FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $11.4 million this year through the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation to support research and development at post-secondary institutions and research institutes, and to help retain and attract graduate students to the province. The investment represents a 70 per cent budget increase for the foundation over the previous fiscal year.

“Innovation is an important part of your government’s multi-year economic growth plan. Increasing R&D is a pillar of our new five-year innovation agenda,” said Premier Brian Gallant, who is also minister responsible for innovation. “Boosting the capacity of our post-secondary institutions and research institutions through strategic investments will ensure that our province is ready to seize opportunities and innovate as we work to make New Brunswick the smart province.”

The investment will help the foundation deliver the following programs:

  • Research Innovation Fund;
  • graduate student scholarships;
  • Research Assistantship Initiative; and
  • Research Technician Initiative.

Previously, the Research Technician Initiative was a biennial program. With the increased investment, the foundation intends to offer this program every year.

“This boost in investment is incredibly welcomed and promising,” said Calvin Milbury, CEO and president of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. “Research does the often-unseen legwork required before any innovative product or service can be launched. These funds are critical for the recruitment and retention of the brightest minds in Canada and will help us build the capacity to do world-class research.”

In 2017-18, 32 researchers received investments, 182 graduate students received scholarships, researchers received funding for 112 research assistants, and six full-time research technicians were employed through these programs.

“Research Assistantship Initiative funding afforded me the opportunity to stay in New Brunswick to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering,” said Katie Wilson, a former student of the University of New Brunswick. “Because of that, I got a job here as a project officer at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. The funding allowed me to do research in an area I am passionate about, myoelectric prostheses, and I was able to see the real-life impacts that my research was having on the amputees that came into the clinic.”

The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation is an independent non-profit corporation that specializes in venture capital and research investments. Dedicated to building innovation in the province, it works to deliver the resources and expertise required to achieve new opportunities, growth, and advancements in New Brunswick.

With over $85 million invested, plus $425 million more leveraged from other sources, the foundation has helped to create over 106 companies and fund 470 applied research projects since its inception in 2003. All of the investment returns go back into the foundation to be re-invested in other startups and research initiatives.

New Brunswick’s multi-year innovation agenda fosters innovation and boosts research and development in the province. The government will invest over $53.5 million in 2018-19 to support innovation by encouraging innovators, boosting research and development, supporting the development of entrepreneurs, fostering innovation spaces, leading the cybersecurity agenda and being innovative in the way the government conducts business.

Innovation Week takes place in New Brunswick from April 29 to May 5, with events and activities to celebrate the culture of innovation in the province. More information is available online.