Brock and Niagara College receive $750,000 each to help local businesses innovate

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Brock and Niagara College receive $750,000 each to help local businesses innovate

Published on November 17 2010


Niagara College and Brock University have received federal research funding that will allow both institutions to help local business innovate and bring new products and processes to market.

Both Brock and Niagara College have received the maximum $750,000 in funding as part of the Applied Research and Commercialization Program (ARC), supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario - FedDev Ontario.

The funds will allow Brock University through its Brock Research department, and Niagara College, through its applied research division Niagara Research, to work with small and medium-size companies (SMEs) in areas that include product and process applied research; engineering design; technology development; product testing; proof of concept; piloting and problem solving.

Projects eligible for the ARC initiative include those in the information and communication technology, advanced manufacturing, greenhouse/viticulture/horticulture, renewable energy, environmental technologies, applied health, bio-manufacturing and digital interactive media sectors, although projects that fall outside these areas of focus will be considered.

Projects eligible for ARC are open to almost all SMEs from Southwestern Ontario. SMEs are defined as companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

“Programs like the Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative are critical to building a more innovative and versatile Canadian economy for the future,” said Dr. Ian Brindle, Vice-President Research at Brock University. “This program will help researchers partner with entrepreneurs and leverage each other’s strengths for Niagara’s benefit.”

“We at Niagara College applaud the government’s growing investment in applied research,” said Niagara College President Dan Patterson. “Applied research is strengthening our economy by helping companies innovate and develop new products and processes that have tremendous commercial value. Local companies are better able to compete worldwide through applied research.”

Companies whose projects are selected for the program will provide $25,000 in cash or in kind and FedDev will provide $50,000. Niagara College and Brock will each work with a committee of business and industry leaders to review and approve proposals.

All projects will be identified, approved and initiated by March 31, 2011 and completed by March 31, 2012.

The initiative is being welcomed by local enterprises who have used applied research services to innovate and grow, including Convergent Telecom, a Niagara-based telecommunications business that has worked with Niagara College’s Niagara Research to develop mobile applications and interfaces.

“We’ve been able to accomplish a great deal that we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own,” said Roland Bissell, CEO of Convergent Telecom. “It’s a win-win that has helped students gain practical experience, while our company has been able to push the envelope in terms of innovation.”

To apply to partner with Brock University on this initiative, please fill out the online forms at http://brocku.ca/government-relations/research-and-commercialization

rick dykstra

Ian Brindle, Rick Dykstra and Steven Hudson (Niagara College's Vice-President Academic) chat at the Nov. 12 announcement.