Vouchers hook businesses up with academics

Jacob Serebrin, Jul 16, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm not really sure what to make of this program. Basically the idea is that companies apply for research 'vouchers', which when granted hen give them access to research support. For example, "Colleges apply to be providers of the program, while businesses apply separately and the two are connected by OCE. College students then act as 'consultants' to the business." NRC researchers aren't part of the program (IRAP is) but I don't see why they wouldn't be, in the future. And while I don't see any way for citizens or citizens' groups or NGOs to apply (and we probably won't for now) I can see how this would be widened to allow such research to be conducted in the public interest. The program could work to ensure research is conducted in the public interest, but its selection mechanism has to extend beyond mere commercialization of research, and instead reflect the needs and interests of all Canadians.

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