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Canada lagging in science and technology innovation: report


08:23, May 22, 2013

OTTAWA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Canada continues to tread water as a mid-level performer in science and technology innovation, according to an official report released here Tuesday.

The third public report by Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation Council, which reports to the federal industry minister, noted that Canada continues to lag in private-sector investment in innovation and in transferring knowledge to the marketplace.

"Canadian business investment in research and development has continuously declined over the past decade," said council member Sophie Forest, managing partner of Brightspark Ventures - a Canadian venture-capital firm for early-stage software companies.

"In 2011, Canada ranked 25th out of 41 economies," said the report.

The State of the Nation 2012 report, entitled Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation System: Aspiring to Global Leadership, identifies several areas where Canada must improve its performance - "in some cases significantly."

Although 51 percent of Canadian adults are university or college-educated - one of the highest levels in the world - Canada must produce more graduates at the doctoral level, says the report.

In 2010, Canada ranked 15th among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the number of science and engineering doctoral degrees granted per 100,000 of the population.

That placement positioned Canada at about 64 percent of the threshold the country has to attain to break into the ranks of the top five performing countries in this area.

Meanwhile, Canada's performance in deploying talent in the science and technology sector "continues to disappoint," according to the science council.

In 2008 - the latest year for which internationally comparable data is available - Canada's so-called human resources in science and technology, or HRST, share of the services labor force was about 39 percent, putting Canada in the middle ranks among OECD countries.

Canada's HRST share of the manufacturing labor force was 11.5 percent, or among the lowest in the OECD.

The report also said that Canada must do better at transferring knowledge into the marketplace, with recent data showing " stagnation" in Canadian licensing activities.

In comparison, "U.S. institutions are generally more successful than Canadian ones at creating licenses, keeping them active and earning income from them," it said.

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