“We need each other. There is so much potential for exciting, transformative breakthroughs, but they are not possible without collaboration between industry and academia.”
That was the message from keynote speaker Aaron Dulgar-Tulloch at U of T Engineering’s Industry Partners reception, held at the Faculty Club on November 15. More than 100 attended the annual event, including representatives of companies, research institutes and government agencies.
Dulgar-Tulloch is the director of BridGE@CCRM, a $40 million collaboration dedicated to the commercialization of cell therapies. “Our partnership with CCRM and founding institutional partner U of T has enabled the entire field of cell therapy to move forward at an accelerated pace.”
The event provided a chance for collaborators across a wide variety of fields to discuss current projects, potential expansions and new opportunities. Organizations that facilitate academic-industry collaborations — including MaRS Innovation, Ontario Genomics, Mitacs Canada and Ontario Centres of Excellence — rubbed shoulders with industry leaders, venture capitalists and other stakeholders in the Canadian and global innovation engines.
“U of T Engineering is leading high-potential, game-changing research in many areas, from electronic vehicles to robotics to environmental remediation,” said Allison Brown, Director of Foundation and Corporate Partnerships at U of T Engineering. “However, to be truly disruptive and fully leverage our research expertise into impact, we need to partner strategically with industry and government. Our partners, through ambitious, big-picture collaborations with our world-class researchers and multidisciplinary institutes, are essential to driving innovation.”
BridGE@CCRM (Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine) is a prime example. Supported by GE Healthcare and the Government of Canada, this bold initiative is enabling leading-edge advancements in cell therapy for disease treatment. U of T Engineering is a critical partner in this, providing world-leading talent and expertise in bioprocessing and stem cell research.
Three other U of T Engineering collaborators were acknowledged through the Faculty’s Industry Partner Awards that evening.
Huawei received the Corporate Academic Citizen Award for its significant investment in the Faculty through collaborative research, leadership on Industry Advisory Boards and support of graduate students. Last year, the company formalized its continued commitment to U of T through a strategic research partnership supporting a range of diverse projects, from optimized cloud computing to building next-generation internet structures.
Havelaar was presented with the Corporate Research Partner Award for its commitment to enabling research in a number of areas including battery technologies, power electronics and vehicle autonomy. Havelaar’s cross-disciplinary partnership was cemented with their founding of the U of T Electric Vehicle Research Centre (UTEV).
Geosyntec received the Small-to-Medium Enterprise Partner Award for their long-term support for the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry. Geosyntec partners with U of T researchers on a variety of projects, including developing products that leverage microbes to remediate contaminated industrial sites.
“We are so grateful for the support and commitment of our industry partners,” said Ramin Farnood, Vice-Dean, Research at U of T Engineering. “This year’s awardees illustrate the depth and long-term commitment of our partnerships. We look forward to seeing both our longstanding and our new partnerships grow and evolve as we collaborate to find solutions to new problems and to redefine what’s possible in the coming years.”