Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Navdeep Bains announced the winners of the $950 million Innovation Supercluster Initiative on Thursday morning.
There were nine consortia of businesses, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations competing to carve out a sizeable chunk of funding from the federal government. That shortlist was announced last October, and now the Liberal government is sharing exactly where it’s going to be placing its bets towards its goal of generating innovation-powered economic activity across the country. The Liberals went with a regional approach in selecting five winners, with each individual supercluster representing a different distinct geographic area of the country. Each of the five winning superclusters will receive between $150 million and $250 million, according to the Minister.
The winners announced today are supercluster groups representing a Quebec-based AI-powered supply chain (Scale.ai), an Atlantic-region emerging technology for oceans group, an Ontario-based advanced manufacturing group, a protein industries bid in the Prairies, and a B.C.-based digital technology group.
Next Canada CEO Sheldon Levy, whose Toronto-based incubator will be participating in the AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster, said that he was pleased to be among the chosen five, but also admitted that he would have been surprised if none of the clusters had utilized artificial intelligence given Canada’s leadership position in the sector.
“Our research strength is probably second or third in the world… so I think it was a bit of an obvious pick,” Levy said. “Nevertheless, obvious doesn’t make it a winner… and I’ll bet you the ones that didn’t make it were first-rate as well. I’m sure it was a tough decision.”