Canada announces new innovation agency — and it’s not modelled on DARPA

Chrystia Freeland receives a standing ovation as she delivers the federal budget.

Canadian finance minister Chrystia Freeland launched the nation’s federal price range on 7 April.Credit score: Canadian Press/Shutterstock

The Canadian authorities has introduced that it’s going to make investments Can$1 billion (about US$780 million) over the subsequent 5 years to create a funding company targeted on innovation in science and expertise. The unit will buck a pattern of nations making an attempt to duplicate the famend US Protection Superior Analysis Tasks Company (DARPA); as an alternative, it is going to be modelled on innovation companies in Finland and Israel. However some critics say that this technique won’t be a superb match for Canada, which is searching for to enhance its poor observe file of innovation.

The nation has lengthy lagged behind its friends, rating final within the G7 group of rich nations by way of enterprise spending on analysis and growth (R&D). Canadian companies make investments simply 0.8% of the nation’s gross home product in R&D, in contrast with the G7 common of 1.6%.

“This can be a well-known Canadian downside — and an insidious one,” stated finance minister Chrystia Freeland in her 7 April speech setting out the fiscal yr 2022 federal price range, which authorizes the company. “It’s time for Canada to sort out it.”

The price range additionally consists of plenty of different innovation measures, together with a Can$15-billion Canada Development Fund geared toward stimulating personal funding in low-carbon industries and restructuring provide chains. “There should be about 20 factors [in the budget] which might be there to drive innovation,” says Alain Francq, director of innovation and expertise on the Convention Board of Canada, a assume tank primarily based in Ottawa.

A pile of experiments

This isn’t the primary time Canada has tried to sort out innovation. “There was a pile of innovation experiments over the previous a long time,” says Paul Dufour, a senior fellow on the Institute for Science, Society and Coverage on the College of Ottawa.

The newest created the innovation ‘superclusters’: 5 industry-led public–personal collaborations scattered across the nation that concentrate on particular areas, akin to synthetic intelligence and ocean-based applied sciences, during which Canada is globally aggressive. Established in 2018, the superclusters have had blended success to date, however have been awarded Can$750 million within the fiscal yr 2022 price range to proceed their work for an additional six years.

Though officers haven’t but finalized the small print of the innovation company, it can differ from the superclusters, says Dan Breznitz, co-director of the Innovation Coverage Lab on the College of Toronto, who’s advising the federal government on its design. The superclusters are in particular areas of Canada and give attention to sure industries, he says, whereas the innovation company can have a nationwide focus and help a variety of industries — from high-tech start-ups to resource-based industries akin to forestry.

The Canadian authorities plans to announce extra particulars in regards to the company earlier than the top of the yr, after additional consultations with stakeholders.

Breznitz envisions a “nimble, fast-moving, unbiased group that’s deeply engaged with enterprise”. He says it ought to reply extra shortly than authorities paperwork — in the identical means that the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) can provide a solution on funding functions inside about ten weeks — and it needs to be at arm’s size from authorities in order that initiatives are given house to fail.

Subsequent to the IIA, the Finnish Funding Company for Expertise and Innovation (TEKES) makes one other good mannequin for the Canadian company, Breznitz says, as a result of 30 years in the past, the issues dealing with Finland have been “eerily just like the issue Canada has now”. Finland spent much less on enterprise R&D and trusted promoting pure assets to a big neighbour — Russia — simply as Canada is presently depending on the US, he provides. However Finland has since “moved to being some of the progressive nations on the planet, not simply in new industries, however previous ones, too”.

He credit the IIA and TEKES with serving to the Israeli and Finnish enterprise sectors to rise to the higher ranks of the worldwide league tables on R&D spending, creating new firms, merchandise and jobs.

Steering away from DARPA

Not everyone seems to be satisfied that the Finnish or Israeli mannequin will work in Canada, nevertheless. Canada’s massive companies are typically conservative, and are tough to inspire in the case of R&D spending. “For any of this to work,” says Dufour, the brand new company “wants management from the personal sector”. He provides: “I’m unsure we’ll have that right here, like in Finland or Israel.”

Canada can be a really totally different nation: larger than both Israel or Finland, each geographically and in inhabitants, and with stronger regional governments that typically make collaboration on the nationwide degree tough, says Alex Usher, president of Increased Training Technique Associates, a consultancy primarily based in Toronto. An enormous a part of the success of the IIA and TEKES comes from enjoying matchmaker with college researchers and companies to type partnerships that may develop concepts after which take them to market. Canada is likely to be too massive to try this shortly, he says, and its companies don’t essentially take into consideration universities as innovation companions.

Even so, Usher provides, the present path is extra applicable than cloning DARPA, the vaunted US innovation company that gave rise to GPS and the Web. Many nations, together with the US, have tried to duplicate DARPA in quite a lot of fields, however few have seen a lot success.

A variety of DARPA’s prosperity comes from the deep-pocketed US Division of Protection shopping for its innovations — one thing that is not replicated in Canada and different nations, Usher says. And Breznitz factors out that DARPA largely generates innovations, reasonably than commercializing them. So even when a DARPA clone did generate innovations in Canada, it wouldn’t repair “our crucial downside” of getting cash from them, he says. Breznitz is extensively credited with killing the DARPA concept in Canada and steering the federal government in direction of a mannequin that helps firms to develop applied sciences and take them to market shortly.

However he says crucial transfer has been getting the federal government to acknowledge that it has a job in fixing the failure of Canadian companies to spend money on innovation. “We’ve been caught on this horrific equilibrium,” he says. “And it’s as much as the federal government to alter it.”

That change is not going to come shortly. “If you wish to repair a system failure, that’s not one thing you modify by subsequent yr,” Breznitz says. “However in a decade, you may look again and say, ‘Wow.’”

The Piano Sonata

The Piano Sonata No. 30 Op. 109 in E major from 1820 is the third to last of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano sonatas. After the powerful Hammerklavier Sonata op. 106, long deaf, he returned with it to smaller dimensions and a more intimate character. The sonata is dedicated to Maximiliane Brentano, the daughter of Beethoven’s longtime friend Antonie Brentano. In 1812, Beethoven had already composed the little piano trio in B flat major, WoO 39, for her.

Musically, the three-movement work is characterized by a free use of the traditional sonata form. His focus is on the third movement, a complex set of variations as in op. 111.

Origin story

The compositional beginnings of op. 109 can be traced back to the first months of 1820. They preceded Beethoven’s negotiations with Adolf Schlesinger, the publisher of his last three sonatas. Recent research suggests that Friedrich Starke asked Beethoven to write a contribution for his piano anthology Wiener Pianoforteschule. Beethoven interrupted work on the Missa solemnis. Ultimately, however, he offered Starke the Bagatelles op. 119, nos. 7–11.


In the course of music history, there has been much speculation and philosophizing about the character of the individual keys. It has often been doubted whether the keys have any meaning at all.

However, especially in the last three piano sonatas, which in a certain way can be considered a pianistic summary of Beethoven’s world of ideas, the choice of keys is certainly no coincidence, but well-considered.

This becomes clear when one recalls the role played by keys in Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. C minor and C major stand for evil and good, for tyranny and freedom, for darkness and light, even for hell and heaven. As in the opera or even in the 5th symphony, Beethoven chooses these two keys in his last sonata, op. to defeat the evil in the world and to create a world where “all men become brothers”. The dedication of this sonata to Archduke Rudolph may even contain a direct appeal to a political authority to support a liberation movement.

In the opera, A flat major is the key of Florestan languishing in the dungeon, with whom Beethoven presumably identifies in the A flat major Sonata op. 110. This is almost compellingly suggested by the simple fact that this sonata is the only one that does not bear a dedication, i.e. that it remains completely in Beethoven’s possession and deals with his very own inner being.

Finally, in the opera, E major is the key of Leonore, who escalates in heroic pathos of loving self-sacrifice in the E major part of her great aria. The idea of ​​salvation through the “eternally feminine” (Goethe) is certainly also reflected in Beethoven’s mysterious “immortal lover”. Against this background, it can hardly be a coincidence that the Sonata op. 109, which is dedicated to “Miss Maximiliana Brentano”, is in the key of E major.