NB Innovation Week & Cybersecurity

  • Laurie
  • 2017-06-07




Gleaner Column

Chapter 4 – New Brunswick Innovation Week & Spotlight on Cybersecurity

Last month’s column was directed to the parents, policy-makers/politicians and educators, who are in a position to help shape and influence New Brunswick’s future.  This starts with early education - ensuring our children get the required skills to keep them on a path of realizing opportunities. Literacy is fundamental, as is equipping youth with digital skills, like coding, to meet the projected workforce demand for 182,000 ICT jobs in Canada by 2019 (ICTC).

So how do we inspire innovation to fuel our future workforce, and to create the Resson Aerospaces and Smartskins of tomorrow?  New Brunswick Innovation Week is a step in the right direction.

The Premier’s second annual Innovation Week will take place during the week of May 2nd, 2016.  On behalf of the Province and through the support of partners, Ignite Fredericton, the community’s economic development catalyst agency, is coordinating New Brunswick Innovation Week.

The 2016 week will comprise of innovation-focused content targeting youth, academia and business:

• Youth Day will take place Tuesday, May 3rd targeting high school students from Fredericton High, Leo Hayes and Oromocto.  The event is intended to inspire the students towards a culture of innovation, to carve their own career path, and to pursue career opportunities where there will be future workforce demand.  Ignite is in the process of confirming speakers for this exciting half-day event.

• Academia/Research Day will take place on Wednesday, May 4th, targeting the research and academic community.  It will also be open to the public, to give the business community an opportunity to learn about some of the leading edge research taking place at the post-secondary school level.

• Business Day will take place on Thursday, May 5th designed to showcase the 18 KIRA finalists through a mini trade show. The community will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about these game-changing companies and organizations.  The celebratory, culminating event of the week will be the 18th annual KIRA awards – recognizing outstanding innovation and achievement among all sectors, not just ICT.  During the day, there will also be some other featured content including a keynote speaker – still in development.  For the first time ever, the KIRA Awards will feature a new reception type format.

The nominations process has just opened for the KIRA Awards, so be sure to nominate businesses and public sector organizations among the following categories:
o Most Promising Startup
o Innovative New Product or Service (private sector)
o Economic Impact through Employment Growth
o Premier’s Innovation Award (public sector)
o Premier’s Innovation Award (private sector)

For more information, to nominate (by March 31st), and book your tickets, please visit here
Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2016 NB Innovation Week!  Watch the Ignite Fredericton website for more news and information, as it becomes readily available.

In future articles, we will explore innovation happening in a number of growth sectors.  Foundational to this work, was a new investment attraction strategy developed by Ignite Fredericton during the spring of 2015.  The strategy focussed on the following four major growth sectors plus a number of sub-sectors.  In this article, we will take a closer look at cybersecurity.

o Information/Communications Technology [Cybersecurity, Big Data, Geomatics/GPS/Avionics]
o Natural Resources
o Biotechnology
o Engineering/Environmental Services

As part of our strategy, cybersecurity was identified as a key growth area due to the estimated $1.6 trillion associated cost of online security and privacy violations. There is a tremendous amount of confidential information being shared digitally, which is being compromised and attacked.  Threats range from malware, stolen identities, financial fraud, pilfer of intellectual property and websites, etc.   As a result, cybersecurity will continue to be an escalating concern for business and society.  It presents an opportunity for Fredericton given the wealth of existing assets present at the University of New Brunswick (UNB).  Through UNB’s Information Security Centre of Excellence (ISCX), there is an established team of researchers – led by Dr. Ali Ghorbani-Dean of Computer Science, and Dr. Natalia Stakanova-NB Innovation Chair in Cybersecurity.  Dr. Ghorbani is currently leading an initiative to establish a Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, which will put UNB and Fredericton at the forefront of cybersecurity on a national scale.

We also have local companies, like IBM, Raytheon, Sentrant, Bulletproof Solutions, Ara Labs, playing a global role in digital security, and who are here due to the supportive ecosystem, extensive research and development capacity and advanced digital infrastructure.  There is tremendous opportunity to continue to grow this sub-sector of ICT – stay tuned!

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch