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Where Are the Scientists and Engineers?

Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division (SIEID)

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The science and innovation information program

The purpose of this program is to develop useful indicators of science and technology activity in Canada based on a framework that ties them together into a coherent picture. To achieve the purpose, statistical indicators are being developed in five key entities:

  • Actors: are persons and institutions engaged in S&T activities. Measures include distinguishing R&D performers, identifying universities that license their technologies, and determining the field of study of graduates.
  • Activities: include the creation, transmission or use of S&T knowledge including research and development, innovation, and use of technologies.
  • Linkages: are the means by which S&T knowledge is transferred among actors. Measures include the flow of graduates to industries, the licensing of a university's technology to a company, co-authorship of scientific papers, the source of ideas for innovation in industry.
  • Outcomes: are the medium-term consequences of activities. An outcome of an innovation in a firm may be more highly skilled jobs. An outcome of a firm adopting a new technology may be a greater market share for that firm.
  • Impacts: are the longer-term consequences of activities, linkages and outcomes. Wireless telephony is the result of many activities, linkages and outcomes. It has wide-ranging economic and social impacts such as increased connectedness.

The development of these indicators and their further elaboration is being done at Statistics Canada, in collaboration with other government departments and agencies, and a network of contractors.

Prior to the start of this work, the ongoing measurements of S&T activities were limited to the investment of money and human resources in research and development (R&D). For governments, there were also measures of related scientific activity (RSA) such as surveys and routine testing. These measures presented a limited picture of science and technology in Canada. More measures were needed to improve the picture.

Innovation makes firms competitive and we are continuing with our efforts to understand the characteristics of innovative and non-innovative firms, especially in the service sector that dominates the Canadian Economy. The capacity to innovate resides in people and measures are being developed of the characteristics of people in those industries that lead science and technology activity. In these same industries, measures are being made of the creation and the loss of jobs as part of understanding the impact of technological change.

The federal government is a principal player in science and technology in which it invests over five billion dollars each year. In the past, it has been possible to say only how much the federal government spends and where it spends it. Our report Federal Scientific Activities, 1998 (Cat. No. 88‑204) first published socio-economic objectives indicators to show what the S&T money is spent on. As well as offering a basis for a public debate on the priorities of government spending, all of this information has been used to provide a context for performance reports of individual departments and agencies.

As of April 1999, the Program has been established as a part of Statistics Canada's Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division.
The final version of the framework that guides the future elaboration of indicators was published in December, 1998 (Science and Technology Activities and Impacts: A Framework for a Statistical Information System, Cat. No. 88-522). The framework has given rise to A Five-Year Strategic Plan for the Development of an Information System for Science and Technology (Cat. No. 88-523).

It is now possible to report on the Canadian system on science and technology and show the role of the federal government in that system.

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Date modified: 2007-04-16 Important Notices
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