Vaughn Citizen: Federal program that pairs researchers with businesses kicks off in Vaughan to the tune of $10M

The federal government is pumping an additional $10 million into a program that pairs researchers with Canadian businesses to foster innovation and help develop cutting edge products.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder made the funding announcement Friday at Vision Extrusions in Woodbridge, alongside Vaughan MPP Julian Fantino. The money goes to support the Mitacs Elevate program, which connects recent PhD graduates with companies that can benefit from their expertise.

“Last year alone, Mitacs partnered with some incredibly talented people, connecting to 1,250 businesses. That’s a great legacy,” Holder said. “These active partnerships between universities, colleges and Canadian businesses allow ideas to move more quickly from the lab to the marketplace and are building stronger, more competitive Canadian businesses that create jobs right here in our country.”

The federal government in 2014 committed to investing $8 million in the program over two years. Friday’s pledge of another $10 million will be spread out over two years. The Elevate program is meant to enable researchers to get hands on work experience while giving Canadian firms access to bright young minds who can help develop new products, improve existing products as well as come up with innovative solutions to difficult challenges.

“Today’s investment by the government of Canada will further support these relationships. In fact, it will leverage an additional $30 million from industry partners, provincial partners and academic partners across the country,” said Alejandro Adem, Mitacs CEO and scientific director.

Vision Extrusions, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Vic De Zen, is among the hundreds of companies involved with the Elevate program.

Vision, a manufacturer of products for the building industry, has been working with University of Toronto postdoctoral fellow Adel Ramezani Kakroodi, who specializes in polymer science and engineering.

He is helping Vision develop a technology aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and productivity at its massive manufacturing facility on Zenway Boulevard.