Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I think Alex Usher is generally on the mark with this assessment of the Business Council of Canada (BCC) recommendation that Canada create "a demand-side, mission-driven approach to innovation policy, setting clear national goals to translate scientific strengths into economic performance." This is very much what was tried under the Harper administration, including a reworking of the NRC into something resembling Germany's Fraunhofer. As Usher says, the evidence that this approach (in Canada at least) produced much of anything is, well, lacking. What it definitely did not create is business investment or innovation, and so the BCC's recommendation sounds like "a group ask for more government money in more government programs to solve a problem caused by their own inaction." What Usher does suggest - "a wholesale revamping of the nation's graduate programs to orient them more towards industry" - is intriguing. Not that I endorse this solution specifically, but it does seem pointless to prepare so many people for academic jobs that simply don't exist, and never will.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Nov 28, 2023 12:16 p.m.

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