NEIA session aimed at driving innovation in Newfoundland & Labrador

Province must improve on its poor innovation performance

ST. JOHN’S, NL – On October 9th the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA) is holding its Innovation Session, an event which highlights exciting new research in the province and connects local businesses with university and college staff who can help them overcome their product and service challenges.

“Innovation is a key consideration when we talk about diversifying Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy,” says Ted Lomond, Executive Director of NEIA. “Innovation in product, process, service, or business model contributes to the long-term international competitiveness of our firms, but it is not something that happens naturally. Our Innovation Session helps create the networks, relationships, and cultures that are necessary in order to give our firms the chance to innovate.”

Innovation does not happen in isolation. The private sector in Newfoundland and Labrador needs support obtaining, understanding, recombining, and transforming new knowledge. Successful regions offer this support. The Conference Board of Canada recently gave the province a ‘D’ grade in innovation performance, ranking it 22nd among 26 ranked jurisdictions. The report noted the province performed poorly on business enterprise research and development, researchers engaged in R&D (including researchers employed in business, higher education and government), and patents filed.

“Innovation is not only an important factor in improving productivity, economic growth, and job creation. It is also essential from an environmental perspective,” explains Lomond. “Living in communities that are often isolated, remote, and natural resource dependent can pose environmental challenges. New and creative ideas are required in this province to develop the unique solutions we need to avoid or mitigate the environmental effects of our business activities.”

NEIA’s Innovation Session is an opportunity for firms to discover local research expertise with an eye to solving existing challenges or generate new business ideas and initiatives. The event draws environmental sector researchers across a range of disciplines including engineering, marine systems, geography, biology, business, chemistry, geo sciences, environmental studies, environmental policy, food sciences, technology programs, etc.

Lomond says there are significant benefits for firms who choose to engage university and college staff. “Academic researchers can access funding from a variety of sources, helping your firm by applying their expertise to your challenges or opportunities.” Research and innovation support agencies are present at the event to offer suggestions on funding possibilities for given projects.

“This will be the fourth Innovation Session we have organized,” says Lomond. “In each of the previous years, our event has resulted in collaborations between industry and academia – collaborations that have been supported by funding agencies.”

The Innovation Session takes place as part of NEIA’s Newleef conference – Newfoundland and Labrador’s green economy conference. More details can be found at www.newleef.ca.

NEIA is a not-for-profit association of businesses that promotes the growth and development of the green economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. NEIA has over 190 members. More information on NEIA can be found at kieran@neia.org
709.237.8190

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