Industry Canada: The Knowledge Infrastructure Program
In late January 2009, the assistant deputy minister of Industry Canada was considering how to design the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, which had unexpectedly been assigned to the department in the recent federal budget. A $2 billion spending program focused on knowledge infrastructure, its projects were required to be completed within two years. The immediate goals were to provide a significant short-term economic stimulus and help create jobs during the economic recession. The long-term objective was to fund the modernization plans of universities and colleges. However, there were severe challenges that had to be met: the program must begin within 120 days; there were significant staff constraints in the department; the regulatory process and Auditor General's standards must be followed and met; accountability standards had to be addressed; and the political element (both federal and provincial) of project selection must be taken into account. How could the program be designed and administered quickly despite the department`s limited capacity?