Conestoga news

July 31, 2006 2:34 PM

Conestoga a Partner in First College Network for Industrial Innovation

KITCHENER, July 31 - In the first funding award of its kind, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation has awarded $3.5 million to ten colleges under the Ontario Research Commercialization Program (ORCP) to help build college capacity for industry-focused research and commercialization.

The College Network for Industry Innovation (CNII) is an alliance of Ontario colleges (Algonquin, Centennial, Conestoga, Fanshawe, George Brown, Humber, Niagara, Seneca, Sheridan and St. Clair) that have come together to mobilize their collective expertise and resources for applied research and commercialization activities. The focus of the CNII is on incremental innovation, through the development and testing of products and services that directly address real world challenges and scientific uncertainties faced by business and industry.

CNII research and commercialization activities will be industry-driven ("market pull") and assist Ontario companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, develop and maintain market competitiveness. The CNII's research activities will both complement and differ from university research activities as they will primarily be industry-driven, very applied in nature and quick to commercialize.

"We are pleased the provincial government has confirmed the important contribution colleges make to applied research and development in Ontario, and the important role small- and medium-sized companies play in the provincial economy," says Conestoga President John Tibbits. "Opening research opportunities for colleges is essential to a creative, effective strategy for Ontario's economic growth. Conestoga has a long history of working with regional companies to provide advanced training support. We look forward to building on this strong foundation to expand our research and commercialization services and maximize use of our research facilities."

The CNII will provide direct assistance to industry to:

  • Assess needs and capacities using Network-common tools and techniques.
  • Conduct applied research activities for product or process development that result in effective technology/knowledge transfer to industry.
  • Access specialized equipment and expertise at individual colleges or through the CNII.
  • Identify technologies to meet industry goals (including university-based technology), and test and evaluate these technologies as they apply to specific situations.
  • An Industry Strategy Board consisting of industry leaders will govern the CNII to ensure the Network and its activities maintain an industry-driven focus.

    Network activities will be supported through College Industry Innovation Centres (CIICs), co-located with college research offices, to serve as a focal point for industry access and research and development activities. Individual colleges will operate as specialized resources or "nodes" in sectors key to Ontario's economy. These include:

  • Manufacturing and Materials - Conestoga College and St. Clair College
  • Alternative Energy - Humber College
  • Digital Media - Sheridan College and Centennial College
  • Environmental Technologies - Fanshawe College
  • Hospitality and Tourism - Niagara College and George Brown College
  • Information and Communication Technologies - Algonquin College
  • Health and Life Sciences - George Brown College
  • Viticulture and Agri-Business - Niagara College
  • CNII Lead and Secretariat - Seneca College.
  • Working as a network, the CNII will use the Ministry funding to assist Ontario companies adopt and adapt new discoveries, experiment with solutions to problems, and explore opportunities to meet market needs and enhance their competitive position.

    For more information contact:

    Katharine Janzen, CNII Steering Committee Chair, Seneca College
    416-491-5050, ext. 3461,