Queen’s receives $900,000 to support student innovation

Funding comes from provincial Campus-Linked Accelerator program

The $900,000 will support programs like the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative.
The $900,000 will support programs like the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative.

The Government of Ontario announced last Wednesday that it’ll provide a $900,000 grant to support innovation at Queen’s.

The funds will come from the provincial government’s Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA) program. The announcement was made by the Honourable Reza Moridi, minister of research and innovation.

The CLA program provides funding to post-secondary institutions to create and cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship among students and youth in their regions in Ontario.

Greg Bavington, executive director for the Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC), said portions of the grant will go towards the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative (QSII). QIC is the flagship program of QSII, and one specific goal is to improve existing facilities like start-up incubator facilities at Innovation Park.

Other initiatives under QIC include QyourVenture, a program allowing students to attend QSII lectures and workshops without receiving funding, and SparQ Labs, a collaborative studio lab.

The QIC, a partnership between the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Queen’s School of Business, allows students to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations while receiving the support and training required to bring those aspirations to fruition, Bavington said.

"We see quite a diversity of student ventures, many of which involve having to manufacture physical prototypes. So it's important that we have the physical facilities to facilitate that," he said.

Kimberly Woodhouse, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was one of the founders of QIC in 2012.

"We were very passionate that Queen's students are innovative by nature, and we wanted to put together a program — jointly — that would enable the innovation,” Woodhouse said.

“Then what happened was we got a number of really passionate innovative alumni from both the business school and engineering — we did focus groups, we talked with students, and we really tried to put in place a lot of what we heard from alumni and students. We just took a leap of faith and off we went.”

Woodhouse said some of the funds will go towards building partnerships with local economic development agencies, entrepreneurs and innovators.

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