At its national conference in May, the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) honoured the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led consortium, with the Research Partnership Award. The distinction recognizes “a project, program or long-term collaboration that has had a significant economic impact or other positive local, national or global implications.”
CARA is a national voice for research administrators in Canada. Its more than 1,000 members represent various types of organizations including universities, colleges, polytechnics, and health research institutes.
Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), SONAMI is a network of six colleges and one university, who, through their respective Research and Innovation Centres, collaborated with small- and medium-sized companies in Southern Ontario to turn innovations into commercialized products. SONAMI leverages faculty, students and state-of-the-market equipment to support manufacturing.
Since its launch in May 2015, SONAMI has worked with 109 industry partners on 146 projects, developing 551 prototypes. So far, 164 students, research leads and faculty have gained current advanced manufacturing experience working on projects. More than 280 jobs were created or maintained because of the project, and 144 products have been commercialized.
“We’ve known from the beginning that we had something special in SONAMI – as have our industry partners and students – but to have it recognized by CARA for partnership of the year is quite gratifying,” noted Marc Nantel, PhD, Vice-President, Research, Innovation & Strategic Initiatives. “It’s just another example of Niagara College leading the pack on applied research in Canada.”
NC’s Carolyn Mullin, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships for Research & Innovation, accepted the award at the CARA gala at its annual conference in Montreal last month.
Celebrating 20 years of research excellence, NC’s Research & Innovation division provides real-world solutions for business, key industry sectors and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities. This includes conducting projects that provide innovative solutions, such as producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products or processes for small- and medium-sized businesses.