CANARIE, Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, have announced $40M in new funding for the next two years, following yesterday’s presentation of the Government of Canada’s 2012 budget in the House of Commons.
“The Government of Canada’s investment in CANARIE is a clear indication of the importance of this vital infrastructure for world-leading research and innovation in Canada,” says Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE. “This funding will be used by CANARIE to sustain the evolution of the network and to support world-class research across the country. It will support billions of dollars in annual research and to help Canada maintain its position among the global community of advanced networks. I would like to thank the Government of Canada for its investment in this essential digital infrastructure.”
Most countries have an advanced research and innovation network like CANARIE. These networks exist because of the data-intensive nature of today’s research and the rapid pace of digital innovation. DNA sequences, environmental sensors, satellite images and data from the world’s most advanced scientific instruments, like the Large Hadron Collider, require network speed and capacity that far exceeds those available from the commercial Internet. Ongoing investment is required to support the nearly 50% increase in yearly traffic that has become the norm on the CANARIE network over the past several years. Today’s budget announcement will enable CANARIE to not only support the ongoing operation of a world-class research network, but also to put in place programs and activities that leverage and extend the benefits of this critical innovation infrastructure.
Canada’s previous investment in the CANARIE network and its funding programs has delivered tremendous economic rewards. An independent economic benefits study (PDF) conducted in 2011 found that each dollar invested in CANARIE since its creation in 1993 has generated $2.84 in GDP growth. These investments also created 820 full-time equivalent jobs per year. These benefits are in addition to the very tangible results of world-class research discoveries enabled by CANARIE.
CANARIE connects to and works closely with advanced networks in each province and territory. This advanced network alliance, stretching from coast to coast to coast, connects over 1,100 institutions and over one million users. Historically, 40% of the funding for this advanced network alliance has come from the Government of Canada through CANARIE, with the remaining 60% coming from user fees and provincial revenues.
Digital innovation on the CANARIE network is often the launchpad for groundbreaking research discoveries and future commercial applications. The original CANARIE network, created in 1993, formed the basis for the commercial Internet in Canada. More recently, CANARIE has supported world- leading research across a range of domains. A few examples of Canadian research supported by CANARIE include:
– Cutting-edge genomics and proteomics research funded by Genome Canada. CANARIE’s ultra high-speed network and national and international connections support Genome Canada’s advanced research in human health, agriculture, and the environment, including recent initiatives to design personalized medicine based on an individual’s genomic profile.
– Discoveries from the world’s first networked underwater observatories, VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada, which engage in transformative ocean research. CANARIE both connects the underwater instruments that make up these observatories and funds the sophisticated web-based research portals that allow thousands of researchers to access this rich trove of ocean data, including real-time video from the bottom of the sea.
– CANARIE’s Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program pilot, a cloud-based testbed in support of Canada’s high-tech entrepreneurs, has accelerated product development and time to market for over 50 small businesses.
– Research at dozens of Government of Canada facilities that support investigations into a wide range of issues affecting Canadians, from the safety of our food supply to the accuracy of our weather forecasts.
– CANARIE funded the development of CBRAIN, a research platform that provides scientists with unprecedented and immediate access to a vast library of three-dimensional brain imaging data. CBRAIN is a vital tool in accelerating research into neurological disorders including autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are proud to contribute to Canadian-based world-class research and discovery. CANARIE has clearly and consistently demonstrated its value as critical digital infrastructure. With this new investment, we will move forward with initiatives to ensure Canada’s global competitiveness and leadership with respect to research networking infrastructure and tools,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, Chair of CANARIE’s Board of Directors and Vice President, Research at the University of Victoria.
CANARIE will pursue three key elements in its mandate:
- Evolve the network to meet growing demand. Traffic over the 19,000 kilometre fibre-optic network has been growing steadily at approximately 50% per year. CANARIE will increase network capacity to meet the needs of users and will continue to extend the network to institutions that require its ultra high speed and capacity.
- Build network tools to speed time to discovery. CANARIE will deploy innovative technologies to enable diverse research communities to fully leverage the network as they pursue solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues.
- Leverage the network to commercialize innovation. Building on the success of the Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) pilot program, CANARIE will broaden the program’s target market from its current focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. DAIR’s digital testing and development environment, which has helped small businesses launch new digital products and services, will become available to more Canadian entrepreneurs, information and communications technology (ICT) researchers, and to multinational corporations wishing to conduct advanced ICT research in Canada.
“CANARIE’s successes are the result of a strong collaborative effort among countless individuals and organizations within the research, education and innovation communities,” adds Jim Roche. “Their efforts, combined with the hard work of CANARIE employees past and present, allows us to build on past successes and continue to support research and innovation that has a positive impact on the lives of Canadians.”
Final funding for CANARIE is subject to the budget passing in the House of Commons and the signing of a funding agreement between CANARIE and the Government of Canada.