On Thursday, June 25, 2015, the Public Policy Forum convened more than 120 delegates in Toronto at the MaRS Discovery District. Delegates traveled to Toronto from Ireland, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, France and most Canadian provinces and territories. The symposium was designed to increase awareness of opportunities for innovation and collaboration between Canada and Europe, to explore areas of strength, and to identify prospects for future collaboration in academia and the private sector through the mechanisms available under Horizon 2020.

The day was organized into three components. The first component consisted of two panel discussions. The first panel discussion, Celebrating successes, examined areas where Canada and Europe have and are achieving successful collaborations in academia, the private sector and through public sector negotiations. Kurtis McBride of MIOVision and Lizbeth Goodman of the University College of Dublin, Ireland each spoke to their respective transatlantic collaboration experiences. Phil Turi, of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, and representative for the Enterprise Canada Network, provided information about services available to Canadians firms wishing to conduct business in Europe.

The second panel, Leading edge of incubation, discussed the respective strengths of Canadian and German incubators and accelerators to fuel ideas and turn them into enterprises. Laura Kohler, CEO of the European Innovation Hub in Germany, Jenni Salonga, Manager of the Business Incubation Research Park in Edmonton and Ben Zlotnick, Founder and CEO of INCubes Accelerator in Toronto each spoke to their experiences in this industry, and the potential for increased collaboration between Canada and Europe in this area. This panel was complimented by tours that took place of Waterloo-based incubators on June 24 and Toronto-area incubators on June 26.

The third part of the day featured four roundtable discussions, one on each of the four following topics:

  • New models of financing innovation: facilitated by Kevin Fitzgibbons, Acting Associate Vice-President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Big and open data partnerships: facilitated by Kevin Tuer, Managing Director at Open Data Exchange, Communitech (Canada) and Pierre Simay, International Research Cooperation Manager, Institut Mines-Télécom (France)
  • International incubator collaboration: facilitated by Joe Greaney, Director, Westbic (Ireland), Carol Stewart, Manager, David Johnston Research and Technology Park (Canada); and,
  • Talent for the innovation economy: facilitated by Val Walker of Mitacs (Canada).

Each round table engaged a few dozen people in forward-thinking, action-oriented discussions about trends in these areas and sought to identify programmatic or policy oriented next steps for consideration by the ERA-Can+ advisory committee.

Host partners:

  • MaRS Discovery District
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