College, SMB tech projects across Canada receiving $73 million from federal government

Georgian College

The federal government is investing $73 million to help 90 recipients at colleges, cégeps, and polytechnics across the country partner with local employers to facilitate research, development, and commercialization of new technologies.

“Researchers at colleges and polytechnics are well equipped to partner with industry to help boost Canadian innovation.”

Through this investment, students will develop over 100 projects with small- and medium-sized businesses to advance industry technology, such as Industry 4.0, information strategies, and data analytics, in sectors ranging from advanced manufacturing to agriculture. The announcement was made at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont., which will receive $2 million over five years to use smart manufacturing techniques such as VR, 3D printing, automation, and robotics to help local manufacturers.

“This federal government funding will support enhanced research partnerships involving Georgian and leading area employers and manufacturers that will strengthen and stimulate economic development in our region,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, president and CEO of Georgian College. “Our research activity will engage more than 50 industry partners providing relevant experiential learning opportunities for more than 450 students in applied research activities preparing them to fully contribute and thrive in the workplace when they graduate.”

The investment is being made through the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program and the College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF). CCI’s objective is to increase innovation at the regional level by allowing Canadian colleges to work with local small and medium-sized businesses. The program supports applied research and collaborations that facilitate commercialization, technology transfer, adaptation, and adoption.

The CIIF aims to increase the capacity of colleges to support business innovation in Canada by providing them with state-of-the-art, industry-relevant research infrastructure to foster partnerships with the private sector. Both the CIIF and CIC are funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

RELATED: Over $20B in funding is available to Canadian tech companies (if you know where to look)

“NSERC values the tremendous contributions of Canada’s colleges in the research and innovation ecosystem,” said Marc Fortin, vice president of Research Partnerships for the NSERC. “Today’s investment will enhance our country’s world-class research capacity, help businesses innovate to create growth, and train our next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs.”

In 2017, the federal government invested $37.4 million into 37 projects at colleges, institutes, and cégeps across the country to support colleges’ applied R&D collaborations with industry leaders, in addition to the commercialization of new technologies. The program, called the Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund, was to increase industry and post-secondary collaboration, provide hands-on learning opportunities for students, and ally colleges with the needs of companies and strategic sectors.

“The power of research is exemplified when it is applied to tackle real-world problems,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. “Whether addressing the development of novel agri-food products or expanding the frontiers of aerospace and manufacturing technologies, researchers at colleges and [polytechnics] are well equipped to partner with industry to help boost Canadian innovation.”

Image courtesy Georgian College via Facebook

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast