What is a Cluster?
A cluster is a geographic concentration of companies, suppliers, and service providers of a related industry all within a ‘commutable distance’. Clusters allow companies to maximize their efficiency by providing for greater sharing of local infrastructure, better matching of skills between employees and employers, and the diffusion of knowledge among workers. Communities with an established cluster reap the rewards of robust economic growth and job creation.
Given Ontario’s leading role in neuroscience discovery, the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) is working to stimulate the development and commercialization of neurotechnology to detect and treat brain conditions as well as neuropharmacological agents to prevent and alleviate its symptoms. Ontario has already built a broad foundation in neuroscience research and is well positioned as an emerging neurotechnology and therapeutics cluster.
Identifying the Issues
A study was commissioned to evaluate Ontario's potential as a neuroscience cluster. The study identifyied key characteristics where Ontario can compete globally:
- demanding customers
- constructive competition
- supporting service industry
- collaborative institutions
The study also identified two weak areas that Ontario must strengthen to move us closer toward developing a neuroscience cluster:
- a lack of access to capital
- insufficient managerial talent
To respond to the study, OBI introduced a $22 million “NeuroTech Ontario” initiative and the "OBI Entrepreneurs Program". The Ontario Brain Innovation Council (OBIC), which oversees the OBI’s cluster development initiatives, will work to help Ontario become a world-leader in the translation of brain research into benefits for the health and economic prosperity of all Ontarians. This pan-Ontario innovation council will have the mandate to develop, evaluate, and support the growth of an Ontario neuroscience cluster.
The OBIC will directly and indirectly support OBI’s current cluster programs by helping to create new relationships between existing players, recruit and develop new talent, advise on efficient use of programs, share best practices, and to identify new market opportunities for organizations to work together.
There is a great enthusiasm at OBI to work with the following organizations to move more scientific discoveries into the marketplace to provide better and lower-cost care as well as to create jobs.
- Toronto Dementia Research Alliance
- Toronto Rehab