From the CEO's desk
Ron Freedman
Research Infosource Inc

Assembling our annual research rankings for universities, colleges, companies and hospitals gives Research Infosource - and we hope, our readers - a unique perspective on the state of research and innovation in Canada. We are deeply indebted to the hundreds of organizations that work with us each year to provide data and to bring to life the real world of research and its applications through their case studies - see the Focus on Cross-sector Collaboration. We also want to thank the many groups featured in Canada's Innovation Leaders (CIL) who support our work through their advertising and sponsored opinion editorials. Let me offer some personal perspectives on the state of research in Canada.

First off, the scale and scope of research being performed and applied by Canada's top research and innovation organizations is astounding. In this issue of CIL you'll read about permafrost research, cyber security, international development, surgical robots and more. But this is but the tip of a creativity iceberg. Not only do we perform a great deal and variety of research in this country, it is of very high quality. Bibliometric studies consistently show that our research publications are at the top of the heap both in quantity and quality internationally. For all the anxiety over funding levels and program changes we have a solid base of research and innovation activity in this country. So, let us celebrate our researchers and our research.

We are proud this year to introduce to readers the world of museum research. Canada's research museums are an important component of our national system of innovation. Expect to learn more about them in future issues of CIL.

Let us credit the politicians who provide their support for taxpayer-funded research and innovation and the public servants who work behind the scenes to design and administer the grant and contribution programs that are the bedrock of the research system. While the corporate sector accounts for the majority of research in the country, it is the government programs that provide the foundation: training researchers, conducting basic research, supporting knowledge translation, funding research infrastructure. Not to be overlooked are the public sector organizations - universities, colleges and hospitals - in which the bulk of academic research is performed. Executives and administrators at these organizations work tirelessly on the thankless tasks of raising funds, administering grants, providing progress reports, seeking outside partners, securing and licensing patents, moving research knowledge outside of their institution, and more - all the un-glorious work that makes the system run smoothly and effectively.

The theme of this year's CIL is cross-sector collaboration - how working outside of institutional boundaries - across sectors - strengthens the research endeavour. Universities working with companies, colleges working with universities, hospitals working with universities and companies; these out-of-the-box collaborations improve the research, its applications and the training opportunities for young people that come with them. They also raise the prospect that the research and innovation will be applied in the real world.

Cross-sector collaboration goes hand-in-hand with interdisciplinary collaboration - collaboration across scientific specialties. Increasingly, the world of scientific and engineering research understands that many of the big problems (and opportunities) of science depend on knowledge resident in different science and engineering disciplines; chemistry, biology, physics, genomics, etc. etc. Moreover, all scientific research takes place in a social context, and understanding that context (e.g. doctor-patient, manufacturer-customer, international aid donor-recipient) is vital to how research can be successfully applied. It's fair to say that Canadian researchers are at the forefront both in cross-sector collaboration and interdisciplinary collaboration, but that those are still in early days.

I invite you to peruse the pages of Canada's Innovation Leaders and to review our website to learn more about research in Canada, and the organizations and individuals who drive our success.