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Dual memorandums of understanding cement Canada-UK science and innovation ties

Press Release

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Canada and UK strengthen collaboration in science, innovation and artificial intelligence

January 31, 2024

Canada is committed to pursuing international science and research collaborations with key like-minded partners.

As part of her official visit to Canada this week, the Right Honourable Michelle Donelan, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, signed two memorandums of understanding (MOU).

The first will build on existing collaboration in science, technology and innovation. The MOU identifies a number of key technology areas, such as quantum, AI, semiconductors, engineering biology and clean energy, in which the UK and Canada will intensify efforts to foster research and bring innovative new solutions to market to help tackle global challenges. An additional focus on scientific diplomacy will see both countries exchanging expertise on issues such as international standards, governance and regulation of new technologies, helping to inform discussions in international forums such as the G7 and G20.

The second MOU lays out a new agreement on artificial intelligence (AI) compute—one of the fundamental building blocks in the use and development of AI. This is the latest step in the two countries’ efforts to collaborate on AI research and development. At its core is a commitment to explore how both countries can work together and with like-minded countries to support researchers and industry with secure and affordable access to computing capacity needed for AI systems in both Canada and the UK. This includes examining opportunities for collaborations in areas of shared strategic importance, such as biomedicine.

Quotes

“Canada and the UK have a deep relationship that encourages collaboration to help both countries thrive. Today’s memorandums of understanding on scientific research and innovation and on AI compute will lead to positive impacts across all fields of research and innovation, help businesses accelerate commercialization and link our leading researchers together. These agreements will strengthen our AI companies and enable our researchers, as well as encourage sharing research excellence with the Global South to build international capacity and address worldwide challenges.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

to be an active force for good on the global stage. Today’s agreements deepen that relationship even further, as we commit to working side by side to address the defining technological challenges of our generation. My visit this week and the foundations we have laid will ensure we can continue to lead the way in harnessing the opportunities of new innovations across science and technology for decades to come.”
– The Right Honourable Michelle Donelan, UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

Quick facts

  • The first Canada–UK science, technology and innovation memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed in 2017, generated close to $150 million in joint research projects, including the first industry-led partnership between any two countries to develop quantum technologies, and a $13.7 million project on Arctic ecosystems, in partnership with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, to fund research projects on climate-driven changes in Inuit Nunangat.
  • The updated MOU on scientific research and innovation aims to capture the full scope of research by including an annex that can be periodically updated, as necessary, with emerging priority areas during the MOU’s 10-year duration.
  • The MOU on compute capacity demonstrates the two countries’ shared commitment to building infrastructure that supports the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence.
  • The UK is Canada’s third-largest scientific and technological global partner and its most important research partner in Europe, with collaborations in areas of particular strength including clinical and biomedical research, earth sciences and physics.

Associated links

Contacts

Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
audrey.champoux@ised-isde.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
media@ised-isde.gc.ca

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