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Getting the Ball Rolling on Basic Research

By June 21, 2018No Comments

Investments are a critical component in innovation. Without funding, it would be impossible to carry out the research that leads to the next breakthrough to grow our economy, and it’s government-funded basic research that gets the ball rolling. “What you don’t see is venture capitalists funding broad-based research,” says John Ruffolo, Chief Executive Officer at OMERS Ventures. “And this is just like infrastructure of a nation and why the government is really the only source of capital that can properly fund it and really bet for the long term.”

“In Canada, we really are a knowledge-based community,” adds Judy Goldring, Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer at AGF Management Limited. “We need to make sure we stay ahead of the curve on that, and the way to do that is to invest in research.”

While venture capital is needed near the final stages of development to help companies scale up and accelerate products to market, the risk/reward ratio is too high at the basic research stage. At the earliest discovery stages, researchers are trying to learn as much as they can, but they usually have no particular commercial goal in mind. But that’s where the greatest unconstrained creativity comes in, seeding the innovations that are so disruptive that no one saw them coming.