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Opinion

Cool ideas: the critical nexus between research and innovation in Northern and remote Canada

By Stefan Fournier and Ken Coates      

Research is integral to this potential technological transformation of the Canadian North.

One promising avenue would be to look carefully at new and emerging technologies and to focus on the social situation northerners want for their communities in 2050. Importantly, residents and organizations of northern and remote Canada should drive and inform this research. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Northern and remote Canada face distinct challenges that affect everything from the quality of life, to economic development and public safety. A lack of key infrastructure, weak basic government services, difficulties accessing high quality education, challenging geography and isolation, systemic food insecurity, and the legacies of colonialism remain important problems, even after decades of policy and program adjustments. Research by academics, practitioners and thought leaders proposed partial solutions in an attempt to inform decision making. Yet on the ground improvements have generally been incremental, inconsistent and slow to materialize.

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