Niagara College lauds federal investment to expand applied research

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Published March 30, 2023 at 2:19 pm

Niagara College students in the Commercial Cannabis Production Program tend to their crop in the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus' CannaBunker. (Photo: Niagara College)

As the top research college in Ontario and number two in Canada, Niagara College was thrilled to see the 2023 Federal Budget, announced on March 28, included $108.6 million earmarked to expand applied research at colleges.

“This important investment recognizes the vital role that colleges play in helping businesses – especially small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) – innovate and increase their competitiveness,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Niagara College’s Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Strategic Enterprises.

In fact, Nantel himself led the charge for expanded funding as the Chair of the College Applied Research Taskforce.

Back in Fall 2022 and again in February 2023, Nantel made a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that called on the government to accelerate business-led research and development through increased investment in a program, which funds research collaboration between business and colleges.

“The investments made by the federal government to date have enabled us to work with thousands of SMEs, developing and testing new products, for example, so we are thrilled with the increased investment in NSERC’s (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) College and Community Innovation program – a cornerstone of our own applied research program in Niagara College’s four innovation centres,” said Nantel.

Niagara College currently collaborates with businesses through its Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre; Food & Beverage Innovation Centre; Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre; and Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

The college’s award-winning Research & Innovation division administers research funding through investments from various regional, provincial, and federal agencies. Students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty and staff researchers to assist industry partners’ leap forward in the marketplace.

Students come from a variety of the College’s programs, such as the Commercial Cannabis Production Program, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, Business Administration – Marketing, and Computer Programmer.

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