Proposed R&D institute is the fruit of York-Markham partnership

York University welcomed yesterday’s federal pledge to establish the National Institute for Convergent Technologies (NICT) in Markham, Ont., as the first National Research Centre institute to be situated in the Greater Toronto Area. 

The proposed research & development facility stems from a long-term partnership between York University and the Town of Markham, in collaboration with the National Research Council and with the participation of IBM, Sunnybrook Hospital, the University of Waterloo and sanofi pasteur Limited.  

“This initiative is the fruit of York’s strength in science and innovation and leverages York Region’s leadership in the vital areas of biomedical technology and IT,” said Lorna R. Marsden, York’s president and vice-chancellor. “We will build on the Markham-York University track record of success in innovative collaborative projects such as YORKbiotech and the Innovation Synergy Centre in Markham (ISCM).”

“NICT will serve as a catalyst for convergence of biomedical and information technology, enabling the research and commercialization of discoveries in health care — an expanding field as the population ages and lives longer,” added Stan Shapson, York’s vice president research & innovation. “We see strong applications to the health sector with innovations such as remote assessments and treatments, early diagnosis and increased patient self-care.”

Prime Minister Paul Martin pledged to establish NICT as part of a $180-millon investment supporting four advanced research and development initiatives in the Golden Horseshoe. Martin made the statement on a stopover in Markham during his GTA campaign tour. 

The objective of the initiatives is to drive new transformative technologies that will readily attract capital for commercialization and which have exponential and multiplier effects in the economy. NICT, along with initiatives at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, would increase national productivity and international competitiveness, and help to attract and maintain the best minds and companies in Canada.