Eves government launches Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program

Archived Release

Eves government launches Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program

TORONTO, March 17 /CNW/ - The Ernie Eves government is calling for regional biotech partnerships to submit proposals for funding to develop strategic plans that will help build Ontario's biotechnology capacity.
The request for plans is the first, $2-million phase of the $30-million Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program (BCIP). The second, $28-million phase focuses on implementing the plans to support biotechnology infrastructure projects, such as commercialization centres, research parks and other regional initiatives that demonstrate entrepreneurship and innovation.
"This program has a number of positive benefits for the people of Ontario," said Minister of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation Jim Flaherty. "The BCIP provides significant economic advantages by creating highly skilled jobs and increased investment in innovation infrastructure. Most importantly, it will improve quality of life for all Ontarians by developing new scientific discoveries and value-added bio-products that help prevent diseases and clean up the environment."
The BCIP's overall strategy is to accelerate the development of Ontario's biotechnology clusters by supporting commercialization infrastructure projects that will help create new companies. The program will also fund projects that integrate biotechnologies into knowledge-based and traditional industry sectors such as photonics, information technology, automotive, chemicals, agriculture and forestry.
"Biotechnology is at the frontier of knowledge and job creation, and plays an important role in creating an innovative culture," said Flaherty. "This government's biotechnology strategy will make Ontario one of the most competitive jurisdictions in North America. Merging biotechnology with traditional industry sectors could provide a significant contribution to the economic growth of the province."
Regionally based partnerships are invited to participate in the first phase of the BCIP. These may be comprised of: industry, entrepreneurs, municipalities, universities and other research institutions, researchers, colleges, venture capital firms and investors, federal government agencies and school boards.
The government will be accepting Expressions of Interest until April 8, 2003. For more information on the BCIP and how to participate, please email: BCIP@eoi.gov.on.ca.

Supporting Statements:

Robert E. Wade, Mayor of the City of Hamilton

"The Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program aligns perfectly with our city's economic development strategy to advance the commercialization of research excellence in this area. With a top-notch advisory group from McMaster University, research centres, local hospitals, the city and industry, Hamilton is well-prepared to respond to this call for proposals."

Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, Vice-President of Research & International Affairs
for McMaster University - Hamilton

"Ontario has some of the best biotech researchers in the world. Programs like this will allow research intensive universities like McMaster to work in partnership with other stakeholders to capitalize on our research capabilities, transfer our technologies and create high-value jobs for our graduates."

Gord Surgeoner, President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies - Guelph

"I am very encouraged by the scope of the Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program. It recognizes that Ontario's Biotechnology sector is not only biomedical but includes bioproducts -- plastics and fuels derived from Ontario grown commodities. Through the use of biotechnology and related technologies, Ontario has the opportunity to be the leading biobased manufacturing jurisdiction in North America."

Ken Lawless, Executive Director, Ottawa Life Sciences Council

"This initiative will align regional, provincial and industry strategies to move Ontario into a leadership position in the development and, more importantly, the commercialization of new technologies in the health and biomanufacturing fields."

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For more information visit: www.ontariocanada.com.
For further information: Dan Robertson, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8321