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University makes strong impression on provincial minister during campus tour

The Honourable Brad Duguid sizes up the university’s expanding role as an innovation cluster

The Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth (second from right) chats with Sheraz Tariq, Researcher, Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (right) about testing the performance of far field voice interactive technologies inside ACE's hemi-anechoic (low vibration) chamber. Observing is John Komar, Director, Engineering and Operations, ACE (March 15, 2017).
The Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth (second from right) chats with Sheraz Tariq, Researcher, Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (right) about testing the performance of far field voice interactive technologies inside ACE's hemi-anechoic (low vibration) chamber. Observing is John Komar, Director, Engineering and Operations, ACE (March 15, 2017).

The Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, visited the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on March 15 to explore some of the exciting research and development underway at the university and get a glimpse of the role it will play to anchor a research cluster, and innovation and technology park in the eastern Greater Toronto Area.

Strategically located in the heart of one of Canada’s fastest-growing regions, the university is a vital research and innovation hub that helps support the province’s economic prosperity.

Quick facts about the university’s economic impact

  • For every dollar of base funding, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology generates $3.60 of spending impact across Ontario.
  • In 2014-2015, the university’s spending contributed almost $205 million to Ontario’s GDP. In the same period, the university generated and supported 1,949 jobs across the province. 
  • More than two-thirds of the economic benefits generated by the university stay within Durham Region and Northumberland County. All surrounding areas benefit from the university’s activities. The economic impact is widely distributed across constituent municipalities and townships.
  • The university has received more than $100 million dollars in external research funding.
  • The university partners with more than 300 industry organizations to develop unique, market-oriented programs.
  • Dozens of companies have been started by entrepreneurs (researchers, graduates and students) coming from the university and contributing to Ontario’s economy.

Possibilities coming to life at ACE

Minister Duguid saw first-hand the exciting research relating to voice-control software and other innovative testing underway inside the chambers of ACE, the crown jewel in the university’s growing suite of leading research and learning facilities. ACE is a one-of-a-kind testing facility featuring a climatic wind tunnel where leaders in industry and academia discover if their new ideas can survive the ultimate array of physical and dynamic challenges.

ACE hopes to add a moving-ground plane (MGP) to its impressive capabilities, where original equipment manufacturers and suppliers could conduct aerodynamic and thermal testing of automotive parts in the same place. This would give Ontario the only such facility in the world. The MGP in ACE would keep Ontario industry and jobs here at home, decrease time-to-market and attract new research and development to the province.

Exploring the university’s future growth

Minister Duguid saw the university’s Software and Informatics Research Centre (SIRC), an advanced research facility designed to accommodate the university's need for new spaces for research, study and future active learning. Scheduled to open this fall, SIRC promotes interdisciplinary approaches between computer scientists, information technology (IT) specialists and engineers by clustering the university’s expertise in health and business analytics, IT security, networking, gaming and software engineering. 

The university has grown rapidly since opening in 2003. With an enrolment approaching 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the university needs room for growth. It is currently at 50 per cent of the Council of Ontario Universities’ space standards. The minister toured the Windfields Farm Lands, a large 75-hectare parcel of land just north of the university that will accommodate future growth.

Under the Campus Master Plan, the university’s next growth phase at Windfields will feature the Centre for Advanced Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE), a facility dedicated to advanced collaborative research to accelerate innovation and the transfer of knowledge to market. Further to receiving a funding commitment of $26.9 million from the federal government, the university continues working to secure additional partners to bring the project to completion.

Quotes

"What’s happening at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) is truly exciting. The research and development taking place by students, professors and industry is helping ensure Ontario is a global leader in developing and commercializing disruptive technologies. From new voice-control software, to next-generation eco-friendly cars, UOIT is on the cutting edge of so many challenging and burgeoning fields, all while maintaining its mandate for labour market-driven programs. Our government has been a proud partner from the start, supporting the university’s establishment and expansion in the Durham Region. We also share UOIT’s pride in the first-of-its-kind Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Canada. And with plans to expand and grow their research facilities, I know UOIT will remain an essential anchor tenant in the growing Greater Toronto Area technology cluster."
-The Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth

“The University of Ontario Institute of Technology was happy to welcome Minister Brad Duguid to explore some of the exciting developments underway on campus. We are grateful for his support and the opportunity to showcase how the university is a catalyst for innovative research and the anchor of an evolving technology cluster in the eastern Greater Toronto Area.”
-Susan McGovern, Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

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