Technology & Science

Canada risks lagging behind other countries in R&D: report

Canada's global competitiveness and technical innovation are at risk if the federal government doesn't boost its investment in research and development, according to a report released on Thursday.

Canada's global competitiveness and technical innovation are at risk if the federal government doesn't boost its investment in research and development, according to a report released on Thursday.

While the Toronto area is positioned to be a world leader due to its combination of globally recognized technology organizations and a high concentration of research expertise, it lags innovation hotspots such as Boston, according to the new study by the Toronto Region Research Alliance (TRRA).

A worldwide trend toward federal governments sharply increasing research and development spending has not been joined by Canada, where already low funding faces further uncertainty, says the report, titled At a Crossroads: Strengthening the Toronto Region's Research and Innovation Economy.

The future of federal research programs such as the Canada Foundation of Innovation, Genome Canada and the national high-speed CANARIE research network are all in question, according to the study.

"The global economy is increasingly driven by knowledge and innovation and there is a limited window of opportunity for competitive R&D venues like the Toronto region to establish themselves in the top tier," Ross McGregor, the president and CEO of the TRRA, said in a statement.

"We're hopeful that the federal government will act quickly to roll out its national plan for research, innovation and future competitiveness, or we could be left behind. We are already receiving warning signs that Canada is slipping," he said.

The TRRA is a non-profit organization of research, development, business and government leaders drawn from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Hamilton, Guelph and Waterloo regions. It aims to transform the GTA into a global research hotspot.

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