As early as the 19th century, specific agencies devoted
to research have supported innovation and invention throughout Alberta and
Canada. These research establishments are essential in the practice of
research and development, a term used to describe activities whose aim is
to gain knowledge. Although this is an incredibly broad definition,
research and development, or more commonly known as "R and D," has become
a fixture in the Canadian economy.
Research and development has been recognized as a major
factor for the rapid economic growth of the 20th century. In developed
countries, such as Canada and the United States, a significant portion of
national resources are devoted to R and D.
The philosophy behind this process is the
transformation of technical knowledge into concrete operational hardware,
or in other words, invention. Research is similar to the inventive process
as it attempts to create new and innovative ideas. Development uses these
innovative ideas to create and improve physical goods or processes.
Although research and development is valued as a source
of technological change, its exact value is difficult to determine. There
is no accurate way to determine the relationship between the amount spent
on research and development and economic growth. However, the worlds
largest economic powers also spend the most on research and development.
The first provincial research council founded in Canada
was the Alberta Research Council in 1921. The Canadian and Alberta
governments both spend millions of dollars each year to support and
promote research councils. Although federal and provincial government
funding declined during the 1990s, a new emphasis on research
establishments has emerged with the
Innovation Strategy of 2002. The major goal of the Innovation Strategy
is to move Canada from 15th to 5th in world research and development by
increasing spending to $49 billion CDN by 2010.
Alberta Venture Magazine Excerpts
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