Students and leaders across sectors explore innovative solutions to preparing youth for disrupted economy

February 6, 2018
twitter icon facebook icon
Une étudiante universitaire pose une question devant un micro.

OTTAWA – More than 80 university, public service, business and civil society leaders convened with student entrepreneurs and innovators at Univation, a national forum co-hosted by Universities Canada and the Rideau Hall Foundation, in Ottawa February 5 and 6.

Against the backdrop of increasing digital change and technological disruption, Univation participants explored the challenges and opportunities for preparing Canada’s next generation of leaders and innovators. The forum showcased the interdisciplinary approaches Canadian universities and partners are taking to innovate in teaching, learning and discovery, student access and success, experiential learning and entrepreneurial learning – to equip graduates for success in a rapidly changing global knowledge economy.

“The challenges and opportunities before us are significant in this age of disruption,” said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “Automation and technology are radically changing the skills needed by our future workforce, and universities are meeting this challenge with the growth of new interdisciplinary programs. I’m encouraged by the discussions at Univation, which have shown how universities and partners in business and civil society can scale up existing approaches and work together to unleash the potential of our next generation, to foster a more innovative, inclusive and prosperous Canada.”

“Meeting the needs of Canada’s future economy will require our educational system to innovate in substantial ways. Rideau Hall Foundation is pleased to support connections between the university leaders, students and private and not-for-profit partners to advance the conversation about how to lead those changes, to support a culture of innovation in Canada,” said Scott Haldane, Rideau Hall Foundation president and CEO.

A highlight was a keynote address by Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice-president and chief research and innovation officer at Arizona State University, who spoke of ASU’s success in building a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students. Dr. Panchanathan was founding director of the Visual Computing and Communications Laboratory at the University of Ottawa from 1990-97. Sean Mullin, executive director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, also shared his thoughts on how technological change and automation will change the world of work.

The event closed with reflections from undergraduate student participants on how universities, employers and civil society can help prepare future leaders.

“Students are hungry to find meaning in their work – whether it’s through internships, school or their communities,” said McMaster University student Alyssia Jovellanos.

Univation is the second in a new series of national conferences led by the Rideau Hall Foundation to promote a culture of innovation in Canada.

To learn more about Univation’s guest speakers and sessions, visit the event website.

To learn more about the Rideau Hall Foundation’s activities to support Canada’s culture of innovation, visit or


About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Universities Canada news

← Previous
Canada’s universities reaffirm commitment to supporting Indigenous community
Next →
Canada has everything to gain through research collaboration with China

Related news

Universities Canada