Niagara College applauds federal government’s investment in applied research

Teams of students, faculty and research leads from NC’s Research & Innovation division Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (pictured left) and Food & Beverage Innovation Centre (pictured right) work on solutions for industry.

Niagara College welcomes funding introduced in the federal government’s 2023-2024 budget that will support applied research at colleges as they partner with Canadian business for projects that address their innovation challenges.

The budget, announced March 28, includes $108.6 million over three years to expand the College and Community Innovation program, administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

“This important investment recognizes the vital role that colleges play in helping businesses – especially small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) – innovate and increase their competitiveness,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Niagara College’s Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Strategic Enterprises.

Nantel is also the Chair of the College Applied Research Taskforce, a partnership between Colleges and Institutes Canada, Polytechnics Canada, Tech-Access Canada and le Réseau Synchronex, the network of CCTTs (College Centres for the Transfer of Technologies). In Fall 2022, and in February 2023, on behalf of the Taskforce, Nantel made a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that called on the government to accelerate business-led research and development through increased investment in the Tri-Council College and Community Innovation program, which funds research collaboration between business and colleges.

“The investments made by the federal government to date have enabled us to work with thousands of SMEs, developing and testing new products, for example, so we are thrilled with the increased investment in NSERC’s College and Community Innovation program – a cornerstone of our own applied research program in NC’s four innovation centres,” said Nantel.

NC currently collaborates with businesses through its Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre; Food & Beverage Innovation Centre; Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre; and Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. Through federal government investments, these centres have provided solutions for hundreds of innovation partners during the past 23 years. NC is currently the top research college in Ontario, and No. 2 in Canada, according to Research Infosource Inc’s annual index “Top 50 Research Colleges in Canada.”

NC’s award-winning Research & Innovation division administers research funding through investments from various regional, provincial, and federal agencies. Students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty and staff researchers to assist industry partners’ leap forward in the marketplace. Students come from a variety of the College’s programs, such as the Commercial Cannabis Production Program, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, Business Administration – Marketing, and Computer Programmer.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 9,500 students from over 80 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at