Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

November 25, 2011 11:00 ET

Government of Canada Invests in Community Jobs and Growth

New research partnerships for colleges and communities to boost marketplace innovation

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2011) - The Government of Canada will support 18 community colleges that partner with businesses to collaborate on applied research projects, including projects related to new clean energy technologies, more efficient forestry practices and technology designed to assist senior citizens. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), announced these new partnerships at Mohawk College today.

"These new partnerships will provide skills training for students in the communities in which they are based, position Canadian colleges as a destination for top applied 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," said Minister of State Goodyear. "These partnerships are necessary if we are to improve innovation in this country. Our government supports innovation because it creates jobs, improves the quality of life of Canadians and strengthens the economy."

A total of 35 innovative partnerships between colleges and businesses will be provided with more than $13 million over a period of up to five years through the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program. The projects announced today were selected for funding following a peer-reviewed competition. This announcement follows other CCI investments announced in 2009 and 2010, bringing total CCI investments to date to over $120 million for 182 projects at 53 colleges.

Mohawk College received over $2.2 million to build a comprehensive microgrid system that will help design and test power systems. The Mohawk College Applied Research Centre in Energy Technology will partner with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Horizon Utilities Corporation, General Electric, Langford and Associates Incorporated - Schneider, Fuseforward International Inc., and McMaster University to create the microgrid.

The CCI Program is a collaborative initiative jointly managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The program has also received the support of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and Polytechnics Canada.

"These CCI investments provide colleges with access to the people, resources and tools they need to be at the forefront of innovation," said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC, which administers the program. "The ultimate goal is to create sustainable partnerships that will help sharpen our innovative edge and have a positive impact on the bottom line of our country and industry."

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 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 CCI Program, as well as the 35 funded projects, is available in the backgrounder.


College and Community Innovation Program

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

There are four types of grants available through the CCI Program:

1) Innovation Enhancement (IE) Grants are aimed at enhancing innovation at the community and/or regional level by enabling Canadian colleges to increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These grants support the direct costs associated with applied research and collaborations that facilitate commercialization, as well as technology transfer, adaptation and adoption of new technologies. IE Grants are awarded for either a two-year or five-year period. The two-year grants include funding of $100,000 per year over two years. The five-year grants include base funding of up to $500,000 per year for the first three years and up to $400,000 for the remaining two years.

2) Applied Research and Development (ARD) Grants are intended to provide companies that operate from a Canadian base with access to the knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian colleges and to train students in essential technical skills required by companies. The grants support short-term and small-scale projects that range from six months to three years in duration, with project costs being shared by the company partner. ARD Grant-funded projects can be at any point in the research and development (R&D) spectrum that is consistent with the college's applied research, training, and technology transfer mandate. There are three levels of funding under ARD Grants: under $25,000; up to $75,000; and over $75,000.

3) Applied Research Tools and Instruments (ARTI) Grants support the purchase of research equipment and installations to foster and enhance the ability of colleges to undertake applied research, innovation and training in collaboration with local companies. These grants are one- year awards that assist in buying applied research equipment that costs between $7,000 and $150,000.

4) Technology Access Centre (TAC) Grants provide funding for the core operations of centres established by colleges to address the applied research and innovation needs of local companies. The centres are intended to enhance the ability of companies, particularly SMEs, to become more productive and innovative by enabling them to readily access college expertise, technology and equipment. This access to college capabilities is intended to enhance the productivity, competitiveness and innovation of the participating SMEs. TAC Grants provide five-year, renewable funding of up to $350,000 per year.

Including those projects highlighted in today's announcement, the CCI Program has awarded over $120 million in funding to date, to support 182 projects at 53 colleges across Canada.

Projects are awarded funding through a rigorous peer review process that includes an assessment by the CCI Program Review Committee which is comprised of select members of the Private Sector Advisory Board. These members are leaders from the Canadian business R&D sector. The 18 recipients in this CCI Program competition will receive a total of more than $13 million for up to five years, from fiscal year 2011-12 to fiscal year 2016-17.

CCI Program 2011 Funded Projects:

1) Innovation Enhancement Grants

Collège Édouard-Montpetit (Longueuil, Quebec): The goal of this college's project is to implement new methods of inspecting aerospace components that are manufactured with composite materials. Composites are being used more and more in the manufacturing of new aircraft, to maximize their mechanical characteristics. This project, which is being carried out in partnership with the aerospace industry and several other institutions of higher learning in Quebec, will attempt to develop new methods of inspecting aerospace components manufactured with composite materials, to assure the quality of the parts manufactured.

Project Partners:

  • Héroux Devtek
  • Bombardier
  • L-3 Communication MAS
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada
  • Marquez Transtech
  • Delastek
  • FDC Composites
  • Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe

Cégep André-Laurendeau (Lasalle, Quebec): The goal of this college's project is to establish an applied research and technology transfer program to make companies more competitive. This will be done by helping companies make better use of optical/photonic technologies, giving them an enviable competitive lead over foreign markets. More specifically, this project will develop fibre-optic sensors for four specific applications: monitoring civil engineering structures, detecting environmental pollutants, monitoring stationary industrial machines, and monitoring mechanical and environmental parameters of aircraft.

Project Partners:

  • Theus Technologies
  • QPS Photronics
  • IR Photonics
  • ITF Labs
  • Bombardier
  • Parker Aerospace
  • Développement économique Lasalle
  • McGill University

Mohawk College (Hamilton, Ontario): To ensure a safe and reliable power system, designs and tests are crucial for distributed generators, equipment manufacturers and utility distribution networks. The Mohawk College Applied Research Centre in Energy Technology (MARC-ET) proposes to build a physical, comprehensive microgrid system in a test environment.

Project Partners:

  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
  • Horizon Utilities Corporation
  • General Electric
  • Langford and Associates Incorporated - Schneider
  • Fuseforward International Inc.
  • McMaster University

Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Quebec): The goal of this college's project is to support small and medium-sized mining companies in the Abitibi- Témiscamingue region and in northern Quebec in their efforts to adapt to the current environmental situation. This project deals with two subjects: the use of passive systems, including sulfate-reducing biofilters and artificial marshes, to treat acid mine drainage; and the revegetation of tailings heaps, waste rock dumps, and other kinds of sites disturbed by the mining industry.

Project Partners:

  • Centre Jardin Lac Pelletier
  • Mines Aurizon Ltée
  • IamGold Corporation
  • Corporation Minière Osisko
  • Technosub
  • Organisme de bassin versant du Témiscamingue

College of the North Atlantic (Burin, Newfoundland and Labrador): This project aims to build a second-generation wave-powered pump to produce large volumes of sea water. The potential applications of this pump include shore-based and sea-based aquaculture, industrial heating and cooling, and electrical generation.

Project Partners:

  • Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Edwards and Associates
  • Lord's Cove Harbour Authority
  • National Research Council Institute for Ocean Technology

College of New Caledonia (Prince George, British Columbia): The implications of climate change for the future wood supply are a concern throughout the forest industry. This project will include the establishment of an applied research program that will identify relationships between site attributes and risks to tree species. The college will work to establish and monitor key indicators such as trial tree plantations, the reliability of soil moisture, and different approaches to terrain mapping for the purpose of soil moisture analysis.

Project Partners:

  • Dunkley Lumber Ltd.

École nationale du cirque de Montréal (Montréal, Quebec): The École nationale de cirque plans to initiate collaborative processes with specialized local and regional private- sector partners for the creation of circus acts. The collaboration, through the development of innovative applied creative research projects, will allow the partners to build on the strategic and competitive advantage they have over their international competitors. The collaboration also aims to recognize new knowledge that has an important and lasting impact on the development of new knowledge and expertise transferable to the private sector and community.

Project Partners:

  • Cirque du Soleil

2) Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants

Collège Ahunstic (Montréal, Quebec): The goal of this college's project is to develop and establish the necessary methods for printing prototypes incorporating new functionalities, such as flexible screens, printed electronic circuits, and active packaging. For this purpose, the college will enhance the capabilities of its printability laboratory by adding flexographic and sergraphic printing technologies and by upgrading its gravure printing unit. The ultimate goal will be to transfer the findings made and the methodologies developed in the laboratory to industry, for use in production printing machines.

Cambrian College (Sudbury, Ontario) - First project: Inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) enables scientists to detect ultra-low levels of contaminant species from any desired sample. The ICP-MS will be used to test the level of contaminants in the soil at pre-determined levels, as well as to determine the capacity that each plant species has for the removal of specific contaminants.

Cambrian College (Sudbury, Ontario) - Second project: The college is currently building a new research space in the Xstrata Nickel Sustainable Energy Centre. Scientists require a dependable, trustworthy source of purified water for procedures, solutions and laboratory solvents. This grant will help supply this research facility with a consistently reliable source of purified water and will exponentially increase the college's research potential.

Collège Édouard-Montpetit (Longueuil, Quebec): The goal of this college's project is to acquire a single-component-resin injection system for manufacturing aerospace parts with composite materials. This system will complement the college's current dual-component injection system, which provides high performance and is highly innovative but uses resins not yet certified for aerospace applications. The single-component system will let the college work with resins that are certified for aerospace, and thus develop projects that companies can quickly adapt for industrial use.

Cégep de La Pocatière (La Pocatière, Quebec) - First project: The goal of this project is to develop real-time on-board test and measurement facilities to support other applied research projects that the college carries out. For this purpose, the college will acquire a programmable logic controller (an economical, reconfigurable acquisition and control system) for use in applications requiring high performance and high reliability. Various specialized sensors and probes attached to this system will enable accurate instrumentation of the equipment and the physical phenomena that will be the subject of applied research in experimental methods.

Cégep de La Pocatière (La Pocatière, Quebec) - Second project: The goal of this project is to develop the expertise of the college's laser laboratory, all of whose activities involve leading-edge processes such as gas laser welding, laser/GMAW hybrid welding, 3D laser cutting, and laser surface treatments. This expertise will enable the college to offer manufacturing companies a wide range of highly specialized services. The acquisition of various pieces of sophisticated equipment will enable the college to work more efficiently and to develop tomorrow's processes more quickly, in co-operation with its industry partners.

Cégep de La Pocatière (La Pocatière, Quebec) - Third project: The goal of this project is to upgrade certain equipment at the Quebec Specialized Centre for Physical Technology (CSTPQ) by acquiring various devices needed to support its partner companies. These devices include an electrostatic discharge system, a fast-transient and shock-wave generator, an EMC emitting and receiving antenna, a three-phase filter, and a three-phase line impedance stabilization network (LISN). This equipment will enable the centre to achieve its development priorities, leverage its areas of expertise, and support companies in the design of electronic products.

Cégep de La Pocatière (La Pocatière, Quebec) - Fourth project: The goal of this project is to create a safe environment for an aging population by means of a virtual caregiver. More specifically, this project will involve developing an environment favourable to the detection and prevention of falls in the elderly, and technologies that can limit the number and seriousness of such falls. The new equipment acquired for this project will enable the medical laboratory team to study certain behaviours of the human body, including gait, the mechanics of falls, and vital signs.

Cégep de La Pocatière (La Pocatière, Quebec) - Fifth project: The goal of this project is to optimize a wide range of internal processes at a large number of partner companies-both within the region and throughout Quebec-to reduce costs in various areas of activity and improve the quality of their products. For this purpose, the college will acquire augmented reality glasses, flat-panel touch screens, touch pads and touch screens. This research and equipment will enable businesses to optimize their employees' work in terms of the efficiency and ergonomics of the workspace.

Cégep de Rimouski (Rimouski, Quebec): The goal of this college's project is to extract value from agriculture and forestry biomass residues. Two approaches are being evaluated for this purpose. One consists in converting lignocellulosic materials for use as a source of green energy, the other for use in green construction materials. The college will acquire leading-edge laboratory equipment that students and researchers can use to carry out various research projects, thus acquiring expertise in the chemical and physical characteristics of lignocellulosic materials.

3) Applied Research and Development Grants

The following institutions have received over $400,000 total in ARD Grants:

Algonquin College (Ottawa, Ontario)

Cégep André-Laurendeau (Lasalle, Quebec)

Collège communautaire du Nouveau Brunswick (Bathurst, New Brunswick) Fleming College (Peterborough, Ontario)

Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon (Lévis, Quebec) Olds College (Olds, Alberta)

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (Calgary, Alberta) Cégep de Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières, Quebec)

Contact Information

  • Stephanie Thomas
    Special Assistant (Communications)
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)

    Martin Leroux
    Media and Public Affairs Officer
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada