Canada-India Round-Table Discussion on Innovation (Bangalore, India)
Bangalore, India, Thursday, February 27, 2014
It is wonderful to join you here for this discussion on innovation. What better place to hold this dialogue than Bangalore, the IT capital of India, and one of the global hubs of technological innovation.
We have come together to discuss strengthening the bonds between people, businesses, governments and organizations. We have here a great opportunity to create an inclusive atmosphere that can lead to innovative solutions to improve the lives of both our peoples.
Both our countries are experiencing remarkable growth in our relationship, particularly in areas of innovation, science and technology.
The Canada-India Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, signed in 2007, is one of the great cornerstones of our innovation bond. Since that time, we have been collaborating in many fields, such as health, environment, transportation, and information and communication technologies.
And in new and emerging scientific fields, the possibilities for collaboration are great and growing. I speak on this subject with some degree of experience.
As many of you know, I was a university educator and administrator for much of my life. It was as president of the University of Waterloo that I was here in the past—three times in the past decade, in fact. I also served on the Canada-India Science and Technology Cooperation Committee, a great example of two countries exchanging ideas and knowledge across borders.
Canada and India have a shared interest in fostering innovation, which can drive productivity, economic growth and development, and an improved global competitiveness.
That we are able to build strong and smart partnerships speaks to the friendship between our nations and the common goals that we share.
And there is no better partner in this endeavour than Canada. There is so much we have to offer that can be mutually beneficial. For example, I know that various levels of government in India are trying to address the challenges of clean water, air quality, health care and public transportation.
All of these are areas in which Canada has a strong record.
Indeed, we are already working together to solve many important issues. For example, consider the work being done by Grand Challenges Canada, which funds innovators around the world to find sustainable, long-term solutions to health issues through integrated innovation.
To date, Grand Challenges Canada has funded 78 projects in India for a total investment of $15.4 million. These innovations aim to solve critical global health challenges, including women and children’s health, global mental health, point-of-care diagnostics, and innovator-defined challenges.
In other words, Canada is an excellent partner of choice in innovation, science and technology.
And for Canada, India is an ideal and natural choice for collaboration.
That is why I am interested to hear directly from you. The strength of our bonds, after all, is in our people-to-people ties. From the more than 1.2 million Canadians with origins in India, to the more than 400 co-operation agreements signed between Canadian and Indian institutions, to this discussion here today, there are so many ways our two peoples are working in concert.
Together, we can encourage even more innovation and better support our budding entrepreneurs.
Let us see how we can build on our already strong ties in innovation to build stronger countries where all our peoples can succeed.