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Industrial Research and Development

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2006 intentions

Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division (SIEID),
Science and Technology Surveys Section



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Note to users

Innovation is essential to economic progress. Properly applied in developing new products and services, innovation may also conserve resources, preserve the environment, and add to our quality of life. The innovation process involves a number of elements concerned with the generation, dissemination and application of new knowledge: research and development (R&D) to provide new ideas; education and information services to develop the required personnel; and design, engineering and marketing services to incorporate the new ideas into the production and distribution systems.

R&D statistics, therefore, measure only part of the effort necessary for innovation. However, R&D is at the heart of the innovation process.

While R&D is also carried out by other sectors, such as governments and universities, industrial R&D is most clearly linked to technological innovation and, hence, economic growth. Canada does not, of course, rely only on domestic R&D for new ideas and innovation. A great deal of information comes from abroad in the form of information embodied in new machinery and equipment, in the minds of scientists and engineers, in scientific and technical journals, and in designs, drawings, tooling and manufacturing specifications. Some data are presented on the acquisition of R&D from abroad, but much of the flow of technological information cannot be measured.

In many ways it is more efficient to acquire the results of R&D performed by others since the cost of securing such information is usually less than the cost of duplicating it. However, some indigenous R&D is necessary not only to ensure that new inventions are appropriate to Canadian industry and market conditions, but also to ensure that foreign R&D can be properly assimilated, i.e., understood and adapted. It also provides Canadian firms with a better bargaining position for exchanges of technological information. Domestic performance of R&D is, therefore, necessary even if we wish only to be effective imitators and adapters.

Statistics Canada has collected data on R&D in Canadian industry for more than 50 years. Maintaining the continuity and comparability of these data over time is of considerable importance. This publication, the twentieth issue of an annual series, summarizes industrial R&D activities in Canada. It presents historical and current statistical information on industrial research and development activities for the years 1985 to 2006. Actual data for 2004 expenditures, 2005 preliminary estimates, and 2006 spending intentions are derived from the survey “Research and Development in Canadian Industry” conducted in 2005.

We are grateful to the responding firms who cooperated in this survey. We realize that the data requested are generally not readily available and require considerable effort to prepare. Any suggestions from these firms, or other users, for modifications to either the questionnaire or publication will be carefully considered.

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