Canadian universities lag behind their United States counterparts when it comes to generating technologies for commercial use, according to a recent study.
“The best Canadian universities spend less than a third as much on research and development as do their U.S. counterparts,” noted Peter Howitt, professor of social science and Brown University and author of the study.
He said the average research expenditure among top 10 Canadian universities was only $2 million compared to an average across the 10 U.S. universities of $6.5 million.
However, Howitt said, this factor alone was not responsible for the discrepancy.
For instance, he said the technology transfer offices (TTO) of American universities are generally more experienced compared to Canadian TTOs.
Canadian universities have a “less experimental culture” than those in the U.S. and venture capital south of the border is more highly developed.
But more importantly, Howitt said, Canadian businesses’ expenditure on research and development (BERD) is only half of that of U.S. BERD.
“It is doubtful that Canada will be able to close the productivity gap with the U.S. in technology transfer until businesses start to play their part instead of relying on universities to do more than their share,” said Howitt.