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Canada’s Innovation Superclusters

Canada’s Innovation Superclusters

Have you heard about the Canadian Government’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative? Launched in May 2017, the Innovation Superclusters Initiative is designed “to strengthen clusters of existing commercial strength, pulling in a range of highly innovative industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as industry-relevant research talent, to create the conditions required to develop a supercluster that reflects Canadian excellence and world-class leadership.”

What is a supercluster? 

The Government of Canada defines clusters as “dense areas of business activity where innovation happens and where many of the middle‑class jobs of today and tomorrow are created. [Clusters] bring together the most talented people, the newest technologies and the fastest‑growing companies to build leading innovation ecosystems, energize the economy, and act as engines of growth.”

What’s this initiative all about? 

The Federal Government will invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years to strengthen up to five of Canada’s most promising clusters and build business-led innovation superclusters at scale. 

These innovation hotbeds will foster stronger connections—from large anchor firms to start‑ups, from post‑secondary institutions to research and government partners—and open the door to new forms of industry partnership. 

How is it relevant to Calgary? 

You may be wondering what all of this “supercluster” talk has to do with Calgary. 

Agrium, a global leader in agricultural products, services and solutions (whose head office just happens to be in Calgary), along with 50 other innovation partners in Alberta has been shortlisted for the “Smart Agri-food Supercluster”. 

The mission statement of this supercluster is to make Canada the preferred global supplier of sustainable, high-quality, safe food. Investing in the Smart Agri-food Supercluster will support the work that’s being done in Alberta to set the province up for success in tomorrow’s agriculture. 

Our province has strengths in crop science, genetics and traceability and we can be globally competitive in this supercluster. A recent Markets and Markets report detailed that Canada is responsible for 7.6% of the global smart agriculture market. Our contribution to global GDP is significantly lower than that, representing less than 3% of the global economy (https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/gdp)

We are certainly punching above our weight class in this industry and it is still growing. Our annualized growth rate is outpacing that of the US in smart agriculture.

Being included in the Supercluster shortlist will help support the Smart Agri-food sector in Alberta (and Calgary) and help create an industry that will prosper long into the future. 

Links to more info: 

Innovation Superclusters Initiative Program Guide: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/093.nsf/eng/00003.html

Shortlist of Applicants: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2017/10/innovation_superclustersinitiativeshortlistofapplicants.html

 


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