January 2020 Newsletter

4POINT0 Advanced Materials Innovation Workshop

“How do we create an innovative environment in Canada to encourage the development and scale-up of new products and processes by composite manufacturers?”

The first Advanced Materials Innovation workshop, jointly hosted by the Composites Knowledge Network (CKN) and 4POINT0 organization, was held in Vancouver at UBC on October 22nd, 2019. This event brought together participants from academia, industry and government to discuss significant challenges facing composites and advanced manufacturing SMEs based in Canada. Attendees discussed how to improve and accelerate a sustainable innovative ecosystem within the manufacturing sector to foster stronger economic development.

The event started with keynote presentations by Professors Catherine Beaudry (Polytechnique Montreal) and Elicia Maine (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University) on the need to evaluate innovation models to improve the trajectory of disruptive technologies and the challenges faced by science-based businesses. Throughout the day, discussions between panelists and workshop participants focused on topics relating to digitalization, innovation potential and globalization.

The panelists included:

– Carolyn Watters – NRC-Canada
– Peter Warrian – Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto
– Nancy Gallini – Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia
– Janic Lauzon – Composite Development Centre of Quebec
– John Davies – Physical Science Innovations
– Douglas Kelly – The Boeing Company

As part of the 4POINT0 workshop, an innovation survey was conducted to better understand innovation at Canadian-based composites and advanced manufacturing companies. This survey invited industrial participants to provide input on topics relating to their IP portfolio, development of new products and services, academic relationships, and government support for R&D.


IP Portfolio

  • 60% of respondents indicated that their innovations are protected by Trade Secret. Notably, large firms (75%) were most likely to utilize trade secrets as one of their IP protection mechanisms.
  • Patents were predominantly utilized for IP protection in this sector by medium sized companies (80%).

New Product or Service

  • 75% of respondents indicated that they have developed a new product or service within the past five years. 
  • Of the respondents who said “Yes”, 67% of the large sized companies are protecting their new innovations by patents compared with 5% of very small sized companies. Furthermore, of the respondents who said they have developed a new product or service in the last 5 years, 75% of large sized companies are somewhat confident that their patent protection will prevent unauthorized use of their new innovations compared with 50% of small sized companies. 
  • The survey also revealed that very small companies are not at all confident with patents sufficiently protecting their new innovations against competitors or adopters.

Academic Partnerships

  • 65% of respondents indicated that they are currently engaged in academic partnerships.

Government Support for R&D

  • Federal: Of the companies surveyed who received federal government support for R&D, the majority of companies were medium sized at 90%.
  • Provincial: Very small firms were least likely to have received provincial funding for R&D, with only 18% reporting this; the majority being small, medium or large sized companies.

For more information on the survey, please contact Suzana Topic at suzana@composites.ubc.ca

Composites Knowledge Network & 4POINT0: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Innovation Survey

Tell us more about innovation in your company and sector. Are you creating new products or services?  If so, do you protect your IP?  Do you collaborate with universities or colleges? What changes would be useful to you?

The 4Point0 partnership for the organization of innovation and new technologies, along with the CKN, are continuing to collect data for the innovation survey. The purpose of this survey is to understand and identify opportunities for improving and accelerating a sustainable innovative ecosystem for Canadian based composites and advanced manufacturing companies that fosters stronger economic development in this sector.

The survey is estimated to take 5-10 minutes. Your input on topics relating to your IP portfolio, development of new products and services, academic relationships, and government support for R&D will be highly valuable to this project. Thank you for participating.

Click here to do the survey