Making innovation work in rural Canada
Attempts to build a new economy centred on scientific and technological innovation have failed in rural areas of Canada because they lack highly qualified workers, access to research, and the resources to commercialize discoveries.
Since such opportunities are clustered in metropolitan areas, a major innovation divide has opened up in Canada that is growing by the year. The current approach to building innovation around universities and existing concentrations of industry is not serving rural areas, leaving them confined to traditional resource-based economies.
Dr. Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, is examining barriers to innovation-based investment, skills training and entrepreneurship in non-metropolitan areas. He is working with Aboriginal and business groups, northern and rural communities, and provincial and federal governments to develop policies and identify opportunities and best practices that can be applied in Canada.
Coates will develop new approaches to applying technology and innovation for business development and regional economic planning. He will also connect companies and communities to create jobs and wealth-building opportunities.
By doing so, Coates’ research will help rural Canadians bridge the innovation divide and reap the benefits of the innovation economy.