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Trent, Lakehead, Laurentian, Nipissing Universities Sign MOU to Enhance Impact of Research, Commercialization Activity

Four universities to leverage shared resources, facilities, expertise, and enrich postsecondary contributions to economic development in Ontario

Thursday, August 24, 2023, Peterborough 

Four Ontario universities—Trent University, Laurentian University, Lakehead University, and Nipissing University—have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focused on enhancing collaboration and resource sharing on research and innovation initiatives to, ultimately, drive economic development in the province. 

“Trent is thrilled to be part of this partnership with universities that are keenly aware of the emerging and untapped opportunities in connecting different parts of Ontario,” said Christopher Rooney, senior director, Research & Innovation at Trent University. “We know that by working together we can realize more benefits from postsecondary research and innovation. We’ll be able to share expertise and resources more efficiently and effectively in a way that boosts overall research and commercialization endeavours.” 

The MOU outlines four key areas for collaboration: research and commercialization support, knowledge sharing, access to professional expertise and advanced facilities, and ecosystem partnerships.  

In particular, the four universities will be focusing efforts and attention on projects related to intellectual property and entrepreneurship, research data management and security, policy development, course/curriculum development, networking and joint symposia, and government relations, such as engaging with provincial and federal ministries and funding agencies. 

To date, the four universities have partnered to establish the Northern and Rural Innovation Cluster focused on critical minerals, cleantech, and battery electric technologies with funding from Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON). The provincial agency is providing a total of $294,000 to the pilot project which has seen an industry liaison officer hired to support the four universities in commercialization efforts related to the cluster’s primary research topics. 

“This is a great example of the kind of initiatives that this MOU will drive,” said Director Rooney. “The funding from IP Ontario goes further with the four universities working together to invest the funding in a way that brings expertise, resources, and programming to each campus but all towards a unified goal. The initiative will help educate and train students and identify more opportunities for collaboration.”  

Director of Research and Innovation at Laurentian University, Gisele Roberts, adds that “having previously collaborated with Lakehead, Nipissing, and Trent as members of a commercialization network, we are excited to renew discussions with these partners to explore opportunities for resource sharing. This will leverage the expertise within our institutions to maximize the research and commercialization impacts of our universities and allow us to quickly adapt to rapidly changing research policy requirements.” 

“Lakehead University is excited to see increased intellectual property literacy within the institutions and ecosystems, improved connectivity between stakeholders, and enhanced economic development through collaboration,” said Ellen MacKay, Lakehead University’s director of Innovation Development. “Lakehead is well positioned for this partnership as we have research and development strength in critical minerals through the hiring of two new research chairs in critical mineral processing and exploration, and the continued work from the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration.” 

“Nipissing University is pleased to once again collaborate with Laurentian, Trent, and Lakehead to advance research and innovation programs across the province,” said Dr. Barbi Law,  Interim Associate Vice-President of Research, Innovation, and Graduate Studies. “Sharing knowledge and resources between our institutions will lay the groundwork for building more partnerships and will enhance our overall innovation efforts.”