York University’s new centre connects research to business

If collaboration across industry, academic and public sectors is key to bridging Canada’s innovation gap, how do you make university research more accessible to the people and organizations who need this expertise?

York University has answered this challenge by launching Innovation York (IY). Strategically located in York Region, IY is the public face and conduit between York researchers and their applied research partners who will collaboratively grow their ideas and introduce new products and services to the marketplace.

Above: From left, Peter Pekos, chair of VentureLab; Markham-Unionville MPP Michael Chan; Frank Scarpitti, mayor of the Town of Markham; Ontario’s Minister of Research & Innovation Glen Murray; Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi; York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri; and York Vice-President Research & Innovation Stan Shapson

IY will provide commercialization and knowledge mobilization services to industry, public sector organizations and academic researchers while playing a strong role in supporting VentureLab, York Region’s Regional Innovation Centre, which was officially opened yesterday by Ontario’s Minister of Research & Innovation Glen Murray.

“York University is proud of our partnerships with governments, academic institutions and industry,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor, Mamdouh Shoukri. “This collaborative approach allows our researchers and industry stakeholders to engage and share ideas, a concept that complements York’s interdisciplinary approach to research and learning.”

Right: Click on the photograph to view a Flickr slideshow of images from the opening of the Markham Convergence Centre and Innovation York

“York University is York Region’s research and innovation university,” said Stan Shapson, vice-president research & innovation. “We have a critical role to play in collaborating with entrepreneurs, industry and municipal partners to develop new ideas, products and services that will help Ontario gain a competitive advantage in the global economy. IY’s presence throughout York Region will make the world-class expertise of over 1,500 researchers integral to accelerating R&D growth and strengthening communities where people want to work and enjoy a high quality of life.”

IY’s location in the Markham Convergence Centre, along with VentureLab and other key collaborators, presents unique opportunities.

“Across York Region, there are impressive sectoral strengths in information technology, environmental technologies and the life sciences, particularly in medical device technologies,” said Shapson. “Combined with Canada’s fastest growing and most diverse population base, this presents a particularly compelling case for innovation. Through our presence in York Region, IY will be positioned to better understand our partners’ needs within the economic and social ecosystems they operate within as we explore new ways to work together to mutual advantage.”

“The strength of Ontario’s creative environment, diverse culture, highly skilled workforce, world-class education system, internationally recognized research community and proven entrepreneurs is second to none,” said Murray. “Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) links these talents together across the province to ensure all great ideas have the opportunity to flourish – creating jobs and improving our lives now and in the future.”

As part of the province-wide ONE network, VentureLab will give entrepreneurs access to a broad range of experts – including researchers, academics, businesses, government and investors – who can help sell an innovative idea, bring it to the marketplace and grow a business worldwide.

Submitted by Elizabeth Monier Williams, research communications officer