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Ottawa invests $80 million to support cybersecurity R&D and commercialization

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This week, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne announced the launch of the new Cyber Security Innovation Network program with an investment of $80 million over four years.

In a May 6 news release, The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) says it is currently seeking to enter into the four-year, non-repayable contribution agreement with a selected applicant who will form the national network with the goal to enhance research and development, and increase commercialization of cybersecurity products, services and/or processes across Canada.

The program was first announced in the 2019 federal budget.

In addition, the network will support the development of skilled cybersecurity talent across the country, including the recruitment and retention of faculty, trainers, and instructors. It will also provide more resources to curriculum development, training, reskilling and upskilling of the cybersecurity workforce through initiatives designed and delivered in collaboration with industry partners.

This announcement builds on Canada’s Digital Charter, a series of proposed safeguards to protect Canadians’ digital privacy and security, announced in 2019.

Related:

Canada announces Digital Charter, promises serious fines to business for not protecting privacy [Full story]

To form the network, Ottawa is inviting applications from non-profit groups built on partnerships between academic institutions, businesses and other levels of government. A list with the eligibility criteria says the selected applicant should have strong ties to partners and post-secondary institutions that support the growth of cybersecurity innovation. They should also be federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, (although on its website, it says it’s not immediately necessary to be incorporated at the time of application).

The complete eligibility criteria that an applicant must meet in their proposal can be found here. The application deadline is July 25, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

ISED says it envisions the program as a “pan-Canadian network to support the growth of Canada’s cybersecurity ecosystem through industry-academia collaboration”.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian businesses reported spending a total of $7 billion directly on measures to prevent, detect and recover from cybersecurity incidents in 2019. With a rapidly growing digital economy, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity is an ever-increasing concern for Canadians and businesses.

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