is indispensible, he noted. It is important to get members of the supply chain and community around the table on an ongoing basis. Technology roadmaps are important to accomplishing that.
The Council sees several big opportunities to serve as a catalyst. One is by promoting domestic integration. For example, a cluster is developing in Vancouver around fuel cells that can be linked with the automotive cluster in Ontario. The challenge for the Canadian NRC is to “bring the knowledge, expertise, and skills in Vancouver to bear on the Ontario situation,” Mr. James said. “That is just one example of many. Domestic integration can be an absolute game-changer.”
Canada’s NRC also is trying to build on the concept of international twin cities. Ottawa, for example, has been twinned with Amsterdam for many, many years. In this same vein, there could be an opportunity, for example, for the Vancouver cluster to twin with a Shanghai cluster. The goal is to get clusters linked “scientifically, technically, culturally, and as well as from a business standpoint in a sustainable manner,” he said. Such bridges could give clusters access to international markets, which is very important for Canada.
Mr. James said the term “clusters” remains problematic when it comes to persuading legislators to back an initiative. Many people in economic development have different ideas of what the term means. Therefore, the Council is considering different tag lines that better convey results, such as “centers of technology advantage,” he said. Such a term “would give a bit more of a reason for the existence of these things and gives groups and parties a real reason to come on board with a better understanding of why they are there.”
A national advisory body called the Science, Technology, and Innovation Council of Canada is now assessing cluster initiatives over the past decade, Mr. James noted.72 That body will suggest government policies for the next 8 or 10 years.
Dr. Good thanked Mr. James and added her own observations of the day’s proceedings. She said she is “extremely optimistic about the activity that seems to be going on.” The message of government representatives seemed to be that instead of just discussing and planning, agencies actually are starting to act. “We can plan the rest of our lives and do nothing, so it’s important just to go out and do things,” she said.
Dr. Good noted that a meeting the previous day attended by Secretary of Commerce Locke discussed the role of universities in economic development. “It really was an extraordinary exchange,” she said. “We expect a lot out of universities these days, and they are some of the real jewels that the United States owns” and where it still enjoys leadership. “They will have to help with job creation and many of the issues we are discussing,” she said.
Some university cultures oppose that direction because faculty is not rewarded