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Queen’s selected to spearhead new “convergence centre”


The Ontario government announced in yesterday’s budget that it is investing $21 million to help pioneer an innovative R&D model. It would tap the creative energy of academic and industry scientists working side by side to develop new environmental technologies in the areas of advanced materials and bioprocessing.

Under a new regional “convergence centre” called the Advanced Research and Innovation Institute (ARII), Queen’s would “co-locate” with industry partners and small and mid-size businesses in a new institute that will foster university-private sector collaborations, bolster confidence in research and development in the Eastern Ontario region, and leverage funds and new facilities for our faculty’s programs of research and teaching.

“We are extremely grateful to the Government of Ontario for this vote of confidence in Queen’s and the expertise and spirit of innovation of our faculty,” says Principal Karen Hitchcock.

The work of the centre is intended to focus on innovations in energy and environmental technologies, bio-products and bio-chemical engineering, micro-electronics, green chemistry and advanced materials.

“This is an immensely exciting development for Queen’s and for Eastern Ontario, one that will enable us to advance our scientific and technological expertise while also providing an opportunity for valuable interactions with the private sector,” says Principal Hitchcock. “The centre is at an advanced stage of evaluation by the university and we look forward to continued discussions with our industrial partners.”

“Through this kind of public-private collaboration, we will see the best scientific minds come together and focus in areas where there is the greatest potential for developing new knowledge and a stream of innovative products. This goes a long way toward helping us fulfill our vision of becoming a national resource for addressing some of society’s most challenging issues,” she says.

Until now, Kingston and the surrounding region have seen a steady exodus of viable and expanding technology-based companies. The new institute will provide the infrastructure required to anchor promising small-medium enterprises in the region.

“By establishing this institute, we will be addressing a critical need of our region and province,” says Dr. Hitchcock. “We see this new model as a major breakthrough in research, development and technology deployment and one with far-reaching economic and environmental benefits.”

Contact Lorinda Peterson, 613.533.3234, or Sarah Withrow, 613.533.3280,, Queen’s News and Media Services.

Attention broadcasters: Queen’s now has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston fibre optic cable and broadcast quality radio transmissions from our on-campus studio. Please call for details.


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