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Auto research gets boost with $145M fund


Toronto, ON – An automotive research fund has been established by the federal government with $145 million in funding over five years.

The program will support R&D projects in specific areas, including alternative fuels, next-generation manufacturing, advanced power trains and lighter or more sustainable materials.

“Engaging industry to this extent will ensure that innovation moves quickly from the lab to the plant to the showroom,” said Dr Suzanne Fortier, president of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), speaking on behalf of the five funding partners. “We want international automakers to realize that Canadians aren’t just good at building vehicles; we are a great place to conduct leading-edge R&D.”

Automotive Partnership Canada involves funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), National Research Council Canada (NRC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program.

Funding is being provided as follows:

• Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC): $85 million;
• National Research Council Canada (NRC): $30 million;
• Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI): $15 million;
• Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC): $5 million; and
• Canada Excellence Research Chairs program (CERC): $10 million.

Proposals funded under this initiative will be led and submitted by university or government (NRC) researchers, but they must be clearly driven by industry needs.

Research areas include:

• lighter weight or sustainable materials;
• advanced powertrain;
• energy storage;
• application of alternative fuels;
• vehicular software;
• electronics and mechatronics that enhance safety or performance (mechatronics is the combination of mechanical engineering, electronics and computer engineering)
• wired and wireless communications;
• manufacturing processes that reduce mass;
• manufacturing processes for cost reduction and quality improvement; and
• improving manufacturing flexibility and efficiency.
• Combination of mechanical engineering, electronics and computer engineering

In addition, the NRC opened a new Centre for Automotive Materials and Manufacturing in London earlier this month. The centre will develop innovative solutions for the auto industry through engineering and research on lightweight materials and advanced manufacturing.