Canadian Superclusters:
Will They Work and How Will We Know?

November 2, 2017.

Canadian SuperclustersWill the Innovation Supercluster Initiative (ISI) accomplish its intended goals of strengthening Canada’s most promising clusters and accelerating economic growth? It’s an important question that needs to be addressed.

The effective measurement of superclusters’ impact is one of the most important – and challenging – policy issues, and a performance measurement framework that defines clear outcomes, objectives, and metrics to measure progress, is essential to the initiative’s success.

Why Evaluating the Supercluster Initiative is Important

The Liberal government has announced the short-list of nine potential superclusters across Canada that are still eligible for a portion of the $950-million fund. Up to five superclusters will be selected, and expectations of high performance have been set. Improved performance of participating organizations is anticipated, but what needs to be determined is the degree to which the supercluster initiative caused such changes in performance.

A thoughtful approach to performance measurement for funded superclusters will incorporate data from multiple sources, employ a range of analytical methodologies, and will use state of the art data visualization techniques to facilitate the interpretation of data by supercluster participants and government funders.  International comparative data will show how supercluster companies and industries are doing relative to their international peers. Longitudinal data that examines the impact of new partnerships and funding on the innovative capacity of sponsored companies and clusters, will track the evolution of capabilities and the development of communities of learning.

Properly evaluating the supercluster initiative gives both the supercluster and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) information that can actually be used in efficient and effective ways to improve supercluster performance over the course of the program.

TEN at CSPC 2017

The Evidence Network Inc. (TEN) is looking forward to attending the 9th Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC) this week at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, to learn more from panel experts on what makes effective superclusters.  The Evidence Network will be attending both as participants, but will also be running a booth, where we welcome questions and conversation.

The panel, Celebrity Chefs: What ingredients make an effective supercluster?will feature an informal discussion for those engaged in the supercluster process that will highlight key elements of effective superclusters, as well as benefits emerging from the supercluster initiative, and how superclusters may facilitate more government and academic R&D collaborations with industry.

If you’re planning to attend CSPC, we invite you to visit us at our booth to learn more about our impact assessments, and why the evidence of impact is a key component to the success of Canadian Science and Innovation support programs. We look forward to seeing you there!


If you are leading a business or research support program and are looking to evaluate your performance with a view to learning how you can improve it, you will want to learn more about The Evidence Network’s evaluation and benchmarking services.

To discuss your options further, please contact us through our website to set up an introductory meeting.