Technology partnership bring green ‘capital’ to Scarborough and Oshawa schools

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Published November 5, 2021 at 10:13 am

The green capital of Canada may be a lot closer than we think.

A new partnership involving five universities and colleges from Scarborough to Oshawa is bringing a training and innovation hub for green technology to the eastern GTA, with the green ‘capital’ at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus.

The Environmental and Related Technologies Hub (EaRTH) will develop the region’s green and sustainable technology sector through research, academic programming and commercialization of advanced technology.

The partnership, which includes U of T Scarborough, Centennial College, Ontario Tech University, Durham College and Trent University Durham, will foster world-class environmental science research, training opportunities for existing and future jobs in the green-tech sector, as well as translating new knowledge and innovation into entrepreneurship.

“EaRTH will enable the next generation of green-technology innovators to thrive,” says Andrew Arifuzzaman, U of T Scarborough’s chief administrative officer. “We’re in an environmental crisis and the urgency of the situation requires immediate action that can only be solved with the greatest minds working together, which we have right here.”

A major priority of the EaRTH District is to address an urgent need for sustainable solutions to tackle the challenges of climate change by developing technological and social innovations. It will do that by filling a skills gap that currently exists through access to educational programs in the green-tech sector that includes joint degrees, micro-credentialing, and experiential learning.

The district will be located on the U of T Scarborough campus and includes the facilities for research, training, and innovation. A memorandum of understanding was signed by all five partner institutions on October 28 to formally launch the initiative.

Going forward the partnership institutions will work with the public and private sectors as well as Indigenous communities in the development of green and sustainable technologies. Each institution will contribute their unique expertise and training in the environmental sciences, advanced technology and emerging areas of the green-tech economy.

There are many projects already underway that take a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research and development that align with the EaRTH District. Some of these include developing technologies that can reverse groundwater pollution, capturing energy from vehicle brake systems to re-charge batteries, and using smart materials and microbes to create alternative fuel sources.

Canada’s $61.9 billion green-tech industry currently employs more than 282,000 people, mostly in waste management services, energy efficient technologies, transportation, environmental remediation and renewable energy services.

An important goal of EaRTH is to bring investment in that sector to the eastern GTA. New and innovative technologies being developed locally will help generate high quality, in-demand jobs for residents of Scarborough and Durham Region.

A report prepared by the partner institutions finds EaRTH has the potential to generate $8.4 billion in economic output, educate 35,000 students and create more than 4,400 direct jobs once fully operational.

With files from Don Campbell

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