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

Updated: Oct 23, 2019



Will 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.


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