Government reveals who is getting $950M in ‘supercluster’ funding

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains made the supercluster announcement on Thursday in Ottawa.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains made the supercluster announcement on Thursday in Ottawa. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

OTTAWA – Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has named five technology groups that will each get a piece of up to $950 million in what the government calls its “superclusters” initiative, a high-tech collaboration strategy aimed at fostering growth and creating jobs.

  •  The Ocean supercluster based in Atlantic Canada will use
    innovation to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based
    industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy
  • The Scale AI supercluster in Quebec will work on building
    intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and
  • The Advanced Manufacturing supercluster in Ontario will connect
    technology strengths to manufacturing industry to prepare for the
    economy of tomorrow
  • The Protein Industries supercluster in the Prairies will work
    on making the country a leading source of plant proteins;
  • The Digital Technology supercluster in British Columbia will
    use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in
    important sectors like health care, forestry, and manufacturing.

The supercluster concept is designed to bring together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to generate forward-looking, job-creating ideas and innovation.

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“What is a supercluster? It is a made-in-Canada Silicon Valley that will create tens of thousands of jobs – that’s what a supercluster is,” Bains said Thursday as he unveiled the winners in Ottawa.

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“It’s about collaboration as well. Look at this room – we have academia, business, you have small business and large business, and we have government – working together, promoting collaboration, supporting our supply chains and also developing and nurturing skills and knowledge and making sure that we pass that knowledge
from one generation to another.”

READ MORE: Ottawa names Atlantic consortium as first of nine shortlisted ‘superclusters’

The government is planning on not only a stronger, innovation-driven economy as a result of the initiative, but at least more than 50,000 jobs, he added.

Thursday’s announcement ends a nine-month contest central to the Liberals’ so-called innovation agenda.
Last fall, the government narrowed a field of about 50 applicants to nine finalists.

The money will be distributed over five years to the winners, which will be required to match the federal funding they receive, dollar for dollar.

The Liberals faced criticism over their plan, including concerns over the government picking winners and losers, but Bains defended it by saying the superclusters will be led by industry.

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The government hopes the leverage from its $950-million commitment will help unlock business investment in research and development as a way to lift the economy.

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