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a. ISED SSF Competition Announcement December 6th 2023 – Luminary 

On December 6th, 2023, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) announced the results of the Strategic Science Fund (SSF) competition and LUMINARY was one of 24 organizations who were successful in receiving five years of federal SSF funding support commencing April 1st, 2004 – 2029. LUMINARY is the only Indigenous initiative selected. 

This is a ‘stellar first’ and will help accelerate Luminary’s work to support business schools and Indigenous businesses to grow Indigenous business and research talent, grow new research and innovation collaborations and grow the Indigenous innovation ecosystem. 

The complete list can be found here at ISED’s website Strategic Science Fund: 2021 competition results ( And you can read the Luminary update shared by Kelly Lendsay on  December 12th, 2023

Luminary SSF announcement PDF

The key strengths that were identified in the Expert Panel’s SSF Application Assessment Report of the Luminary application are:

Key Findings Strengths:

  • The proposal aligns well with federal priorities related to Indigenous well-being, welfare and economic development, as well as promoting Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
  • Good value in the proposed stream of working with business schools to build curriculums surrounding issues in Indigenous communities.
  • Strong Letters of Support from many Indigenous organizations, as well as universities.

 b. About the New Luminary SSF Network Project 2024-2029


Luminary is currently working the SSF Officials in February and March 2024 to revise and finalize a new workplan, budget and a contribution agreement that will commence April 1st 2024. 


There are four critical needs that inform on the four impact areas. As well, revisions have been made to some of the key outcomes and activities based on the feedback from SSF Expert Panel and External Reviewers.  

Critical Needs: 

  1. A new Indigenous Innovation Ecosystem can address the engagement gaps, knowledge gaps, curriculum gaps, research gaps and the talent gap facing business schools and the Indigenous business community. 
  2. Business Schools need to Indigenize curriculum, pedagogy, research and relationships to attract more Indigenous business students and researchers to foster new business innovation, grow new research collaborations, and new wellbeing outcomes.
  3. Indigenous-led research collaborations aligned with Indigenous priorities can innovate new products, services and value creation resulting in transformed Indigenous economies with stronger industry competitiveness, new markets, and job creation.
  4. Indigenous Innovation can address economic reconciliation needs and the grand challenges in the global economy.

Four Impact Areas

Impact Area 1: Indigenous Knowledge Mobilization 
Indigenous Knowledge mobilization strategies are providing culturally relevant and appropriate education to support new action agendas and activities;

Impact Area 2: Increased Business School Capacity and Leadership
New Business Schools leadership is growing talent and developing multidisciplinary research project to support Indigenous economic growth.

Impact Area 3: Indigenous-led Research Collaborations and Capacity Building
Indigenous-led research collaborations are aligned with Indigenous priorities can innovate new products, services and value creation resulting in transformed Indigenous economies with stronger industry competitiveness, new markets, and job creation.

Impact Area 4: Indigenous Innovation Economic Reconciliation 
Indigenous Innovation Economic Reconciliation is addressing the grand challenges in the global economy.

c. How can I become a Luminary Charter Partner and support the Luminary SSF Project : 

In the spring of 2024, we will be inviting organizations to join the Luminary SSF Project Network as champions and collaborators.

Please provide your contact information here if you would like us to send you the project invitation in the spring. 

d. Addressing the Research and Innovation Engagement Gap

Research and innovation need to be embraced as a fundamental driver for next generation pathways to achieve accelerated and transformative Indigenous economic development, employment and wellbeing. Historically, Indigenous people have been excluded from Canada’s research facilities and the tremendous resources and programs these institutions offer. A consequence of this engagement gap is that Indigenous people lack an orientation to research as a catalyst for growth.

Every year, the Global Innovation Index (GII) ranks the innovation performance of nearly 130 economies around the world. In this year’s GII study, Canada ranked 17 out of 100 on the Global Innovation Index. Switzerland, Sweden, and USA ranked 1 to 3, respectively. But what would Canada’s placement be if we were just looking at Indigenous businesses? [2] It would be significantly lower, more like the rankings of some emerging African countries such as The Republic of Malawi, which scored 118. It is instructive to examine the characteristics of ‘innovation’ in emerging countries and note that it describes very much the same kind of characteristics that we see in the Canadian Indigenous business and innovation landscape.

In 2019, in collaboration with research agencies, academic institutions, business schools, Indigenous business, private sector and NGO’s, a series of forums were held across the country to identify and discuss issues in Indigenous innovation. Over 500 people attended these dialogues which focused on the role of research and innovation as a catalyst to Indigenous economic wellbeing. 

It was these discussions which provided the deep insights into the current landscape which describes the issues and impediments to innovation as well as the opportunities to literally transform the Indigenous economy. However this transformation could only be accelerated if Canada’s business schools and Indigenous businesses and economic community. 

These discussions were the underpinnings to the Luminary Charter Planning Initiative in 2020/21 and a resolve to work with business schools, researchers, academic instiutions and Indigenous communities and businesses to reshape the landscape and co-create the conditions needed to increase Indigenous multi-disciplinary research collaborations and innovation.

[2] Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO (Soumitra Dutta, Bruno Lanvin, and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent Editors), Global Innovation Index 2019: Creating Healthy Lives—The Future of Medical Innovation, Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva. 2019