Research funding connects NC with local businesses

Shown above: Dr. Marc Nantel, associate vice-president of Research and Innovation (Supplied photo).

More Niagara College students will have the opportunity to help local businesses bring innovation to the marketplace, thanks to $30,000 in funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Connections program.

The funding will support 11 new or ongoing applied research collaborations between Niagara College’s Research and Innovation division, Niagara Research, and several industry partners. Niagara Research facilitates research projects done in partnership with businesses or organizations, who work with students and faculty leads to bring new ideas to market or create new processes or efficiencies.

Two of the research projects included in the grant for Niagara College are directly funded by the Ontario Power Authority, including a project with local company Niagara Luminaire Inc., that involves testing a new LED street lighting system in Niagara Falls. The other nine projects are funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, a non-profit innovation agency supporting college applied research through its Connections program, which specifically helps connect first-year post-secondary students with industry partners.

“Niagara Research is a strong supporter of OCE and the Connections program and we are very grateful for this investment,” said Dr. Marc Nantel, Niagara College’s associate vice-president of Research and Innovation. “OCE’s funding supports our commitment to provide our students with applied research opportunities that enhance their education, while helping our industry partners through innovative solutions and better-prepared graduates to hire.”

Business partners are contributing to the OCE Connections program at Niagara College with in-kind commitments, such as equipment or expertise, at a greater value than the grant itself. Business partners collaborating with the college via OCE Connections include e3 Solutions Inc., Balute Inc., Niagara Luminaire Inc., Atu Cybernetics Inc., Plant Products Co. Ltd., St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, Forterra Environmental, Dramm Canada, Harvest Hops and Gro-Bark.

“We are delighted to widen our collaboration with Niagara College from commercialization support to the new OCE status,” said Steven Megannety, principal of Niagara Luminaire Inc. “Having access to one of the best equipped photonics labs in Canada and building a knowledge base on outdoor lighting is of incredible value to us.”

Niagara Research, Niagara College’s Research and Innovation Division, works closely with business, industry and community partners to identify challenges that are in need of real-time solutions. Through applied research projects, skilled student and faculty teams help local businesses and community organizations become more innovative, overcome challenges, and develop, test or simulate new products or processes. Working on real-world applied research projects provides students with the opportunity to bring the skills and knowledge they have learned in the classroom to a new level, presenting fresh and innovative ideas to industry partners. To learn more about partnership opportunities with Niagara Research, contact 905-641-2252 ext. 4151, research@niagaracollege.ca or visit NiagaraCollege.ca/Research.

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