ENGAGE: Competing in a digital world – the stars are aligning

Nizar Left LeaningCanada has an innovation agenda.

That’s the word from Ottawa this month – that our Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, has a vision to “build Canada as a global centre of innovation.”

It’s welcome news. And, from my point of view, the timing of a renewed federal commitment to “global science excellence” and to “competing in a global world” couldn’t be better.

The announcement came just days after Compute Ontario’s Board of Directors meeting, where I presented the findings of my 90-day plan. At the meeting, our extraordinarily receptive and action-oriented Board committed to two major undertakings that will help strengthen the sector we serve.

Compute Ontario’s first commitment is to undertake a Data Access and Management study. In an earlier post, I noted that after my extensive conversations with the community, we became acutely aware that many researchers in this province simply don’t have access to advanced computing.

Most often, the barrier is financial. But even when access can be secured, researchers don’t always know how to make the most effective use of these powerful – and ever-changing – tools. Compute Ontario’s study will help clarify barriers to access and usage. And make recommendations about how to improve both.

For instance, might a set of “generally accepted practices” be developed to optimize access and usage? And might such practices be flexible enough to evolve as the technology does? At this stage, we believe that such guidelines would be useful.

What about the second major commitment made by the Board? I’ll share that on Canada Day – because, in addition to being critical to the “innovation agenda,” it is a point of pride for all Canadians. So, watch for The Stars are Aligning, Part Two on July 1st.

The bottom line is that the powers that be – whether the Canadian government or our own Board – are prepared to move heaven and Earth to support this sector.

Until Canada Day,

Nizar Ladak

Editor’s Note: Read Part 2, Retaining skilled Canadians >