Innovation Policy

Superclusters await funding six months after winning $950-million innovation bids

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announces proposals under the $950-million Innovation Superclusters Initiative in Ottawa. FILE: Thursday, February 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

None of the $950 million in government funds has been issued to the five winning entrants in the Canadian government’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative. However, the British Columbia-based Digital Technology Supercluster said that it will be ready to launch its first round of projects as early as October, pending negotiations with Ottawa.

Last year, the government held a contest for the initiative that fielded 50 applicants, which were narrowed to nine finalists in October 2017. The five winners were announced in February. The government will allot between $125 and $250 million to each supercluster, which must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar by industry.

The federal government said that establishing the industry and research hubs will grow Canada’s economy by $50 billion in the next 10 years and create more than 50,000 jobs. Some expert critics heavily doubt that claim.

Funding submissions from the winning organizations, whose CEOs spoke to The Logic, are being reviewed and approved by the Treasury Board.

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