June 10, 2019
On June 6, 2019, the Government of Canada and the European Union (EU) signed an administrative agreement to facilitate trans-Atlantic collaboration between Canadian and European innovation cluster. The agreement seeks to further strengthen ties between Canadian and European clusters, and spark innovation by bringing a diverse group of parties into the same collaborative environment. The agreement was the highlight of the EU-Canada Cluster Matchmaking Event organized by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform, held in Toronto from June 5 – 7. Attendees included 27 EU clusters, and various companies from 16 European countries.
While all Canadian clusters will now have greater access to their EU counterparts, the main focus will be on Canada’s five innovation Superclusters. These groups, who received large federal funding grants in 2018, will hope to form strategic partnerships with businesses in European clusters through this new collaborative program. Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development hopes to position these superclusters to expand operations outside of Canada, stating that “the ultimate goal is to create globally competitive superclusters and that involves looking beyond our borders”.
This agreement was made possible by provisions of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the free trade agreement signed between Canada and the EU in 2016. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, emphasized, “We have an interest to intensify our cooperation in a more strategic and sustainable manner, not the least to fully use the opportunities offered by CETA”.
This opportunity to collaborate more extensively with European clusters demonstrates the support that other leading nations are showing for Canadian innovation and the supercluster program.
Author: Sasha Seeber