Province commits to innovation
The provincial government revealed its new innovation strategy this past year. Through Innovation Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for Prosperity, the provincial government has earmarked $20 million over the next four years for programs that will help turn innovative ideas into reality.
Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), called the blueprint an important document that connects the province's and the university's goals to grow research and to create a more knowledge-based economy.
"This strategy recognizes the critical connection between education and innovation," he said. "A highly educated populace and a thriving R&D sector are indispensable factors in transforming and diversifying the economy of this province. The new innovation strategy also strengthens our efforts to attract further investments in research in areas of strategic importance."
Key sectors identified in the strategy include ocean technology, life sciences, environmental industries, ICT and others.
The government's recent White Paper on Public Post-secondary Education committed almost $90 million over three years to strengthen the base of the province's post-secondary education system and to support our capacity for innovation. Of the $90 million committed in the white paper, $22.5 million is for an expanded Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF). As part of this commitment and in strong support of the innovation strategy, government will provide $7.5 million for IRIF for 2006-07. This builds on the $5 million already delivered in 2005-06 and the additional $6 million earmarked for 2007-08. IRIF supports research and development investments in targeted, high-growth clusters offering significant long-term economic development potential in such areas as advanced manufacturing, marine technology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, value-added natural resources, and the oil and gas industry.