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Small businesses invited to tap local expertise to develop robotic and automation products

Spark Centre, UOIT and Durham College unveil exciting new program to support business competitiveness

Durham College's Integrated Manufacturing Centre

Spark Centre, in partnership with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College (DC), have launched a new program aimed at helping small and medium businesses develop products focused on robotics and automation.

With funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), this initiative will offer a variety of services to support potential projects, including assistance with:

  • development of a business/marketing plan
  • modification of control software
  • prototype design/development

The funding can also be used to support access to facilities on the shared DC-UOIT Oshawa campus such as the UOIT ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel and the DC Integrated Manufacturing Centre (IMC).

To qualify for the program, companies must be incorporated and have less than 15 employees. Applications will be assessed based on suitability for the program and each organization’s capacity to complete its project. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, September 6. All projects must be completed by Wednesday, March 15, 2017.


“Spark Centre is excited to see an overdue gap being addressed, specifically small and medium businesses having access to low-cost rapid prototyping services and facilities here in Durham Region.”
- Dennis Croft, President and CEO, Spark Innovation Centre

“The demand for automated technologies and systems is growing rapidly as the economies of developed countries become increasingly dependent on them. Through this partnership, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology is pleased to offer its research and entrepreneurship expertise to help local small and medium businesses meet this need by bringing innovative robotics and automation products to market faster.
- Michael Owen, PhD, Vice-President Research, Innovation and International, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

“This program is a natural extension of Durham College’s leadership and innovation in robotics, automation, applied research and entrepreneurship. With the funding from NRC-IRAP and our partnership with UOIT and Spark Centre, the college will be able to further leverage the expertise of our faculty and students, as well as our state-of-the-art facilities such as the IMC, to address the critical need for technical and business services for small and medium-sized businesses in the automation and robotics space.”
- Debbie McKee Demczyk, Dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Durham College

About Spark Centre

Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of eighteen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit

Media contacts
Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
905.721.8668 ext. 6709

Amanda Reynolds
Communications Specialist
Spark Centre