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Colleges receive $3.6M to support innovation-related research projects


Ottawa, ON – February 19, 2004 – A new pilot program has been developed to support innovation initiatives by community colleges and institutes. The community innovation initiative was jointly developed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

"Canada’s colleges are emerging as important players in the country’s innovation system," says Lucienne Robillard, minister of industry. "This new pilot program will increase their capacity to work with local industry and businesses and to advance innovation at the community and regional level."

The first competition for NSERC funding takes place immediately. If successful, a college can receive up to $600,000 over three years.

Colleges can use the funds to assist local businesses and companies in bringing innovations to market. The program also supports the development of the new expertise necessary to assess and exploit new technology. Eligible activities include release time for faculty to participate in projects with companies, student participation in these hands-on initiatives, and demonstrations of the feasibility of new technologies and processes.

The program contains financial incentives if NSERC funds are matched by the private sector.
NSERC president Tom Brzustowski says he welcomes the strong endorsement of the pilot program by the community colleges and by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, which will promote the program to companies across Canada

"When we visited colleges and institutes across the country last year, we learned that there was great enthusiasm for more college involvement in innovation, but there were barriers to their increased participation," says Dr Brzustowski. "We designed this program to lower some of these barriers."