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Canadian Foundation for Innovation

Dr. Savaria, researcher in the background, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Dr. Strangway, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation looking through the microscope and Ms. Marlene Catterall, MP, Ottawa-West -- Nepean standing at the forefront. The Government of Canada established the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in 1997 as an autonomous corporation to strengthen world-class research and technology development. In short, their policy is innovation.

In coalition with Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and other non-profit research organizations, the CFI promotes research excellence and research training across Canada. The CFI's programs are designed to strengthen Canada’s capacity for innovation, attract highly skilled personnel to research in Canada, strengthen research training of Canada's youth, promote multidisciplinary research and knowledge sharing and utilize Canada’s existing research infrastructure as efficiently as possible.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Manley, prepares a sample for DNA analysis at the University of Ottawa, following the announcement by the Canada Foundation for Innovation to invest $14.6 million to support the development of new research. Currently, in 2003, the CFI is responsible for a budget of $3.65 billion and has participated in over 2,300 projects since its inception. Although the immediate focus of the CFI is Canada's researchers and their research institutions, the investments will affect the broader Canadian population. The CFI's focus is to promote Canada's knowledge economy and the innovation strategy for 2010. According to their website, numerous CFI projects already benefit the Canadian public, including

  • The establishment of the Centre for Growth and Development at the B.C. Research Institute for Children's and Women’s Health
  • The creation of a research centre at the University of Calgary for studying autism, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder
  • The establishment of the Canadian Light Source project at the University of Saskatchewan – a partnership between 19 universities across Canada developing pharmaceutical agents and computer chips
  • Equipment at Dalhousie University for investigating cystic fibrosis at the molecular level

The CFI’s mandate is to transform Canada's economy by the year 2010. They envision Canada as an innovative society where all citizens will enjoy a high quality of life, living in one of the world’s most advanced and successful economies and societies. The CFI has been given a large operating budget by the federal government, but with this large budget comes the responsibility to transform the foundation of the Canada's economy to knowledge-based industries.

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