OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug 30, 2013) - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today wrapped up a three-day trip to New Brunswick, his first since his appointment to Cabinet last month. During his visit, he hosted several round tables of academic leaders and met with members of the business community to discuss current issues in science and innovation.
"Science, technology and innovation are important drivers of economic progress and key to enhancing prosperity and competitiveness," said Minister of State Rickford. "I witnessed first-hand the synergy and partnerships that exist between the colleges and universities and the private sector in New Brunswick. This clearly demonstrated that countries that excel in the global economy are those that compete on intellectual strength and technology, attracting highly skilled talent and companies that translate ideas into economic advantages."
One of the stops on his trip was a tour of the Technology and Health Sciences Centre at the Université de Moncton, which opened in 2011 and received a government investment through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The new state-of-the-art research and training labs have enabled the university to expand its engineering, nutrition and nursing programs. This has helped to increase collaboration between the university and businesses.
While at the university, the Minister of State met with several researchers, including Dr. Alain Haché, Canada Research Chair in Photonics, who is also the author of The Physics of Hockey, a popular science book on ice hockey; and Dr. Alain Simard, a professor of biochemistry who is researching ways to arrest or cure neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's.
In other meetings during his trip, the Minister of State took the opportunity to discuss the benefits of the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), which is providing support to businesses in the area. Moncton's Apex Industries Inc., a family-owned manufacturing company, and Fredericton's Atlantic Hydrogen Inc., a sustainable energy company, are two businesses in the region that are benefiting from IRAP support. As Canada's premier innovation assistance program for small businesses, IRAP is a vital component of Canada's innovation system and is regarded worldwide as one of the best programs of its kind.