Business-led R&D networks get $49.7M in federal funding

Research networks will address innovation challenges related to deep mining, green aviation and electronics manufacturing.

SUDBURY, Ont. – Four research networks have been awarded $49.7 million over five years by the federal government to address industry R&D challenges related to ultra-deep mining, green aviation, personalized cancer treatment and sustainable electronics manufacturing.

The Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN) based in Sudbury, granted $15 million, will work to improve the safety and productivity of ultra-deep mines (deeper than 2.5 kilometres) that produce gold, nickel, copper and other specialized metals. It will also develop strategies to improve the oil and gas industry’s ability to extract hydrocarbons from deep shale deposits.

UDMN will also work to commercialize new technologies by offering to carry out prototyping and testing of new products at mine sites.

The Montreal-based Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) will receive $12 million to develop strategies and products that will make the Canadian aerospace industry more sustainable. The network develops environmental technologies and processes that reduce aircraft noise and emissions and also ensures that companies address the environmental impact of their aircraft, engines and aviation systems throughout the life cycle to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector.

And the Refined Manufacturing Acceleration Process (ReMAP), based in Toronto, will receive $7.7 million to work with Canadian electronics manufacturers and develop tools to bring innovative products to market faster. The network’s R&D projects will focus on developing reliable and environmentally compliant materials such as lead-free solders, smaller and cheaper optical devices and more efficient solar cells, and lower the sector’s costs, improve processes and become more environmentally sustainable.

The funding is the result of the most recent competition for the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program, which was developed by the federal government in 2007 and is managed by the Networks of Centres of Excellence, that works to connect the private sector with postsecondary institutions and research organizations to solve R&D challenges. The program, which was made permanent in 2012, funds large-scale collaborative networks led by a not-for-profit industry consortia.

“These networks bring expertise and stimulate private sector investment in R&D, innovation and competitiveness,” said Greg Rickford, minister of state for science and technology. “Companies are attracted to Business-Led networks because they see clearly how these kinds of collaborations will add value to their bottom line.”