The federal government has announced a short list of nine so-called supercluster proposals that could qualify for a piece of a $950-million federal fund the government hopes will boost the economy and job creation.
The finalists come from different regions of the country and Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said the proposals focus on fast-growing areas like artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and clean technology.
"This is really about our government's focus on building the economy of the future," Bains said in an interview.
"The decision is going to be based on the best proposals – this is about a full-blown competition."
Here's a look at the shortlist of sites of the more than 50 proposals. Up to five will be selected for funding.
The Oceans Supercluster (Atlantic Region): Maximize the economic potential and sustainable development of Canada's ocean economy. Address shared innovation needs by investing in digital ocean technologies for industries such as aquaculture, capture fishery, offshore oil and gas, and clean energy to improve productivity and global competitiveness.
The proposal is backed by Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador – one of over 25 firms, including Emera Inc., Clearwater, Aspin Kemp & Associates, radient360 and Dalhousie University.
The "AI-powered Supply Chains" Supercluster (Quebec): Define a new global supply chain platform and bolster Canadian leadership in AI and data science. Empower Canada as a leading exporter – for example through demand forecasting, products customization and flow optimization – to profoundly impact the retail, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.
The proposal is backed by Optel Group – one of over 80 firms, including Agropur, Aldo, Alimentation Couche-Tard, Bell Canada, CGI Group, Cascades and Polytechnique Montreal.
The "Mobility Systems and Technologies for the 21st Century" Supercluster (Quebec): Leverage digital technologies to advance Canadian industrial leadership in next generation mobility products and services. Focus on innovation and commercialization to serve market needs in aerospace, ground transportation and advanced manufacturing.
The proposal is backed by CAE Inc. – one of over 170 firms, including Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp., UrtheCast Corp., Marinvent Corp. and Polytechnique Montreal.
The "Clean, Low-Energy, Engaged, and Remediated" Supercluster (Ontario): Transform Canada's mining sector and position Canada as a global leader in clean resources, clean technology and responsible sourcing of metals. Tackle global challenges of energy intensity, water use, and environmental footprint through collaborative innovation, initiate export pathways and create new skilled jobs.
The proposal is backed by the Canada Mining Innovation Council – one of over 90 firms, including Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., Barrick Gold Corp., Teck Resources Ltd., Motion Metrics and University of British Columbia.
The "Building an Advanced Manufacturing" Supercluster (Ontario): Supercharge manufacturing competitiveness in Canada by building an Industry 4.0 ecosystem. Drive collaboration between technology and manufacturing sectors to create and diffuse new solutions by scaling production and speeding adoption.
The proposal is backed by Communitech Corp. and MaRS Discovery District – one of over 100 firms, including Linamar Corp., Maple Leaf Foods, Miovision Technologies Inc., Myant Inc. and the University of Waterloo.
The "Protein Innovations Canada" Supercluster (Prairies): Position Canada as the world's paramount supplier of plant-based proteins and related products. Capture the massive export market opportunity for safe, nutritious plant-based food and feed by stimulating collaboration on novel technologies and value-added supply-chain infrastructure.
The proposal is backed by Ag-West Bio Inc. – one of over 60 firms, including AGT Food and Ingredients, Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc., ISM, DuPont Pioneer, Bioriginal Food & Science Corp. and the University of Saskatchewan.
The "Smart Agri-food" Supercluster (Prairies): Make Canada the preferred global supplier of sustainable, high-quality, safe food. Advance market competitiveness by building information technologies, including data analysis and quality verification platforms, to add informatics, connectivity and traceability in the crop, livestock and agri-food processing sectors.
The proposal is backed by Agrium – one of over 50 firms, including Telus Corp., Farmers Edge, BIXSco. and Olds College.
The "Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure" Supercluster (Prairies): Transform Canada's built environment to make it more resilient, sustainable, productive and cost-effective. Revolutionize the design, construction and operations of infrastructure and make Canada a world leader with the use of advanced digital communications, cutting edge tools, and interconnected applications and services.
The proposal is backed by Stantec Consulting Ltd. – one of over 25 firms, including PCL Construction Management Inc., Ledcor Group, Barry Johns Architecture Ltd., Athabasca University and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
The "Digital Technology" Supercluster (British Columbia): Make Canada faster, smarter and more collaborative in inventing, developing and applying digital technologies. Advance data collection, analysis and visualization to drive competitiveness across environment and resource tech, precision health and manufacturing.
The proposal is backed by Telus – one of over 70 firms, including Avcorp Industries Inc., D-Wave Systems Inc., Timberwest Forest Corp., Microsoft Canada Development Centre and six post-secondary institutions.