Western Canadian Innovation Offices – developing Industry Identified Research Initiatives program

By Everett Dorma Posted: July 30, 2015 9:20 a.m.

U of R participating in Western Canadian Innovation Offices Industry Identified Research Initiatives program.
U of R participating in Western Canadian Innovation Offices Industry Identified Research Initiatives program. (Fotolia Images)

On July 29, 2015, Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification announced $1.8 million in funding for a collaborative new project to support research and development in various sectors, starting with the energy sector.

Initiated by Western Economic Diversification in January 2014, the University of Manitoba will lead the development and formalization of the Western Canadian Innovation Offices (WCIO), a consortium of universities, including the U of R, colleges, polytechnics and other research based organizations in western Canada. Their mandate will be to work collaboratively together and with industry to carry out research that addresses industry needs, builds a more entrepreneurial culture, commercializes technologies, and creates jobs and improves economic performance in Western Canada.  

The initial focus will be on developing this approach with the energy sector as Canada is lagging behind in research and development investment for this sector.

“Due to the wide geographic spread of western Canada, it can be difficult for industry to identify and evaluate all the potential resources that can support their research goals,” says Sally Gray, Director, Research Office. “This lack of information results in higher costs, duplication of effort and missed opportunities.”

The focus of the program will be to create and implement an accessible catalog of research and development capabilities, expertise, facilities, equipment and technologies resident in Western Canadian Innovation Offices matched to key industry challenges and opportunities on a sector by sector basis.  This resource will enable WCIO to work with industry to facilitate partnering of companies with the best research expertise, regardless of the geographic location or organization type. WCIO will also pursue precompetitive partnerships with industry through industry defined challenges and opportunities.

“Home of four Fulbright scholars in the past two years and 10 Canada Research Chairs the University of Regina has a deservedly strong research reputation,” says Dr. David Malloy, Vice-President (Research). “In 2014, Research InfoSource named the University of Regina the top performer among comprehensive universities in international research collaboration.  By becoming a Western Canadian Innovation Office we are building on this collaborative approach to research that is one of our key strengths.”

The University of Regina’s new strategic plan identifies research impact as one of our three strategic priorities.

For more information on the WCIO visit: http://news.umanitoba.ca/energy-research-gets-a-jolt/