Submissions to R&D Review Panel Available
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.
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.
Clearly, I haven’t had the time (or the stomach) to go through them all, but here’s a couple quick highlights/observations:
- There is a submission by the U15 – Canada’s Fifteen Leading Research Universities. I guess the short-lived and much-maligned “G5” group didn’t cut it, so they’ve let more in. Sorry Guelph and UVic! This is the first I’ve heard about the U15 – anyone else?
- The U15 identifies the keys to improving innovation as more education and collaboration with universities. Quelle surprise!
- That didn’t stop members of the U15 from presenting individual submissions, too. Double-dipping?
- 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. Pratt & Whitney would like foreign-controlled companies to qualify for greater SRED credits, including for R&D performed outside Canada (not clear how that boosts Canadian innovation…). And Bombardier reminds the panel that its industry has “unique characteristics” that require governments to make exceptional investments to address their R&D needs. Of course it does.
As Stephen Gordon, Université Laval economics professor and blogger/tweeter extraordinaire, tweeted just hours ago in response to an unrelated subject, “Business groups are pro-BUSINESS, not pro-MARKET. Government’s responsibility is to protect latter, not former.” In this case, the sentiment clearly extends to universities and government agencies, too. I hope (and expect) the Review Panel heeds his warning and reminder.