NB Innovation Map

Mapping our innovation ecosystem

Mapping the NB Innovation Ecosystem allows us to see where and how R&D takes place right here at home, enabling us to collaborate more efficiently and effectively in using the assets and resources available.

Global Advantage Consulting recently analyzed and mapped out New Brunswick’s innovation ecosystem, including provincial and federal governments, higher education institutions (universities/colleges) and the private sector (SMEs, large firms, risk capital, etc.).

The recommendations center around more collaboration and increased investment in research and innovation.

Innovation is key to economic growth

Investing in innovation is key to economic productivity and global competitiveness

New Brunswick’s private and public sector is harnessing innovation to maximize its economic and human potential. Yet, in R&D performance metrics, New Brunswick ranks among the lowest in Canada.

Our province’s share in the Canadian economy is declining. New Brunswick’s percentage of Canada’s real GDP was only 1.64% in 2017, compared with 1.7% in 2013.

We must do more – together

To accelerate the pace and scope of innovation, we must do more, together.

$354 million of R&D was performed in NB in 2016. This is about 1% of the $34.5 billion spent on R&D in Canada. While over 50% of total Canadian R&D spending is performed by the private sector, only about a third of all R&D in New Brunswick is done by the private sector.

Innovation creates opportunities for trade to grow NB’s GDP.

Higher education performs 53% of all R&D in NB, and around 70% of that happens at UNB.


We can do more to help innovation in New Brunswick succeed and to grow our economy. Here’s how:

  • Work together better.
  • Grow collaboration between higher education, governments, not-for-profits and private sector stakeholders.
  • Develop a joint strategy to attract government and private sector investments.
  • Make investments count.
  • Focus on innovation in areas of strength and high potential.
  • Encourage SMEs to adopt new technologies.
  • Train more talent in key industries, such as cybersecurity and clean tech to help attract large companies and investments.
  • Provide incentives and infrastructure for companies to come here and stay.
  • Determine key export markets.
  • Diversify export partners and products.

UNB is the R&D engine for New Brunswick

53% of all R&D in NB happens at post-secondary education (PSE) institutions. This is not the situation in other provinces. Yet, New Brunswick PSE institutions receive less government funding than other provinces.

Nova Scotia receives $100M more in government research funding than New Brunswick. New Brunswick is ranked last in higher education R&D per capita by province (Source: Statistics Canada).

UNB is uniquely positioned to drive New Brunswick’s economic prosperity. It can leverage private sector investment dollars – making them go further, faster.

We need to close the innovation funding gap. It’s time to invest in research and innovation.

It’s time to invest in UNB.

The NB Innovation Map was commissioned by UNB, with support from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.