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New research partnerships for colleges and communities support Canada's economic recovery

Eleven colleges will work with their communities and local businesses to get new innovations from campuses into the marketplace, as a result of investments announced today by the Harper Government. These new partnerships will develop a number of diverse, environmentally-friendly... () —

Eleven colleges will work with their communities and local businesses to get new innovations from campuses into the marketplace, as a result of investments announced today by the Harper Government. These new partnerships will develop a number of diverse, environmentally-friendly technologies, and strengthen industry community and academic relationships. Projects funded today include improving the performance of renewable energy technologies, finding sustainable solutions to the pollutants and wastes generated by industries and municipalities, and producing innovative biobased products such as biofuels. Speaking at College communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick today, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, announced funding for these and other projects.

"Our government supports innovation because it creates jobs, improves the quality of life of Canadians and strengthens the economy," said Minister Clement. "These new partnerships will provide skills training for the communities in which they are based, position Canadian colleges as a destination for top research talent and give local businesses in communities across the country access to the knowledge and resources they need to innovate and commercialize new products and services."

The eleven new projects announced today will receive a total of nearly $15 million under the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program. In one project, College communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick is developing a commercialization and training centre for bio-refinery and fermentation research and technology. University researchers and biorefinery companies will use the centre to validate technologies prior to production roll-out or licensing.

The College and Community Innovation Program ( is a collaborative initiative between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Established by the Government of Canada in Budget 2007, the program enables colleges to develop or expand research transfer activities in their communities through partnerships with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Our government understands that science powers commerce. To remain at the forefront of the global economy, we will continue to invest in the people, labs, facilities and ideas that will produce tomorrow's breakthroughs," said Minister Clement.

The eleven colleges were selected for funding following a peer-reviewed competition, and they will each receive grants lasting between two and five years. They join the inaugural projects announced in 2009.

"The CCI Program supports innovation at a community level by fostering collaboration between industry and post-secondary institutions," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC, which administers the program. "When local companies and colleges work together, everyone benefits; jobs are created, industry expands and the community prospers. This program transforms research and development into economic benefit for the people and businesses in their areas."

"The CCI Program works well. It provides college faculty and students enhanced learning opportunities through participation in applied research and strengthens businesses through innovation," said James Knight, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. "The government's support of the CCI Program reflects an understanding of the key contribution of colleges, institutes and polytechnics to Canada's productivity and economic growth."

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28,000 students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. The Council promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

More information on the College and Community Innovation Program and the eleven funded projects is available in the backgrounder.


College and Community Innovation Program

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program provides institutions with funding to stimulate applied research transfer in their communities. CCI supports projects in environmental science and technologies; natural resources and energy; health and related life sciences and technologies; and information and communication technologies.

The program, a joint pilot project of the three federal granting agencies, is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Acknowledging the pilot's success, the Government of Canada made CCI a permanent program in Budget 2007. The program currently supports 45 projects at 40 colleges across Canada.

Projects are selected through a rigorous peer review process that includes assessment by a Private Sector Advisory Board, comprising leaders from the Canadian business R&D sector. The eleven recipients in this fifth CCI competition will receive a total of almost $15 million for two to five years, from fiscal year 2009-2010 to fiscal year 2014-2015.

Round V - 2010 funded projects:

College communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick, Bathurst, New Brunswick: The college is developing a bio-refinery with production scale fermentation equipment manned by staff, allowing university researchers and biorefinery and industrial fermentation companies to scale-up and validate technologies prior to production roll-out or licensing. This commercialization and training centre will play a key role in biorefinery and fermentation research and technology, and product and process development in Atlantic Canada. Regional universities, bioenergy research institutions and small and medium-sized businesses are using bacteria and yeast fermentation to produce innovative biobased products such as biofuels, enzymes and biorenewable chemicals. The refinery fills the current capacity gap between the laboratory scale and full-scale production. The college will act as a technology transfer and commercialization focal point for regional collaborations.

Nova Scotia Community College, Halifax, Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Community College and Green Power Labs Inc. are collaborating on research that will improve the performance of renewable energy technologies. The college has committed to playing a leadership role in advancing the local sustainable energy industry through the establishment of an Applied Energy Research group and new research facilities in the Centre for the Built Environment. This unique green facility is designed to teach, train and showcase energy and environmental technologies for a more sustainable future using building-integrated geothermal, wind and solar energy, and advanced control and monitoring systems.

Cegep Andre-Laurendeau, Lasalle, Quebec: CEGEP Andre-Laurendeau wants to meet the research and technology-transfer needs of a large number of Quebec industries. One way that it hopes to do so is by supporting its two college centres for technology transfer: Optech, which specializes in optics and photonics, and the Institut international de logistique de Montreal, which specializes in logistics. It also involves establishing close working relationships with local and regional businesses and enabling the Optech College Centre for Technology Transfer to establish a centre of expertise for designing, manufacturing, and testing (including reliability and encapsulation testing) of optical components. With the resources and skills that it has developed over the years, the centre now fields a team of professionals and educators who are ready to meet the challenge of applied research.

Cegep de Sainte-Hyacinthe, Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec: Polymeric materials (textiles, composites, plastics) are envisaged to provide innovative solutions in many sectors. In particular, the weight optimization of vehicles is a high priority. Pre-impregnated composite fibres are currently used, but they are expensive and require an expensive process. Faster and less expensive infusion processes have potential. However, the realization of preforms corresponding to complex forms of 3D composite parts by assembling and superpositioning of multiple thin 2D reinforcement fabric layers is a slow and demanding process. The fabrication of one piece complex 3D fabrics presents a very promising future. The cegep, in partnership with industries, intends to build research capacity to develop a platform for the manufacture of complex 3D preforms to support the production of composite parts, particularly in aeronautics.

Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario: Georgian College is investigating specific solar energy technologies that will strengthen and improve the capabilities of its corporate partners and regional manufacturers in the alternative energy sector. Its Solar Energy Technology Research Program will centralize its efforts in applied research and innovation in solar energy technologies, support innovation within Central Ontario, promote collaborations with industry partners, increase faculty expertise, and provide exceptional student learning opportunities in applied research and solar energy technologies. The overall goal is to support projects that emphasize the optimization of solar energy capture/conversion/transfer technology and systems installation.

Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Oakville, Ontario: Around the world, older adults are the fastest growing age group, and Canada is no different. While we celebrate the success of increasing life spans, we must respond to the challenges of providing optimum health for older Canadians. Sheridan College, through the Sheridan Elder Research Centre, is spearheading innovative approaches to promoting health and well-being for aging Canadians and their families. By partnering with regional industries, the centre will explore ways to support small and medium-sized businesses as they respond to the significant market opportunities presented by this demographic phenomenon. This initiative will embrace several unique projects to design technology applications that promote cognitive health and social inclusion.

Sir Sandford Fleming College, Peterborough , Ontario: The Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment is highly regarded for its advanced research facilities. The centre will maximize the college's ability to engage in high calibre research and to identify, recognize and respond to the applied research needs of local and regional industry; focus research activities on water and wastewater treatment technologies; develop and implement strategies for the integration of student research activities; enhance local economic development by working with local and regional industry to meet the needs of the water and wastewater technology industry; and work with local industry, and governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations to achieve long-term sustainability for applied research activities at the college.

Grand Prairie Regional College, Grand Prairie, Alberta: Grande Prairie Regional College is very aware of the pollutants and wastes generated by industries and municipalities. The college, its partners and stakeholders have dedicated the last decade and $1.5 million developing local sustainable solutions through three applied research projects. One project diverts treated municipal wastewater from waterways to a hybrid poplar research grove for enhanced tree growth, increased CO2 capture and the production of industrial wood fibre. Each project contributes to a reduction of the region's wastes and harnesses natural processes to turn atmospheric pollutants to useful products.

Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta: The college's multi-faceted project seeks to develop a practical approach for the detection, tracing and destruction of antibiotics and hormones in biowaste. There is a growing public concern for the presence of antibiotics and hormones in water and soil, and their pathway to the food chain. During their lifespan, 60-80 percent of livestock are treated with antibiotics and hormones, and much of the dose is excreted unchanged or as active metabolites. The project collaborates with Highmark Renewables Research and other members of Biowaste to Energy for Canada Integration Initiative Corp., a unique, not-for-profit clean energy corporation that brings together institutions and organizations with an interest in the bio-energy sector.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton, Alberta: Industrial growth is putting pressure on Alberta's boreal forest with a growing backlog of almost 50,000 abandoned oil and gas well sites. Land reclamation restores industrial sites to a state similar to their original condition using native boreal plants. The novaNAIT Boreal Research Institute contributes forest ecological knowledge through oil and gas companies, reclamation companies, government, and First Nations and Metis partners. Local enterprises carry out most of the reclamation work. The program develops ties with Aboriginal and Metis communities, and incorporates aboriginal ecological knowledge into reclamation practices. Reclamation will have a positive impact on the boreal forest and the economic outlook for communities in the boreal region.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey, British Columbia: The college's two-year project launches a research and development program for new fungal biopesticides in a bioproduct "incubator" facility, with expertise from the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture at Kwantlen, industry and government. Naturally occurring fungal organisms have the potential to provide environmentally sound biological solutions to pest problems in horticulture and agriculture. Developing local strains will help address the need for biological tools for future food production and landscape preservation. Local small and medium-sized businesses partnered with Kwantlen to bring these products to market.