Conestoga news

September 2, 2016 11:27 AM

Ontario invests in research for food processing innovation

The Ontario government will provide $540,000 to support applied research at Conestoga College that will drive innovation for the food and beverage industry, the province’s largest manufacturing sector.

August 2016 prov funding announcement.JPG
Conestoga College will receive $540,000 in funding, which will go towards applied research for Ontario's food and beverage processing sector. Above left to right: Robert Gordon, Wilfrid Laurier University; Sandra Banks, University of Waterloo; Luis Lehner, Perimeter Institute; Daiene Vernile, MPP for Kitchener Centre; The Honourable Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP for Cambridge; John Tibbits, Conestoga College; Julia Biedermann, Conestoga College; and Barbara Fennessy, Conestoga College.

The funding, provided through the Ontario Research Fund’s College-Industry Innovation Fund, is part of a provincial investment of more than $3.6M in world-class research across Waterloo Region that will build the knowledge-based economy and sharpen the province’s competitive edge.

The Honourable Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP for Cambridge and Daiene Vernile, MPP for Kitchener Centre, visited Conestoga’s Cambridge campus on August 31 to announce the research awards presented to Conestoga, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Perimeter Institute.

The Ontario Research Fund grant awarded to Conestoga will expand applied research activities in two primary areas: automation in food processing and packaging as well as food safety in processing and packaging technology.

“This investment in applied research for Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector will provide substantial benefits to our region’s largest manufacturing sector, supporting the development of new solutions that will lead to industry advancement,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We are very pleased to work with our industry and government partners to drive innovation that will contribute to new jobs, enhanced training opportunities and increased competitiveness of local SMEs in the global marketplace.”

Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector is one of the province’s economic engines, accounting for more than 130,000 direct jobs and generating $41 billion in revenue. There are almost 3,000 food and beverage processing businesses in the province.

The Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology opened at Conestoga’s Cambridge campus in 2012 provides education, training and applied research to address the sector’s needs, delivering solutions that will enhance productivity and food safety, reduce waste and production costs, and increase the competitiveness of food and beverage processing in Ontario.

Conestoga’s applied research initiatives support a growing group of industry and community partners in their efforts to innovate, improve, and address real-world needs and opportunities. Priority areas include food innovation and technology, advanced manufacturing, energy and environment, and healthy communities and seniors care.

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