I see the NBIF has a new President. It’s funny how initial perceptions can shape your view of things on an ongoing basis. Former Premier Bernard Lord said the NBIF was to be the ‘catalyst’ to achieve his goal of bringing New Brunswick to among the top four provinces in Canada for R&D. As of the latest data, we are still dead last in Canada.
And instead of the NBIF and government officials lamenting this fact, there is a whole lot of back slapping and wide grinning about the success of the NBIF.
My point is that maybe for those with a lesser ambition for the NBIF, it has been a wildly successful organization. But if you were to believe the former Premier, the NBIF is a failure.
Now, as I have pointed out on many occassions, New Brunswick would need more than $100 million per year in increased R&D to have met the former Premier’s goal and an organization with $35 million to spend over many years can hardly be expected to leverage that into $100 million in new R&D.
But a new president should be a time of renewal and rethink. I don’t read anything into the new president’s comments that indicate any kind of course direction.
I guess that is what frustrates me the most about the institutions involved in achieving these ‘goals’ in New Brunswick. Premier Lord had his prosperity plan goals – none of which were met – and there was no accountability in the institutions of government. The Graham government has its self sufficiency goals and (cross our fingers) let’s hope they get done. But there doesn’t seem to be any alignment between the political goals and government institutional accountability.
If the NBIF was supposed to provide small levels of VC to 3 companies per year (17 over six years), host conference, put on a business plan competition and funnel some funds to university researchers – than it is a success and everyone involved should be satisfied. If it was supposed to be the catalyst that led to a massive amount of new R&D, it has failed and everyone should be introspective.