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New research program at UNB to address manufacturing competitiveness in New Brunswick

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on May 27, 2019

Category: UNB Fredericton , myUNB , UNB Saint John

Herb Emery

The University of New Brunswick has a new program devoted to delivering timely and relevant research and advancing public understanding of the factors that impact manufacturing competitiveness in New Brunswick.

The JDI Roundtable on Manufacturing Competitiveness in New Brunswick will be an integral, high-profile and ongoing component of the new Atlantic Institute for Policy Research at UNB.

The program chair for the Roundtable, Dr. Herb Emery, holds the Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics at UNB and studies the persistence of long-standing regional disparities in the Canadian economy.

“The intent is to make the Roundtable the go-to source for evidence-based analysis on manufacturing competitiveness and the education of future economists,” said Dr. Emery. “It will focus discussion on big-picture issues and structures of the regional economy to better understand why the region has struggled to grow and what we can do to change that course.”

An advisory group, with representatives from academia, industry and the New Brunswick Business Council, is providing strategic support for the program, and Dr. Emery is building a research team to support its objectives.

The signature activity of the Roundtable will be an annual forum, which will bring together global thought leaders and regional stakeholders to address the challenges facing manufacturers, particularly those affecting New Brunswick and the Maritimes. It will be held this year on Sept. 26, 2019, at the Fredericton Convention Centre. The theme for the Roundtable forum is Manufacturing Competitiveness as a Foundation for Building a Better New Brunswick.

“To prepare for the forum, I’m meeting with stakeholders throughout the province,” said Dr. Emery. “Their input is helping to define research projects on three topics that will be presented and discussed in September.”

The first topic is the traditional strength of manufacturing in New Brunswick, the post-2008 decline, and what manufacturing needs to come back. The second focuses on labour supply and labour shortages, and the third will tackle the reasons for the low level of private sector investment in the province and what can be done to reinvigorate this economic driver.

“By focusing on public education and engagement, and engaging with those working in industry, government, academia and the private sector, the Roundtable will identify the particular issues that influence competitiveness for current manufacturers in New Brunswick,” said UNB President Dr. Eddy Campbell. “Once the results of the research are available, the group will report on key issues and policy options for the province.”

The JDI Roundtable on Manufacturing Competitiveness in New Brunswick is made possible thanks to a core investment of $2 million from J.D. Irving, Limited.

Jim Irving, co-CEO of J.D. Irving, Limited, says that finding ways to boost the regional economy is part of the company’s commitment to ensure vibrant communities that keep and bring our young people home.

“By partnering with Dr. Emery and leading global experts, the JDI Roundtable aims to inform and advance the discussion around the importance of sustaining and growing manufacturing opportunities in New Brunswick.”

UNB is currently seeking additional support from other private-sector sources and government agencies.

Visit unb.ca/roundtable for more information.

Media contact: Mara Mallory

Photo credit: UNB