Innovation Centre re-name reflects emphasis on horticultural science

Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC)

To better reflect the evolution of applied research in one of our main research centres, we today introduce the Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) at Niagara College.

Formerly named the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC), the main goal hasn’t changed; the Centre continues to offer a variety of applied research services for companies who are close to commercialization, or who could benefit from our expertise in informing innovation and business challenges.

The change is more about turning our focus more concertedly on horticultural science, which has been evolving as a major specialization for the past 15 years already. The Centre concentrates its resources on performing growth trials with horticultural crops that evaluate innovations and improvements. Our expertise includes assessing technologies, production practices, packaging, media and pots, pest and disease control approaches and more, providing third-party research and development services to meet the needs of our industry partners.

“Horticulture impacts our lives in many ways, whether it is through the fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables we enjoy, the medicinal benefits many plants provide, or the aesthetic characteristics of flowers, potted plants and trees that decorate our homes and communities,” notes Kimberley Cathline, Research Program Manager for HESIC. “We wanted a name that reflects this focus. We are looking forward to working with many more businesses interested in moving their innovations toward commercialization.”

Each applied research project includes a team of researchers and technologies, including faculty from the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, and from several programs – including Greenhouse Technician (Co-op), Horticultural Technician (Co-op), Commercial Cannabis Production, Commercial Beekeeping and Environmental Technician – to provide a wealth of knowledge to industry partners, giving them a competitive advantage in researching solutions.

Projects are conducted using specialized equipment and facilities at the Daniel J Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, including a 16,000 square-foot training greenhouse, an enclosed facility for licensed cannabis research, the CannaResearchBunker (alongside a similar academic cannabis facility, the CannaBunker), and specialized equipment – all dedicated to exploring forms of controlled-environment agriculture.

To learn more about the resources and capabilities, including growth trials and research done in integrated pest management, and to read more success stories, visit the Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre  on the Research & Innovation website.