ARCHIVED - Nanotech industry gets a $36 million boost

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February 08, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario

The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for NRC, speaks at the nanotech cluster funding announcement.
The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for NRC, speaks at the nanotech cluster funding announcement.

When it comes to emerging technology, money is a growth hormone.

To give Canada's burgeoning nanotechnology sector a boost, the federal government is injecting $36 million more into a technology cluster initiative spearheaded by NRC and its partners in Edmonton. The new money follows a five-year, $60 million investment provided in 2002 to lay the foundation for the nanotech cluster. Experts have predicted that, by 2015, close to 50 percent of new products will incorporate some element of nanotechnology, especially in medicine.

The funding was announced in Edmonton on December 18, 2007, when the Honourable Jim Prentice and the Honourable Rona Ambrose met with the Honourable Doug Horner, Alberta's Minister of Advanced Education and Technology; Dr. Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta; and other stakeholders at the NRC National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT).

"The Government of Canada is committed to improving Canada's international reputation for research excellence," said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for NRC. "[This] investment is an example of how we can continue to excel as a nation, create high-quality jobs for Canadians, and raise the standard of living in our country."

The $36 million for nanotechnology is part of a $118 million federal investment in six of the technology clusters supported by NRC. Each cluster specializes in a priority area of R&D: hydrogen and fuel cells (Vancouver); nanotechnology (Edmonton); plants for health and wellness (Saskatoon); biomedical technologies (Winnipeg); photonics (Ottawa); and aluminium transformation (Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region).

"The National Research Council of Canada's Technology Clusters Initiative is encouraging research partnerships between federal, provincial, and municipal governments, industry, and the higher-education sector. This initiative is accelerating the commercialization of new technologies produced by small and medium-sized firms. It is also building regional S&T capacity in key sectors and industries across Canada."

Government of Canada: Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage (2007)

NRC is also spearheading the development of other tech clusters with its own research facilities at the hub. The other clusters focus on sustainable urban infrastructure (Regina); information technology and e-business (Fredericton/Moncton); life sciences (Halifax); nutrisciences and health (Charlottetown); and ocean technologies (St. John's).

Technology clusters are community-based S&T partnerships involving industry, universities and colleges, and all levels of government. Through collaborative action, clusters help build the entrepreneurial, knowledge and people advantage called for in Canada's S&T strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage. The creation of globally competitive technology clusters ― concentrations of firms focused on specific sectors of technology ― is one of the best strategies to ensure that Canada's economy remains competitive, productive and sustainable.

The funding provided in 2002 for the Edmonton cluster has already stimulated considerable growth. Three years ago, NRC began building NINT in partnership with the University of Alberta and the Province of Alberta. Since its opening in 2006, this institute has become the hub for Edmonton's rapidly expanding nanotechnology cluster. Edmonton now boasts more than 20 commercial organizations with world-class nanoscience expertise.

In 2007, partners struck a joint agreement on intellectual property and opened the NINT Innovation Centre. This facility will help Canadian companies benefit from proximity to NRC and University of Alberta nanotechnology researchers and facilities so they can successfully commercialize new applications of nanotechnology.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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