovern, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
You have up to 10 minutes to tell us your story.
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View Dan Ruimy Profile
Lib. (BC)
We're back.
Before we go into committee business, we need to vote on the main estimates.
ATLANTIC CANADA OPPORTUNITIES AGENCY
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$65,905,491
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$241,163,563
Vote 10—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism..........$2,091,224
Vote 15—Increased Funding for the Regional Development Agencies..........$24,900,000
(Votes 1, 5, 10 and 15 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN NORTHERN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$14,527,629
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$34,270,717
Vote 10—A Food Policy for Canada..........$3,000,000
Vote 15—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism..........$1,709,192
Vote 20—Strong Arctic and Northern Communities..........$9,999,990
(Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$181,393,741
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$78,547,200
Vote 10—Grants and contributions..........$58,696,000
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION
Vote 1—Payments to the Commission..........$95,665,913
Vote 5—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism..........$5,000,000
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
COPYRIGHT BOARD
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$3,781,533
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Vote 1—Operating expenditures ..........$442,060,174
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$6,683,000
Vote 10—Grants and contributions..........$2,160,756,935
Vote L15—Payments pursuant to subsection 14(2) of the Department of Industry Act..........$300,000
Vote L20—Loans pursuant to paragraph 14(1)(a) of the Department of Industry Act..........$500,000
Vote 25—Access to High-Speed Internet for all Canadians..........$26,905,000
Vote 30—Giving Young Canadians Digital Skills..........$30,000,000
Vote 35—Preparing for a New Generation of Wireless Technology..........$7,357,000
Vote 40—Protecting Canada's Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats..........$964,000
Vote 45—Protecting Canada's National Security..........$1,043,354
Vote 50—Supporting Innovation in the Oil and Gas Sector Through Collaboration..........$10,000,000
Vote 55—Supporting Renewed Legal Relationships With Indigenous Peoples..........$3,048,333
Vote 60—Supporting the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs..........$7,300,000
Vote 65—Supporting the work of the Business/Higher Education Roundtable..........$5,666,667
Vote 70—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism (FedNor)..........$1,836,536
(Votes 1, 5, 10, L15, L20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$37,981,906
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$209,531,630
Vote 10—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism..........$3,607,224
Vote 15—Protecting Water and Soil in the Prairies..........$1,000,000
Vote 20—Increased Funding for the Regional Development Agencies..........$15,800,000
Vote 25—Investing in a Diverse and Growing Western Economy..........$33,300,000
(Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 agreed to on division)
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF CANADA FOR THE REGIONS OF QUEBEC
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$39,352,146
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$277,942,967
Vote 10—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism..........$3,097,848
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$29,201,373
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$224,900,252
Vote 10—Launching a Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism..........$3,867,976
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$436,503,800
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$58,320,000
Vote 10—Grants and contributions..........$448,814,193
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
NATURAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH COUNCIL
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$53,905,016
Vote 5—Grants..........$1,296,774,972
Vote 10—Paid Parental Leave for Student Researchers..........$1,805,000
Vote 15—Supporting Graduate Students Through Research Scholarships..........$4,350,000
(Votes 1, 5, 10 and 15 agreed to on division)
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$35,100,061
Vote 5—Grants..........$884,037,003
Vote 10—Paid Parental Leave for Student Researchers..........$1,447,000
Vote 15—Supporting Graduate Students Through Research Scholarships..........$6,090,000
(Votes 1, 5, 10 and 15 agreed to on division)
STANDARDS COUNCIL OF CANADA
Vote 1—Payments to the Council..........$17,910,000
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
STATISTICS CANADA
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$423,989,188
Vote 5—Monitoring Purchases of Canadian Real Estate..........$500,000
(Votes 1 and 5 agreed to on division)
The Chair: Shall the chair report the main estimates for 2019-20, less the amounts voted in the interim estimates, to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We will now go in camera to discuss M-208.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
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View Dan Ruimy Profile
Lib. (BC)
Good morning, everybody. This is meeting 164 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), we are studying the main estimates of 2019-20.
With us today is the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; along with John Knubley, deputy minister.
Thank you all very much for coming in today.
Sir, you have up to 10 minutes.
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View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2019-05-28 9:54
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome to the department.
I'm going to start with you, Mr. Knubley.
Based on table 1 of the document from the Library of Parliament, there are a number of federal agencies that have received more funding or requested more funding. I would like to go through a couple of them specifically. I looked at the percentages, and I went across. The department that's apparently requesting the highest percentage is the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. It is asking for $63.5 million. That's an increase of about 122%. Can you expand on that one?
I have a number of them, so I can quickly go through them.
Western Economic Diversification Canada has a 106% increase. Then the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario has a 40% increase. National Research Council Canada has a 17% increase. Finally, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has an 18.3% increase.
If you could cover those so that I don't have to keep interrupting you, that would be good.
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John Knubley
View John Knubley Profile
John Knubley
2019-05-28 9:58
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SSHRC, again, I think was in budget 2018, and the government made very significant investments relating to fundamental science. There's an increase related to SSHRC in that regard.
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Ted Hewitt
View Ted Hewitt Profile
Ted Hewitt
2019-02-19 8:58
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning, everybody. I'm very pleased to be here with my colleagues from SSHRC—
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Ted Hewitt
View Ted Hewitt Profile
Ted Hewitt
2019-02-19 8:59
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Thank you for the invitation to be here. I'm here with my colleagues, Ursula Gobel and Manon Tremblay, from SSHRC.
I want to begin, as you did, by recognizing and acknowledging our presence on the unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
As president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and chair of the Canada research coordinating committee, I am really pleased to have this opportunity to speak to members of the committee about a very special initiative that the federal government granting agencies, in collaboration with first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, are undertaking with the goal of strengthening indigenous research capacity.
ln 2015, as we're all aware, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued a very clear call to establish a national research program to advance the understanding of reconciliation. Call to action 65 reads as follows:
We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation.
ln 2017, the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, or CRCC, was created. The CRCC brings together the heads of Canada's research granting agencies, namely the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the National Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Chief Science Advisor, the Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Deputy Minister of Health.
The objective of the CRCC is to achieve greater harmonization, integration and coordination of research-related programs and policies, and to address issues of common concern.
The CRCC reaffirmed the federal granting agencies' commitment to the calls to action of the TRC, and identified as one of its priorities the creation of a national dialogue with indigenous communities to develop an interdisciplinary indigenous research and research training model that contributes to reconciliation. In budget 2018 the federal government committed $3.8 million to SSHRC to support this priority by developing a strategic research plan that identifies new ways of doing research with indigenous communities. This includes strategies to grow the capacity of those communities to conduct research and to partner with the broader research community.
ln support of these objectives, SSHRC, in collaboration with the other federal granting agencies previously named, has been leading the implementation of the strengthening indigenous research capacity initiative. This engagement seeks to build an increased understanding of the effective strategies for strengthening the research capacity of indigenous communities and improving relationships with first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
ln the spirit of renewing relationships with Canada's indigenous people, our engagement activities have been guided by three key objectives. First is a focus on co-development, such that everything we do will be developed in partnership with indigenous communities. Second, a key objective is to build new relationships with first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples by fostering and sustaining mutually respectful relationships and generating ongoing opportunities for dialogue. A third objective is to take a coordinated approach across the federal funding agencies and other key partners in this endeavour.
Building upon engagement through previous round tables and dialogues with indigenous peoples since the release of the TRC's report, four strategic themes were identified to guide our current engagement activities.
These themes were: supporting indigenous talent and research careers; engaging indigenous knowledge; mobilizing knowledge and partnerships for reconciliation, and fostering mutually respectful relationships. Each offered an area in which indigenous scholars, students and community and business leaders couId engage actively with our work.
The process of engagement has taken place over the past several months along two streams.
In one stream, a series of regional events, such as round tables and workshops, were organized in collaboration with indigenous partners and communities. Between July 2018 and March 2019, 14 regional events will have taken place with indigenous communities across Canada. These events have engaged with first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, as well as reflected a diversity of voices, including elders and knowledge keepers, youth and students, business leaders, women's groups, community and research organizations and post-secondary institutions. An online engagement platform developed on GCcollab has further enabled engagement and dialogue.
In another stream, multidisciplinary research grants, entitled indigenous research capacity and reconciliation grants, were funded through SSHRC's connection program. A total of 116 indigenous research capacity and reconciliation grants, with a value of up to $50,000 each, have recently been awarded to indigenous organizations as well as to researchers at post-secondary institutions and other not-for-profit organizations.
These grants specifically support community gatherings, workshops and events that focus on mobilizing and exchanging knowledge on indigenous research in ways that are transformative and contribute to reconciliation.
Furthermore, for the first time, not-for-profit indigenous organizations were able to apply and lead these projects directly. In fact, some 85% of projects submitted by indigenous organizations were successful, and more than half of the indigenous research and conciliation grants were awarded to such organizations.
The lessons and perspectives that emerge from these engagement activities will be formulated into a draft strategic plan to be presented to the CRCC in the spring, and which we hope will lay the foundations for a sustained engagement with first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples on advancing indigenous research and reconciliation.
These activities have raised many important points and ideas. Participants have been as impassioned as they have been insightful. They have demonstrated that the manner in which scientific research has been done traditionally, and in many instances continues to be done, with indigenous communities in Canada warrants serious reflection.
Through the engagement events, first nations, Inuit and Métis people spoke emphatically about the need to decolonize research, and especially putting an end to the type of "helicopter research" that has non-indigenous researchers fly in and fly out to collect data with little, if any, relationship-building with the community, little understanding of indigenous concepts like community consent, and sometimes without even adequate information provided to the community or meaningful consultation.
As one major step toward decolonizing research, indigenous people are demanding more control over the data that is collected about them. They want to be able to decide how that data is used, how it is published, stored and shared. In particular, they highlighted the difficulty of simply accessing the data for their own community uses and benefits.
Indigenous people also asked for more say in setting the research agenda, so that the research can be designed from the very beginning to address the needs and priorities of indigenous communities. They also want research partnerships to move beyond simple tokenism toward more meaningful and enduring collaboration in research. In this regard, they highlighted the importance of the more long-term community research and research funding.
These communities would also like more support in conducting their own community-driven research and help in building up their own indigenous research infrastructure at all levels.
A strong message coming from the engagement events has been that indigenous communities need more support in developing indigenous research talent, which includes better recognition and reflection of indigenous ways of knowing.
We consider the work being done by the tri-agencies on strengthening indigenous research to be valuable and innovative, and vitally important for a better understanding of reconciliation with indigenous people. It has also been important for recognizing and correcting the many historical grievances that have been inflicted on indigenous people through ill-considered processes of scientific research.
Thank you.
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Ursula Gobel
View Ursula Gobel Profile
Ursula Gobel
2019-02-19 9:42
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Thank you.
It's very important to us as a funding agency situated in Ottawa that we have the advice and hear the voices of indigenous communities. We have welcomed tremendously the advice of the indigenous advisory circle, which reflects indigenous scholars from across the country, and also now indigenous community members and a commitment to continuous improvement.
We hear that a lot, but our president mentioned our policies and guidelines that are regularly being updated. We most recently addressed the issue of greater accessibility and support for indigenous students, recognizing some of the administrative barriers that were in place. How do we provide that opportunity for indigenous graduate students to have consideration, should they wish it, for a longer duration, given their needs as caregivers? How can we ensure that merit review committee members recognize traditional knowledge and different epistemologies and methodologies in graduate training? That should be recognized. So we're constantly re-evaluating and ensuring that our administrative processes and our guidelines are respectful of indigenous communities' needs and truly endeavour to support their growth.
Now in the context of tri-agency harmonization, Ted reviewed all of the activities that have been under way for several months. There are clear areas that have been identified across regions and by Inuit, first nations and Métis people: issues related to ethics and ethics policies, issues related to eligibility, issues related to data governance, each of these areas. Coming to a better understanding of the needs of the community, the distinctions between communities and regions and across first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and within the mandates of the tri-agencies, how can we better harmonize our practices?
That is complex work, but we are committed to doing it. We have established a tri-agency working group directly with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, for example. Being at the table and really rolling up our sleeves and addressing these issues with the voices of the community front and centre has been our approach.
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View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2017-12-07 11:40
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Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the floor. Is that...?
The Chair: Quickly.
Mr. Matt Jeneroux: There are 12 of 15 seats on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council that are vacant. There are also 80% of the seats on NSERC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, that are vacant. Has the minister reached out for your advice on the appointments for these positions?
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Dominique Bérubé
View Dominique Bérubé Profile
Dominique Bérubé
2017-06-20 9:49
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Thank you very much.
Good morning, Madam Chair.
On behalf of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and of course our president Ted Hewitt, thank you for the opportunity to appear today in support of your work on the economic security of women in Canada.
We think this work is particularly important in light of increasing scrutiny on gender equity across all sectors of Canadian society, including in higher education institutions, in research teams and labs, as well as in the boardroom and other leadership positions.
As vice-president of research programs at SSHRC, I am particularly pleased to be here. I am an engineer by training with a degree from École polytechnique de Montréal—I was there in 1989—and a doctorate from Université du Québec à Montréal, while having two kids.
Prior to coming to SSHRC, I worked in universities, holding a number of leadership positions at Université de Montréal, including acting as vice-president of research, giving me both perspectives in this world. I hope that I may bring a personal perspective, in addition to providing you with all the information required for the deliberations today or as a follow-up to this meeting.
May I remind you that the social sciences and humanities comprise a wide spectrum of disciplines including psychology, sociology, education, economics, fine arts, linguistics, gender and indigenous studies, geography, business administration, and communications. They touch on almost every aspect of Canadians’ lives, thereby contributing to the Canadian economy.
SSHRC awards grants, scholarships and fellowships in three core program areas. Each of these programs brings benefits to Canada's economy in different ways.
The first program, our talent program, obviously, supports graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, to develop the next generation of researchers and leaders in all sectors. It's about 44% of our program expenditures. It's very important within our own agency. This training provides Canada’s women and men with the critical analytical and communications skills required by a new economy.
Our insight program supports individuals and teams of researchers to advance knowledge and build understanding, and accounts for about 45% of our program expenditures. New research insights, for instance, about new business models, corporate social responsibility, and the integration of people with disabilities into the labour market can help Canada’s businesses gain a competitive edge and contribute to improving the well-being of Canadians in general.
The third program, the Connection program, represents 11% of our expenditures. It supports the exchange of research knowledge within and beyond academe to maximize its impacts. Connecting research knowledge to the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors that can use it is another way that SSHRC contributes to the economy.
Through its programs, SSHRC has funded many of the researchers in Canada who are examining the very issues you are studying. I think you have met some of them during your different meetings.
For example, we have funded research projects on the gender aspects of poverty alleviation, employment standards protections for precarious job workers, child care policies, gender income inequalities, and much more. What is important is that the leadership of women in these fields of research is very strong.
Indigenous research is also a strategic priority for SSHRC. Now up to 10% of our budget is invested in that area and indigenous and non-indigenous women researchers are central to our efforts. Women are leaders in that area of research. In the spirit of reconciliation, it is always important for SSHRC to consider this perspective in our thinking.
With regard to women's participation in our programs more generally, we are obviously in a very positive situation. About 50% of our applicants are women, and the success rates of women and men are equivalent. In our scholarship and fellowship programs we are seeing women applicants and awardees at a rate of over 60%. Last year, women made up 50% of our adjudication members also. However, we continue to track the situation and monitor the leadership opportunities for women within our programs.
While it is true that women are pursuing post-secondary education in increasing numbers, the participation of women is greater than that of men in the social sciences and humanities at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. However, men still occupy more senior academic positions. We are looking forward to new data from StatsCan's recently reinstated survey for university and college faculty to see if this trend is lessening with time.
We also administer, on behalf of the three granting councils, five major programs, including the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program.
We know we have some progress to make in these cases. Recent evaluations concluded that efforts toward achieving equality by universities have not been sufficient, so we took action. We have just launched an equity, diversity, and inclusiveness action plan, and we will be happy to answer your questions regarding that plan.
Thank you.
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Ted Hewitt
View Ted Hewitt Profile
Ted Hewitt
2017-06-20 8:54
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Good morning, Mr. Chair, vice-chairs and distinguished committee members.
I want to thank you all for inviting me here today. Like Bert, I'm also someone who's very interested in this topic, so it's great to have an opportunity to discuss it more fully. It's certainly a very welcome mandate: identifying best practices for sharing and commercializing the amazing research that's being done in post-secondary institutions across Canada. It has real value, not only for scholars and entrepreneurs, but for all Canadians.
One of the things I want to explain, however, is that I'm not here principally as president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, or SSHRC, as we like to call it.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has certainly funded research in intellectual property. Some studies we have funded include one examining the future of the Copyright Act in Canada and reconciling creator and user rights.
In fact, we have long lists of these, which I've shared with some of you, and which speak directly to some of the work that you're doing in terms of evaluation, analysis, policy, and so forth. We're more than happy to put you in touch with that research and those researchers.
SSHRC, however, unlike NSERC, is less involved in intellectual property questions or policy per se. In other words, we don't provide direction to university and college researchers with respect to ownership of IP coming from projects funded through SSHRC. Rather, we defer to the policy of post-secondary institutions. I'm not saying that's the way it necessarily should be or has to be, but that's become our policy to date.
Today, I would like to comment instead on intellectual property challenges, particularly in the university sector, based upon my experience as a former vice-president of research at Western University, in London, Ontario.
You heard from George Dixon, who is the vice-president of research at the University of Waterloo. Well, I was George's counterpart at the other “W” university down the road, and we worked together very effectively.
There is currently much discussion in the university community about intellectual property ownership—specifically, university versus individual researcher models.
We talk, and you have probably talked at some length, about investigator-owned versus university-owned IP policy. In fact, as you may know already or should know, most universities have investigator-owned policies whereby the actual investigator-researcher owns the IP that's produced from the work, regardless of who pays for it. There are some university-owned policies. It's a great source of debate, and it's something that needs to be discussed. In my view, the real issue isn't so much who owns the IP—because it ends up going somewhere and is typically licensed—but rather how post-secondary institutions facilitate or assist the commercialization of IP in terms of freedom to operate on the one hand, incentives or disincentives, and how that all plays out.
Currently, we know that the outcome, if you look at traditional tech-transfer models, is pretty limited. Royalty returns, for example, from investments in intellectual property are roughly equal to the amounts that get invested in the development of IP for dissemination or transfer.
It's not about the scope or scale of invention or patenting either, because, to some extent, universities, in my view, are sitting on a considerable volume of patents, hundreds and thousands of patents. The fact is that they're not necessarily moving, and the question is why?
In my position, it may not even be about IP policy or the legal framework of it. The real issue in the academic community, as I said, is how to move IP to market to get knowledge moving and, importantly, to de-risk the process for all the partners.
The old ways are not working; we need to look at new tools. To successfully commercialize university research, we need better collaboration between business and academics.
Certainly we need to build up demand in the private sector for the supply of the knowledge that our scholars can produce, while at the same time ensuring that the integrity of the research project remains intact in the transfer process.
How can we do that? Certainly things like contract agreement templates can be used universally. Right now we use a very broad patchwork of tools. Umbrella agreements among industry, universities, researchers, and information exchange work very well. We used these to great effect when I was at Western. These are all ways to standardize and to facilitate knowledge transfer in a broader range of ways.
There is also the bundling of technologies and the development of regional academic industry consortia. You may have heard about the Western Canadian Innovation Offices, and about CRIAQ, the aerospace consortium in Quebec. These are all ways to promote or attract industry engagement and break down barriers to commercialization.
Such strategies help to reduce the institutional impulse to competitiveness and replace it with efforts to collaborate. But collaboration needs to somehow be rewarded.
One of the suggestions that I heard about in terms of IP and technology transfer was quite interesting. Instead of universities chasing dollars through royalty agreements and so forth, we as a society, a province, or a country, should just finance the development of the IP and the transfer of the IP itself. If universities are earning only about $60 million a year or so from royalties, why don't we invest twice that and just instruct the universities to push it out? Take the money, go for it, and move it, instead of spending all the time and all the effort that we spend to develop and license all the agreements.
I've left some material with you. There can be a case for a completely open approach, open innovation, which frees research from the traditional closed and rigid proprietary licensing models.
Despite what has been said, this isn't simply about universities or investigators giving away IP. It's about inviting companies and other third parties into the early-stage discovery process from the outset, often for a fee or through cash for access, and then allowing them to protect and utilize IP at the stage that's useful for them.
This keeps early-stage research, from our public universities financed typically with public money, open to everybody, as a platform on which to build, while at the same time giving third party research partners the option to protect and to develop that IP which they are in a position to exploit.
It has been argued, for example, that a model like that could save years off the development of pharma products, since early stage research in a more protected environment is essentially lost to all but the sponsor of the research.
In fact, the research I've seen, colleagues, such as that of Aled Edwards at the University of Toronto, has shown that the time to development of pharmaceutical projects in an open innovation environment can be reduced by potentially tens of years.
These methods are currently in place within Toronto's Structural Genomics Consortium, and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. This approach may not work in all fields, especially where time to market is very short.
It may not work for software development in which things move very quickly. It can certainly work in the case of drug development.
In concluding my remarks I'd like to state the obvious. In essence, research collecting dust on a shelf has no value, and there is a considerable amount of this. Goods and services that don't connect with people or reflect consumer preferences are also equally doomed to fail. I think both academics and entrepreneurs often lose sight of this fact. To achieve the economic growth that Canada needs in this increasingly globalized trade environment, we need to get ideas to market quickly. By assessing our collaborative capabilities as this committee is currently doing, we can hopefully establish a default model that eliminates some of the obstacles to this commercialization and increases the efficiency of knowledge transfer to the benefit of all Canadians.
Thank you.
I welcome any questions the committee may have.
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