Ontario innovation consortium SOSCIP shuts down as three-year federal funding ends

advanced computing
SOSCIP helped researchers access advanced computing platforms and technical expertise.

The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) has shut down as its three-year funding term from the federal government concluded.

SOSCIP board co-chairs Leah Cowen and Mark Daley published a letter last week to announce the closure of the consortium.

The letter did not provide details as to why SOSCIP was shut down. According to Cowen and Daley’s joint statement, the SOSCIP team will be in touch with leaders of all current and past projects to arrange for “an orderly wind down.”

As of June 2022, SOSCIP claimed it had supported over 289 projects.

Developed as a joint project by several academic institutions in Ontario, SOSCIP helped academic and industry researchers access advanced computing platforms and technical expertise meant to advance Canada’s innovation economy. Its closure comes as its financing deal with the federal government was scheduled to end in 2022.

In 2019, SOSCIP received a $10 million CAD investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), meant to cover a three-year period. SOSCIP said at the time that the capital would be used to focus on a number of initiatives meant to foster industry adoption and commercialization of new technologies, as well as increase job creation.

Backed by federal funding, SOSCIP promised to create 400 collaborative projects focused on AI and data science, provide training opportunities for at least 1,000 personnel, drive the creation of 500 new jobs in southern Ontario, and deploy an equity, diversity, and inclusion plan over the course of those three years.

As of June 2022, SOSCIP claimed it had supported at least 289 projects, engaged 576 personnel, and helped 1059 students gain data science skills.

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SOSCIP was launched in 2012 as a collaboration between Ontario’s post-secondary institutions, IBM Canada, Ontario Centres of Excellence, as well as small and medium businesses. Consortium members include academic institutions across Ontario including the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Ontario Tech University, Seneca College, and OCAD University, among others.

To support SOSCIP’s formation, it received $175 million from IBM, $20 million from the Government of Canada, and $15 million from the Ontario government.

In 2015, SOSCIP also received a $20 million investment from the federal government and $65 million from IBM Canada to add new areas of focus, such as advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity, to its research projects.

Featured image courtesy SOSCIP.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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