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ONTARIO COLLEGES STIMULATE INNOVATION

2010-11-04

Ottawa, November 2 — Colleges in Ontario are making positive contributions to the economy, businesses and individuals by stimulating applied research and development (R&D) and accelerating much-needed innovation, according to a Conference Board of Canada study released today at the Ontario Economic Summit.

The report, Innovation Catalysts and Accelerators: The Impact of Ontario Colleges’ Applied Research, found that, in many instances, the applied research services provided by Ontario colleges’ stimulate new R&D activity and spending in businesses—which would otherwise not have occurred had the college expertise and applied research funding not been available.

The study found that there is an opportunity to achieve much more by investing more in Ontario’s colleges. Funding for applied research at colleges has been modest, the scale is limited and many institutions are new to applied research. Nevertheless, colleges’ applied research services—such as assistance with design and prototyping, proof of concept, and testing—not only serve as catalysts for new R&D spending and activities; they also accelerate innovation.

The report provides recommendations for government and colleges to increase the contribution that Ontario colleges can make to small-and-medium enterprise innovation performance. Federal and provincial governments can: increase funding for infrastructure, capacity and research projects with business; revise funding criteria to focus on innovation outcomes; create an Applied Research Leaders program; and allow college faculty more time to pursue research.

Colleges should: ensure that research fits with its core mandate of student education and training; enhance networks, staffing and procedures to improve relationships with businesses; and increase mentoring, sharing and learning among colleges.

Please find the full report at www.collegesontario.org

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