Niagara College Commercialization Plan & Policy
Niagara College is a leader in Ontario and Canada in industry-collaborative applied research. Most applied research and commercialization activities at Niagara College that involve industry partners are conducted through our Research & Innovation (R&I) division. Course-based applied research projects occur organically through the many academic programs, with support from R&I.
We currently engage industry through our four Innovation Centres, focused on key industries in the Niagara region, but with application to the whole of Ontario and Canada:
- Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre (BCIC)
- Food & Beverage Innovation Centre (FBIC)
- Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC)
- Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC)
Niagara College is also leading two networks of post-secondary institutions who share IPON’s current (and likely future) priorities. The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) and the Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN) are those networks. SONAMI counts Niagara College (lead), Sheridan College, Mohawk College, McMaster University, Conestoga College, Fanshawe College, Lambton College, Centennial College, and George Brown College as members, with several more to be recruited for 2023-24. GTN counts Niagara College (lead), University of Guelph, Vineland Research Innovation Centre, University of Windsor, and Brock University as members.
Niagara College’s applied research program is meant to benefits five main stakeholder groups:
- Industry and community partner
- College employees
- The college itself
- Societal at large
The modes of engagement happen in three different ways:
- Course-based projects
- Applied research projects
- Technical services
Our approach and mandate are to support innovation in partnership with companies, which we assist companies with their commercialization. The industry or community partner is expected to contribute a match of at least 1:1 to any government funding used to conduct the project. Our position is that the IP developed through these projects typically belongs to the industry partners, as they are best positioned to decide how to handle and commercialize foreground IP. IP arising of projects entirely paid by the industry or community partner belongs to the partner.
Partner companies are recruited in a variety of ways, including:
- Word of mouth
- Referrals from the innovation ecosystem
- Participation at sectoral conferences and trade shows
- On-campus visits
- Outgoing communications through our e-Newsletter, digital and social media, and traditional media
Project intake is conducted through an application form on our website filled by the industry partner with the help of our Business Development staff. Each of these are evaluated in the Project Review Committee composed of research administrators that will be involved in the conduct of the projects, according to criteria related to benefitting the five stakeholder groups listed above.
Since R&I is centralized, collaboration on IP and commercialization activities occurs throughout its operations. We are structured through the somewhat self-contained Innovation Centres, where staff, faculty, and students collaborate on research and innovation activities. The connective tissue for R&I activities is the research administration team, which includes staff handling Business Development, Dissemination & Outreach, Human Resources, Finance & Compliance, research-specific IT, which are shared for all Innovation Centres and interact with their counterparts in the College at large.
In this initial year of its Annual Commercialization Plan, Niagara College will endeavour to:
- Increase education and awareness on IP and commercialization with Niagara College employees, students, and applied-research industry/community partners.
- Design, implement, and disseminate efficient processes and forms for invention disclosures.
- Update collaboration agreements and forms in line with the Commercialization Policy.
- Increase awareness of the different organizations that help leverage commercialization in the province (IPON).
- Continued and increased engagement with local innovation ecosystem partners such as incubators, accelerators, innovation centres, research networks, and industry associations.
Information on research activities is available on the R&I website (ncinnovation.ca) and through a monthly e-Newsletter that provides news of projects, success stories, graduate profiles, and R&I employment opportunities (notably for Research Assistants and Research Associates on projects at all of our Innovation Centres).
Information on research activities is available on the R&I website (www.ncinnovation.ca) and through a monthly e-Newsletter that provides news of projects, success stories, graduate profiles, and R&I employment opportunities (notably for Research Assistants and Research Associates on projects in all of our Innovations Centres).
Commercialization Mandate Policy
The Province of Ontario issued its Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework in early 2022. The objective of Ontario’s Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework is to harness the intellectual property generated with the institution’s resources to achieve Ontario’s goal of ensuring that made-in-Ontario innovations benefit Ontarians.
Niagara College is committed to supporting Ontario’s Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework within the context of the role Ontario colleges play in applied
research and innovation.
Niagara College is uniquely positioned to collaborate with industry partners to advance innovation and facilitate commercialization of intellectual property in Ontario that creates economic and social benefits for our communities. In particular, applied research activities taking place at Ontario’s publicly funded colleges in partnership with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) create innovative solutions to challenges being experienced in our communities in a variety of settings.
These innovations will be a key driver for sustainable economic recovery, growth, and competitiveness in Ontario
and will be critically important as we collectively emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to increase innovation at the community and regional level, Niagara College will continue to rely on funding from granting agencies, primarily federal agencies, as the operating funding provided to colleges does not reflect the overhead costs of exploring, developing and overseeing applied research projects.
Ontario’s Commercialization Mandate Framework provides an opportunity to advance the role of the publicly funded college sector in research and innovation. Niagara College looks forward to continuing to support our partners in the
commercialization of intellectual property to realize the full benefits for all Ontarians.