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Report finds Canada’s industrial R&D strengths

Despite a historically poor performance in industrial R&D Canada excels in several areas, according to a report from the Council of Canadian Academies.

The country’s strengths lie in four areas: aerospace, information and communication technologies, oil and gas extraction and pharmaceuticals. The report also found that industrial R&D is relatively personnel intensive in Canada and less capital intensive than in comparison countries. The R&D is also dominated by many small companies rather than a few large ones.

“Industrial R&D has been a source of perennial concern for Canadian policymakers as it is an important contributor to the innovation process,” said Kathleen Sendall, director of Enmax Corporation and chairwoman of the panel that wrote the report. Some of the report’s conclusions showed why the panel was right to be concerned. Spending on R&D by Canadian industry expressed as a percentage of GDP is about half that in the United States and falling.

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