New Innovation Hub shifts applied research off campus
Key stakeholders from industry and funding partners gathered to officially open Centennial College’s Innovation Hub in a Scarborough commercial office building on November 29. The leased storefront consists of 4,500-sq.-ft. of collaborative space tailored for industry-college applied research activities, located within walking distance of Progress Campus.
The space is designed for students to work on industry-led projects in three critical fields: aerospace, health technologies and cybersecurity. College students are paid on a part-time basis for their participation. Among several other projects, they have been using the Hub since September to investigate electrically actuated aircraft landing gear with Safran Landing Systems.
“When the college realized that the research space allotted for this work was too limited on campus, it searched outside for new space to solve the problem,” noted Kyle Schmidt, Vice President, Product Development and R&T Engineering at Safran Landing Systems Canada. The manufacturer has been working on electrified landing gear for 15 years, and came to Centennial to engage its students in certain aspects of the applied research.
“We’ve been impressed with the energy the students have brought to the work,” Schmidt told the approximately 100 guests who had come to tour the new space. “Working with Centennial on this project provides a great opportunity to find our future employees.”
The Innovation Hub’s flexible, open space is conducive to collaborative work between groups of people and can be easily reconfigured. It features a prototyping lab with powerful computer-aided design (CAD) stations, and a cybersecurity lab that is isolated to enable testing in a secure environment.
Cybersecurity is a rapidly expanding field that prompted Centennial to launch a graduate certificate program for college and university graduates looking for a specialty skill set. Centennial also established the Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technologies Access Centre in Healthcare (WIMTACH), which assists enterprises in the wearable technology sector in the east GTA’s innovation ecosystem.
Representatives from NSERC and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) were on hand to tour the facilities at 305 Milner Avenue and to speak with students. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is a federal government agency that provides research funding for the natural sciences and engineering. OCE connects entrepreneurs, industry, academia and investors to commercialize innovation.
The Innovation Hub is an outgrowth of the college’s Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES). Centennial College continues to enhance its applied research portfolio by attracting $7 million in funding in 2017, a significant increase that places Centennial seventh in Canada according to Research Infosource’s annual ranking of Canada’s Top 50 research colleges.