Niagara College will continue to expand its services and equipment for Niagara’s manufacturers as a result of today’s announcement of $1.75 million over five years for the Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara (IIC@N).
The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), delivered the news as part of a nationwide announcement of grants through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). During today’s event, Minister Holder also announced another $287,795 in funding for equipment for Niagara College’s research and innovation division, Niagara Research, which runs the Industry Innovation Centre.
“Moving ideas efficiently from the laboratory to the marketplace is key to driving Canadian innovation forward. Our government is strengthening partnerships between colleges and local businesses to improve business and college innovation while creating jobs and prosperity for Canadians,” Minister Holder said during the announcement.
“This is exciting news for us, as it allows us to formalize the work begun a year ago,” notes Marc Nantel, Associate Vice-President of Research, Niagara College. “With this funding, we will be able to ramp up our activity and better serve the manufacturing industry, with increased equipment and services, as well as by hiring a centre manager, a full-time researcher and a dedicated technologist.”
“The Niagara region has more than 800 small- and medium-sized manufacturers who are working hard to be competitive, yet in many cases they do not have in-house research and innovation capacity,” adds Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College. “That’s where our research division comes in. Our faculty and students work with local manufacturers to improve their products and efficiency. These projects then contribute to job creation and the overall revival of the manufacturing sector in the region.”
Located at the Welland Campus, the Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara (IIC@N) will also provide support services and mentorship to hundreds of companies as a result of training and networking opportunities. IIC@N provides small regional manufacturers access to needed facilities, equipment, technical expertise – including 3D printing and 3D scanning of objects as small as a dime and as large as a whole factory – and services to assist them in product development, technology adoption, expansion into new markets and commercialization.
The centre was launched in May 2013 thanks to funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative fund, and support from the Province of Ontario and key regional partners such as Niagara Economic Development and the Niagara Industrial Association.
The minister’s announcement was made at Nova Scotia Community College’s Waterfront Campus, and included nearly $40 million in grants to colleges across Canada to support applied research and development activities with industry.
The additional $287,795 was awarded by NSERC from the Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants (ARTI), to support the purchase of applied research equipment and installations to foster and enhance the ability of colleges to undertake applied research, innovation and training in collaboration with local companies.
The Niagara College grants include $130,096 for equipment and software to translate 3D scanned data into computer-aided design software, for the IIC@N team; $29,949 for a web portal server for Niagara Research’s precision agriculture team; and $127,750 for an aquaponics system and growth chambers for the horticulture team.
NSERC aims to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.
Niagara Research provides real-world solutions for business, industry and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities.
The division conducts 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. With funding support from various provincial and federal agencies, students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty researchers to assist industry partners leap forward in the marketplace.
Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education 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, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visitNiagaraCollege.ca.