We (GPRC CRI & AITF) were fortunate to have a very in-depth meeting with Irene and Marlene on how to access the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program: their programs help companies and researchers work together to solve problems through research that could lead to new ideas, solutions and products. Almost all new innovative ideas will require some research. These programs provide funds to companies and colleges to engage professional scientists and engineers to tackle problems and opportunities.
An example of NSERC grants is Engage: college researchers can launch a new research partnership with a company on R&D that applies their expertise to address the company’s challenge. Companies gain by having added expertise focused on their R&D issues and by discovering what the researchers and the students working with them have to offer.
The Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program (AOIP) focuses on collaboration with researchers: companies can access funds to address research and problem solving projects with colleges in both provinces. In addition to getting top-notch research, this provides an Alberta company with a relationship in Ontario that could lead to market development in that province and surrounding regions.
Both programs could have immediate impact on some of our projects, including the Evergreen Centre for Resource Excellence & Innovation on solving questions and issues for low-impact techniques and practices on sensitive lands. The Centre is a demonstration site built by companies to showcase their innovative ideas, research, products and solutions.
We know that the health of our business and industry depends on strengthening its research and innovation capacity through supporting more problem-solving and knowledge-based people and businesses. This is another way a region can further diversify by adding value in the form of new knowledge and learning.