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Innovation cluster targetting critical minerals, cleantech, battery vehicles

Laurentian will lead group that includes Lakehead, Nipissing, and Trent Universities
Laurentian University's Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building in Sudbury

A quartet of universities — including three from the North — are forming an innovation cluster that will target critical minerals, cleantech, and battery electric vehicles.

Laurentian University in Sudbury will lead the one-year pilot project, which includes partners Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Nipissing University in North Bay, and Trent University in Peterborough.

Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), an agency of the province, is providing $294,000 for the initiative.

“This cluster will enable researchers to benefit from a variety of connections, mentors, and expertise, which will increase the velocity and impact of their innovative work,” Tammy Eger, Laurentian’s vice-president of research, said in an April 21 news release.

“Our communities hold exceptional potential within these sectors and this funding will help us unlock that potential. It will allow businesses to strengthen their capacity to grow, enhancing economic development through collaboration.”

According to the news release, the funds will pay for an industry liaison officer, whose services will be shared by the four universities.

That person will help link industry partners with academic researchers who can help accelerate commercialization of new technologies.

“This cluster will provide an important link not only between industry and academia but also between industry and IPON in an area identified by the province as high priority for economic development but with limited access to intellectual property service providers,” said Gisele Roberts, Laurentian’s director of research and innovation, in the release.

Launched in April 2022, IPON’s aim is to help the postsecondary education and research and innovation sectors generate, protect, manage and commercialize intellectual property (IP).