Innovation York builds collaboration with research event

It’s been two months since academic researchers, industry and government representatives gathered at York University’s Underground Restaurant on April 25 for Innovation York’s seventh, bi-annual collaborative research event.

Tech journalist Marc Saltzman delivers a keynote talk to guests at Innovation York’s collaboration event

The event‘s theme was “A View to the Future” and for the first time it featured a special guest speaker, technology journalist Marc Saltzman. Almost 200 guests attended the event, which was the largest since it began. The April event also featured a new exhibition area and was held in a larger venue.

Saltzman, who is a noted columnist for more than 40 publications, an author, a radio and television personality, is most recognizable from “Gear Guide,” a feature that runs on Cineplex movie theatre screens across Canada. His presentation focused on advancements in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality and the diverse applications of these technologies in entertainment, real estate, shopping and education.

With collaboration the key theme, the event sought to bring together academic researchers with industry and government funding agencies to help foster mutually productive connections between these groups. Saltzman‘s keynote presentation was followed by a talk from Qualcomm about their long-term research partnership with York University and Innovation York. Guests also heard about the breadth of services offered by Innovation York, and the research grants available from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Ontario Centres of Excellence and Mitacs.

Cheryl Giblon
Cheryl Giblon

“The buzz was fantastic,” said Cheryl Giblon, Innovation York’s industry engagement manager. “The networking and information sharing was terrific. The keynote talk by Marc Saltzman and the partnership described by James Goel of Qualcomm with York University Professors Rob Allison and Laurie Wilcox from the Centre for Vision Research and Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA), were outstanding. We had 163 people attend, which was an 11 per cent increase from the 2017 fall event.

The crowd was welcomed by Robert Haché, York’s vice-president, research and innovation; and Town of Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow. 

Core to the event’s success was Giblon who developed it to bring together industry with  academic researchers and government funders to help foster collaborative research partnerships.

Companies wishing to solve technical or business problems, explore research questions, find new intellectual assets or develop their products and services can utilize this collaboration opportunity offered by Innovation York to access a host of resources at York University, including top researchers and research facilities, and funding for these research projects through government matching grant programs, said Giblon.

Researchers across all disciplines who want to explore research questions, write publications and engage their students in real-world learning experiences can also benefit from these collaborations. Giblon said that Innovation York’s main goal of aiding these partnerships is help the development and transfer of new knowledge, leading to discoveries in scientific, medical, technological or social sciences areas.

Innovation York is focused on preparing the next generation of highly qualified workers, said Giblon, noting that a collaborative partnership could bring the costs of research and development down by about 80 per cent for companies and provide access to the University’s leading-edge labs and equipment.

“A View to the Future” showcased how researchers, government and industry can come together to build connections and foster positive collaborative partnerships. Event support was provided by NSERC and VISTA. The next Innovation York event will take place in November 2018. For more information, contact Cheryl Giblon at

To learn more, visit the Innovation York website.