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Sault steelmaker looks to the computer geeks

Innovation Centre looks for efficiencies at Algoma Steel
(Algoma Steel photo)

A newly created team of IT specialists is working with newly restructured Algoma Steel to develop technological solutions to make the Sault Ste. Marie steel producer more globally competitive.

The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) received $713,590 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to establish this team that is tasked to help the company make its steel-making process more efficient. Nine positions are being created.

Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano made the announcement on Dec.14. A government news release didn’t elaborate what specific IT-based solutions they’ll be working on for Algoma.

“The goal of SSMIC is to provide quality IT solutions and services to manufacturers in Northern Ontario and eventually across North America,” said Romano in a statement.

“With this investment, we are creating good jobs, diversifying local economies and, most importantly, letting people know that Sault Ste. Marie—and all of Northern Ontario—is open for business.”

“This is a great community partnership with Algoma Steel Inc. that allows SSMIC to employ computer programmers who are recent graduates in the field,” said Peter Bruijns, the innovation centre’s executive director.

“The program has provided professional skill development and employment opportunities locally and now serves as a specialized technology business unit within SSMIC that will be marketed to external markets.”

Not to be outdone, Sault MP Terry Sheehan delivered $59,281 to allow Algoma University to buy a phosphorimager.

This piece of scientific research equipment detects chemical intermediates during the biosynthesis of natural lipid polymers made by plants.

Earlier this year Sheehan announced Isabel Molina had been named Canada Research Chair Tier II in Plant Lipid Metabolism at Algoma University. With it came $500,000 in federal funding to staff a lab to support her research.

“By investing in science we create opportunities for business innovations, economic development and good jobs,” said Sheehan in a statement.

“Algoma University is very grateful for this funding, which will benefit our community's competitiveness in environmental sustainability and cutting-edge research and innovation, said Professor Pedro Antunes, executive research lead at Algoma University.