Canada’s innovation consultation

The official title for the Canadian government public consultation which ended Feb. 18, 2011 is Review of Federal Support to Research and Development. I had some issues with this consultation as I noted at length in my Feb. 18, 2011 posting and contrary to what I stated at the time (I reasoned that no one would pay much attention to what I had to say as it didn’t fit the terms of reference) but on reflection I decided to make the submission anyway, which is now posted on the government’s website here. My largest bone of contention with this process is the way the discussion is framed, i.e., the terms of reference for the consultation and that’s basically what I tried to say in the submission.

Meanwhile, some 250 others also made submissions and according to Rob Annan at the Researcher Forum; Don’t leave Canada behind blog (excerpted from his March 9, 2011 posting),

Just… wow.

Earlier this year, the R&D Review Panel issued a call for submissions from interested parties regarding government support for business- and industry-related R&D. Today the submission papers have been made public.

What a treasure trove of special pleading. [emphasis mine]

There are more than 250 submissions from industry, academia and government. I sympathize with Tom Jenkins and his fellow panelists who will have to sift through these not-even-thinly-veiled self-interested calls for support.

Major industry players have made submissions, including JD Irving, Pratt & Whitney, and Bombardier. These international industry leaders will no doubt be able to provide a global sense of how to nurture innovation and strengthen our economy. What are their suggestions? Well, Irving would like rules to be changed so it can get IRAP funding and access collaborative R&D grants without university collaboration. [emphasis mine]

I left a few juicy bits behind but I think you get the idea. At least some of this was suggested/predicted by Nassif Ghoussoub on his Piece of Mind blog in a Jan. 14, 2011 posting,

Do you really think that anyone of the heads/directors/presidents (the shopkeepers!) of these programs (the shops!) are going to testify that their programs are deficient and need less funding? What about those individuals that are getting serious funding from these programs (the clients!)?

No, a lot of these people asked for more. (I’m hoping at least a few people tried to address the spirit of the consultation which is why I said “a lot of these people” instead of the all encompassing “these people.)

As far as I’m concerned changing the rules of the game so the players stop gaming the system will last about as long as it takes for the players to figure how to game the new system. We need to look at the game and ask ourselves if we need to change it.

Bravo to the team who posted these submissions online and opened access to the rest of us.

1 thought on “Canada’s innovation consultation

  1. Pingback: Canada’s Open Data Pilot Project « FrogHeart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *