Conestoga College’s new Applied Innovations Hub, at 64 Grand Ave., in Cambridge’s new Gaslight District got a jump start from the province Friday.
Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry, joined city and college officials along with the business community to announce that the yet to open facility, which is part of the Grand Innovations incubator hub, will receive $1.3 million from the Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF). The college is one of 22 colleges across the province receiving CARDF funding.
Barbara Fennessy, college vice president of applied research and international education explained that the funding will be used to fund the research and development of solutions to problems brought to the college by local companies. For their part, local companies are matching the $1.3 million in provincial funding for a total of $2.6 million in funding for Conestoga’s Applied Innovations Hub.
It is the next step forward regarding the college’s vision for the applied research hub, college officials told the crowd of about 50 gathered at the Gaslight District sales offices.
“It’s good to see Conestoga growing right here in Cambridge,” college president Dr. John Tibbits told the crowd. “We greatly appreciate this investment in real-world research that will drive innovation and economic growth across our community and throughout Ontario.”
A graduate of Humber College, McGarry said she appreciates the importance of the province’s colleges in readying students for work and contributing to Ontario’s economic growth.
“Connecting businesses and colleges is critical to keeping Ontario’s economy strong and growing. At the same time, it offers students real-world, hands-on education and experience to ready them for success in a time of rapid economic change,” she said.
Grand Innovations will be located in the former Tiger Brand building. Renovations are currently underway and the 50,000 square feet facility is set to open this June. Roughly 14,000 square feet of the centre will be taken up by Conestoga College, which plans to develop an applied research and technology hub, which will expand the college’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing (CSM) and build on the development of new technologies to improve e-waste recycling.
Conestoga’s CSM already conducts applied research in partnership with a growing number of local companies, including Can-Technologies, Fusion Cast and Innovative Steam Technologies.
Conestoga researchers are also working with several local companies, including Greentec, to develop new recycling technologies for waste electrical and electronic equipment, the world’s fastest growing solid waste stream.
The college also plans to use Grand Innovations as its base for innovation and applied research in support of the cybersecurity industry.
Still in development, the college’s cybersecurity hub will develop new solutions to help businesses adapt to change and respond to the risks associated with the ever-increasing reliance on cybertechnology.
The City of Cambridge is also becoming a partner in the project, relocating its economic development department from city hall to Grand Innovations. The new office will be known as Invest Cambridge. That move is slated for sometime in April.