Page 1

AUA UK/Canada proposal: McGill University Name:

Vivienne Gray


Higher Education South East Berkeley House, Cross Lanes, London Square, Guildford Surrey, GU1 1UN


01483 500747Email:


An investigation into how to support an emerging regional innovation system at the local level which focuses on the restructuring of a university, Mc Gill in Montreal, via third stream activities which aim to lead to sustained cultural change processes over time. (To include comparisons with current practice in South East England). Background: England: The Regional Development Bill of 1998 explicitly states that one of the functions of the new Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in England is to “promote technology transfer, including maximising the benefits of work of the higher education institutions”. (Regional Development Agencies Bill 1997/98). Since 1998 the DTI and HEFCE have jointly funded business and university schemes to support technology transfer - namely HEROBAC; HEIF and HEIF2. It is very likely that by 2008 this funding stream known as “Third Stream” will become a permanent stream of funding and allocated to HEIs using a formulaic method. In addition to this dedicated national funding stream the English regions are establishing mechanisms and channels for the development of a regional innovation system to support and maximise the technology transfer from the HEIs based in each region. All English Regions have firstly, a Higher Education Regional Association providing a regional focus to business and other regional stakeholders and secondly, a regional Science and Industry Council whose role is to inform the RDA on regional innovation policy. In the case of the South East, some of the key goals of the RDA innovation policy are: 1. To promote stronger HEI-HEI collaboration through dedicated HE networks 2. To support knowledge transfer and knowledge management skills for industry 3. To identify needs of business for research and development and broker relationships with HEIs. 4. To promote innovative management skills In addition the RDAs have recently taken over the contract management of the Business Link network. Business Links are the major providers of business advice to small and medium sized companies. This interaction of university; industry and government is known as the “Triple Helix model”. It is a recent neo-evolutionary model of innovation that stresses the active interactions among university, industry and government for the production, the use and the exchange of knowledge. (SPRU, 2004) In the case of Canada the Triple Helix model framework will be used to gain insight into the knowledge transfer processes at McGill University, Quebec province.

AUA Application: V Gray Page 1 of 7 01/06/2010

Background for innovation in Quebec: Province and federal funding for post secondary education (PSE). Quebec, as a less prosperous province of Canada, has been a consistent recipient of Federal government equalization payments. Indeed Quebec has had structured scientific development policies for more than 25 years. It has a strong science base, which was essential to both its cultural and economic development from the late 1960s. These funds have been channelled into research and have had a direct impact on the development of very specific knowledge transfer processes there.

Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions (the equivalent to the RDA) The Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions has the job of supporting the economic development potential of the regions of Quebec and supporting sustainable jobs by fostering a business climate that enables small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to prosper and grow. The Agency provides an integrated package of support for SMEs from access to financing for start-ups of innovative enterprises to the commercialisation of innovative products, via the adoption of new technology and more productive equipment. This work is implemented via close cooperation with the network of technological advisors of the National Research Council of Canada. Promotion of innovation and development of the knowledge economy have become the Agency’s main area of activity over the past years. The two key programmes relating to innovation and the knowledge economy for 2005 are: 1. Innovation, development entrepreneurship and access programme (IDEA) for SMEs. 2. Regional Strategic Initiatives (RSI) programme. Of the two strategic outcomes identified by the Agency Enterprise development remains the most important in terms of the allocation of financial resources.

McGill University: ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Voted 2nd in Canada for overall income resulting from the commercialisation of research (2001 Association of University Technology Managers) McGill contributes nearly half of the funding that makes Montreal Canada’s university research capital through research grants Graduation highest rate in Canada: 93% One of Canada’s top three universities (Maclean’s) Number 61 in the top 500 universities (THES/Shanghai top 500) Number one in Canada for humanities and social sciences In the top three in Canada for natural sciences, engineering and medical sciences

AUA Application: V Gray Page 2 of 7 01/06/2010

Aims: The aim of the study visit is to understand the processes and mechanisms introduced at the local level (McGill University) and the influence on these from the regional (Quebec) and national (Canada) innovation policies. In particular: 1. The resources devoted to training technology transfer specialists and educating researchers and external partners with respect to the benefits of pursuing the commercial application of university research (spin-offs; research contracts; licensing). 2. How do knowledge transfer (KT) professionals play a role in promoting interactions between government, business and university partners as well as encouraging researchers to disclose their commercially promising innovations? 3. To identify good practices and explore/discuss its potential for being applied in the UK.

Host institution: McGill University – Technology Transfer Office (TTO) The study will look at the following instruments and actions in the context of the process of knowledge transfer training: ∞

Resources dedicated to training and technology transfer specialists; researchers and external partners with respect to the benefits of pursuing the commercial application of university research.

Valorisation Recherche Quebec: TTO was involved in the development of Valorisation Recherche Quebec (VRQ) through inter-institutional agreements. How is it used? What is its purpose?

Processes and policies used to encourage researchers to disclose their commercially promising innovations.

Development of academic programmes that are forward looking and challenging, which emphasise critical thinking and ensure strong application in professional life. For example OTT WETT initiative how far does it link into these programmes.

How does TTO facilitate the creation of spin-offs, consortia, Industrial Chairs and how does it negotiate research contracts sponsored by outside parties as well as activities aimed at building bridges with industry.

How does it foster valuable relationships between the research community and the private sector.

How does the McGill TTO office practice provide exemplars to improve the quality and scope of commercialisation services offered at other Canadian universities?

The impact of the Canadian Technology Network awareness raising sessions on Mc Gill researchers, enhancing networking at the regional level

Networking Committees which allow synergy, sharing of experience and ideas in the context of real sector specific case studies in major sectors

A trainee programme called InterVal which is a mix of on the job training and didactic training for newcomers

AUA Application: V Gray Page 3 of 7 01/06/2010

Main tasks during the visit: Find out about:     

The entrepreneurial “mode” - what tools and practices are required by TTO practitioners Interaction with academic staff. How the TTO office manages this process. Importance of regional variables and context to successful knowledge transfer Importance of national, regional and local policies on innovation. Incentives used for the academic community and the private sector to work together

Methodology: Questionnaires and visits will be used to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the knowledge transfer processes used at McGill University and also within the Quebec Region. A broader assessment will be made by reference to differences that exist in the province of Ontario.

Sources of information: • • • • •

Visits to companies/external partners to see how they work with the University Interviews with key administrators/academics Meetings with policy makers at local and regional level Work based learning Site visits to the other universities in Quebec.

Proposed outcomes: The outputs of this visit would be the following: • Report (approx 8,000 words) • Develop an exchange programme framework under the AURIL CPD regional resource coordinator programme with McGill and UK HEIs • Workshop at the AUA conference on best practice in a local context • Disseminate models of good practice at Autumn 05 meeting of South East Business Development Managers and on AURIL CPD website.

AUA Application: V Gray Page 4 of 7 01/06/2010

Appendix 1: Research undertaken prior to the visit: Libraries visited: 1. Association of Commonwealth Universities 2. British Library Websites consulted: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

McGill University: AUTM Canada: Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada: Canadian Education Statistics Council: Canadian Technology Network: Department of Finance Canada: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Innovation Systems Research Network: Montreal International: www.montrealinternational

AUA Application: V Gray Page 5 of 7 01/06/2010

Appendix 2: Motivation: Training for (KT) professionals, faculty members and external partners is important not only because of the financial and economic rewards that result from successful KT programmes but also because all key stakeholders can gain from an increase in reciprocal interactions that build on complementarities. For example, firstly the university on the one hand may provide basic research and skilled students. On the other hand, it can access competences that allow the full economic exploitation of knowledge-based innovations, which, for its own aims and purposes, it has lacked. Secondly, partnerships with external partners are an important way of enhancing curriculum development; teaching and learning.

AUA Application: V Gray Page 6 of 7 01/06/2010

Appendix 3: CV

AUA Application: V Gray Page 7 of 7 01/06/2010

Montreal (2005 study tour)  

Telephone: 01483 500747Email: This interaction of university; industry and government is known as the “Triple Helix...