15 Mar Innovation in Canada—from Aerospace to Nanofab
As part of an ambitious plan to ‘grow an innovation economy’ in Canada, the Canadian government has laid out an extensive network of plans to boost the countries science, research and technological developments. Here are just some of the areas where Canadian innovation is having a big impact.
The aerospace industry employs over 89,000 skilled workers in Canada, with 93% of aerospace manufacturers involved in exports. One area that has been a particular target for investment and development has been sustainable aviation fuels.
With demand for air travel continuing to grow, sustainable aviation fuels help to mitigate the potential environmental impact of such journeys. Some examples of innovation in Canada in this area include finding new fuel blends that substantially reduce the particulate matter produced when burnt and reduction in the amounts of harmful chemicals such as sulfur.
2D materials are nanoscale materials in only one of their three dimensions so they resemble thin sheets of paper. However, this gives them a series of remarkable electronic and optical properties and they are thought to be the key to developing highly efficient hydrogen fuel cells as well as many other technologies.
Several universities and their start-ups, including the University of Waterloo, have benefitted from national energy funding and other start-up pitches to develop novel 2D materials for such applications.
Canada has long been a world-leader in biotechnology and this sector employs over 485,000 people in Ontario alone. One of the routes for fostering future innovation in this area has been through BIOTECanada, a national industry association with over 200 members that works with policymakers and investors to develop scientific and entrepreneurial talent for innovation in Canada.
A similar, network-based approach is being used for innovation in Canadian clean technologies through the CanadaCleantech Alliance.7 Much of the focus of Canadian clean tech innovation has been on the areas of sustainable resource collection, carbon capture utilization and storage and energy storage solutions. All of this has benefitted from the $2 billion invested in the low carbon economy fund and a total investment of over $800 million in sustainable development and clean technology funds.8
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) and wirelessly connected devices has been an area of great international interest with the development of more and more smart devices. Bringing together many of the leading IoT companies in Canada, IoTA CAN is accelerating innovation in Canada’s IoT scene by acting as a single-point-of-presence for IoT resources and networking and funding opportunities.
Nanofabrication is about producing structures smaller than a micrometer in size. While this represents a significant manufacturing challenge, such devices have a wealth of applications such as acting as nanomachines for drug delivery and providing architectures for information technology.
Drawing on a strong base of nanoscience expertise, innovation in nanomanufacturing is one of the areas that has been targeted through the Canadian governments Strategic Innovation fund. As well as numerous world-leading companies, this funding has also been used to support Canadian innovations through the National Research Council’s Nanotechnology Research Center.
Overall, thanks to its workforce and recent investment, Canadian innovation has been highly successful in many different sectors.
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