First recipients soon to be named by new Sustainable Development fundThe first recipients of project funding from the Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology (SDTC) could be announced in mid-November, following the first meeting of its full board of directors.
Established by the federal government, SDTC (www.sdtc.ca) is a funding organization mandated to foster the rapid development, demonstration and commercialization of innovative technological solutions for dealing with climate change and improving air quality. It was allocated $100 million in seed funding under the 2000 federal budget.
The SDTC began operations in November 2001 and announced in April that it was accepting Statement of Interest (SOI) applications (ELW April 15). Since then, the Foundation reports that there has been a tremendous response from organizations across Canada.
As a result of the two funding rounds to date, SDTC has received over 500 applications valued at $2.8 billion in total project costs. Direct funding requests to SDTC have totalled $876 million. The SDTC says if all of these projects were funded and successfully applied, they would contribute some 165 megatonnes (Mt) in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions (based on values reported by the applicants).
Applicant consortia represented the academic community, users and distributors of technologies and, to a lesser extent, non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Private sector applicants included both small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and multi-national companies. While all sectors were represented, most of the applications (72%) came from the top emission creators, i.e. the oil and gas industries, along with the power generation, transportation and energy utilization sectors.
"This statistical analysis of our funding applications demonstrates that there is a significant untapped capacity and demand for funding sustainable development (SD) innovation in Canada," said Dr Vicky Sharpe, SDTC president and CEO. "This potential remains untapped for several reasons.
"An important reason is a gap in funding that causes a break in the innovation chain. A barrier to technologies moving from the prototype stage to a level of commercialization that meets venture capital requirements is the difficulty in obtaining funding at this level of development risk. It can be classified as the pre-venture capital (VC) gap and it is this area that SDTC aims to address primarily," she explained, adding that "not only has SDTC quantified this pre-VC funding gap in sustainable development innovation, but the way in which SDTC has been embraced by major stakeholders means that it is well positioned to close it."
Regarding the role the SDTC will play in reducing emissions and increasing the competitiveness of Canadian industry, Dr Sharpe said, "SDTC is a viable tool that can move quickly to establish early wins in the technology cycle and therefore make a positive impact on emissions reduction.
"If the volume of applications we have received can be used as a measure, Canadian innovators are poised to make substantial contributions to the quality of life of Canadians through the development of SD technologies. The subsequent economic activity resulting from this technology commercialization enhances Canada's competitiveness both at home and abroad, while improving air quality."
The SDTC operates as an arm's-length, not-for-profit corporation, under the leadership of 15 directors (including the chair), and 15 Foundation members. Along with Foundation chair James Stanford, the founding directors, who helped establish SDTC, include Alain CaillÈ, David Johnston and Ken Ogilvie. They were joined by federal government appointees TM (Mike) Apsey, Jane Pagel, Dee Parkinson-Marcoux, and Elizabeth Parr-Johnston.
Stanford recently announced the appointment of the remaining board members. In addition to Dr Sharpe, they include Michael Brown, Angus Bruneau, Charles Coffey, Richard Drouin, David Kerr and David Pollock.
The remaining member council appointees include Pierre Alvarez, James Knight, Hans Konow, Louis LaPierre, Manon Laporte, Mark Nantais, Nick Sonntag and Joseph Wright.
Further information on these directors and members can be found at the following Web sites: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/css/imb/hqlib/200234e.htm;
More information is available from Eleanor McMahon at the SDTC, 613/234-6313 ext 224.