Niagara College builds new dedicated cannabis research facility

Installation of the new “CannaResearchBunker” at the Daniel J. Patterson campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The Niagara College Cannabis Production Research Chamber to provide new research opportunities in applied cannabis research

By Courtney De Caire, NC Communications

Niagara College has expanded its unique on-campus cannabis education capabilities to include a new Cannabis Production Research Chamber. The new facility will provide the required space and specialized equipment to grow crops, complete trials, and conduct research in partnership with the cannabis industry.

Located at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this new research space – which is affectionately called the “CannaResearchBunker” – is comprised of two retrofitted sea containers that have been connected to the existing academic facility (the original “CannaBunker”). The expansion is part of the Niagara College Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC) – a centre within the college’s Research & Innovation division.

“The installation of the CannaResearchBunker will allow Niagara College to expand our trailblazing work with the cannabis industry,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, vice president, Research & External Relations. “With this dedicated cannabis research facility and access to state-of-the-art equipment, our staff and students can push forward our vision of being a globally recognized teaching, training and applied research institute.”

Niagara College’s Commercial Cannabis Production program – the first of its kind in Canada – was launched in 2018 and has seen significant interest from the cannabis community. The new Cannabis Production Research Chamber will allow Niagara College students and researchers to expand their research capacity beyond the academic space.

The AETIC Cannabis Production Research Chamber will enable the testing and utilization of sensors, unique lighting arrays, integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, and other innovative concepts that require applied research work prior to use in licensed producers’ spaces, and commercial adoption.

“Niagara College strives to provide our students with exceptional experiential learning opportunities and the addition of the CannaResearchBunker will enable our students to receive world-class, hands-on learning experience in cannabis cultivation research, which will prepare them for a successful career in the cannabis industry,” said Nantel.

The new research facility was made possible by a $149,918 grant to Niagara College through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) from the Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants (ARTI) program.

Intake for research projects in the AETIC Cannabis Production Research Chamber will begin in the fall of 2021. For project inquiries, please reach out to Elizabeth Best, business development coordinator, at [email protected].

For more information about Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division and the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC), please visit the AETIC webpage.

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

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit