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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2010

NSERC grants welcomed

The members of the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science do not believe the position of CAUT on the issue of the new industry/university grants programs announced by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in November is one shared by a majority of faculty members in Canadian engineering schools (re. NSERC Slammed over New Programs, CAUT Bulletin, Dec­ember 2009).

It is common knowledge that Canada lags behind most other developed countries in private sector investments in R&D and that small and medium Canadian companies often lack the expertise and/or resources required to innovate at the global level. It is also important to note that closer collaborations between university researchers and industry typically exist in countries that outperform Canada in the area of innovation (e.g., Germany, Japan, USA).

In our opinion, the newly-announced NSERC Interaction and Engage grants should make it easier for Canadian university researchers and industry to connect and collaborate on projects and initiatives of mutual interest. These programs constitute a welcome addition to the existing portfolio of university/indu­stry partnership programs such as fellowships and scholarships, design and industrial research chairs, collaborative R&D and strategic grants available to our researchers and to their industrial partners.

One must take into account that the budget allocated to the Interaction and Engage grants programs represents only 0.25 per cent of NSERC’s total budget of more than $1 billion. In addition, NSERC remains committed to maintaining a healthy equilibrium between the discovery, innovation and people components of its program portfolio, which currently account for 38, 29, and 28 per cent respectively of NSERC’s total budget.

Innovation is the key to Canada’s prosperity. Productive relationships between universities and industry are necessary for Canada it to reach its full potential. We congratulate NSERC for its foresight and leadership in developing new programs and tools that will make this a reality.

Claude Laguë
Dean of Engineering
University of Ottawa

Elizabeth Cannon
Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering
University of Calgary

J. Allen Stewart
Vice-President (Academic) &
Dean of Engineering
Royal Military College of Canada

David Coleman
Dean of Engineering
University of New Brunswick

Cristina Amon
Dean of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

Graham T. Reader
Dean of Engineering
University of Windsor

Anthony Vannelli
Dean of Physical & Engineering Science
University of Guelph

Claude Laguë, Elizabeth Cannon, J. Allen Stewart, David Coleman, Cristina Amon, Graham
T. Reader and Anthony Vannelli are the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied
Science executive committee members.

Letters to the Editor
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