What does it take to develop and commercialize new technology?
- Innovations that defy the status quo and open new markets
- Robust intellectual property
- Partnerships between those who know how to create and those who know how to commercialize
And it all begins with ground-breaking research.
Our industry alliance has its roots in Canada’s research community for printable, flexible and hybrid electronics (FHE). Over the past three years, we have built upon this strong foundation to understand what role we can and should play to support and promote the broad ecosystem for FHE across Canada and beyond.
That has meant adopting a strong industrial focus. From startups, to SMEs with a North American focus, large Canadian companies with global reach and established multi-nationals, it is industry that is looked to for job and wealth creation for economic benefit. Just look at the announcements from the federal government in 2017 for its Innovative Solutions Canada program to support startups and the Innovation Superclusters Initiative to support technology cluster development by industry.
Our increased industry focus over the past two years earned us a seat at the table with two supercluster proposals that have made it to the shortlist, as well as recognition as a priority sector for investment from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth.
This is visibility and awareness building that benefits our entire ecosystem, from the university grad student to the corporate executive.
This commercialization focus is reflected in how we have evolved our program of activities.
Our research community commitment remains strong
If this leads you to believe we have turned away from the academic community, you would be mistaken. In fact, our engagement with, and from, Canada’s post-secondary institutions continues to grow.
Why? Because building a healthy and sustainable FHE ecosystem in Canada requires collaboration from all corners.
Industrial companies can’t develop compelling world-class products and applications without the knowledge base provided by fundamental and applied research. Academics who want to commercialize their inventions or become entrepreneurs need to collaborate with industrial partners, access qualified industry resources and secure capital.
As we start an exciting new year, here is a rundown of how intelliFLEX supports Canada’s academic and government research community:
- We have ~15 university Members that are interested in working with industry. These include, but are not limited to, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, University of Ottawa, York University, University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), and École de technologie supérieure (ETS). Graduates from these universities have access to our industrial Members for jobs, while their faculties can pursue industrial collaboration with our support.
- We have eight colleges and college technology access centres (TACs) as Members, as well as Tech Access Canada—the formal national network of 30 TACs across Canada. Again, these graduates have access to job opportunities, while their faculties can pursue collaboration.
- University and college Members participate in our annual Sector Development Leadership Council Meeting, where we discuss at a strategic level how intelliFLEX should serve the needs of our sector. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Councilof Canada (NSERC) is always invited to this meeting.
- In fact, we continue to highlight our industry with NSERC to ensure due funding consideration for our industry-specific academic R&D network proposals. We issue several support letters for academic funding applications every year.
- Each year at CPES, our annual conference, 15-20+ academic and government research organizations take part with poster presentations, table top exhibits and workshops. They make vital connections for industrial collaboration, commercialization and jobs.
- Academic Members are also active on our vertical business networks: intelliWEAR for smart textiles and wearables, and intelliPACK for intelligent packaging and retail. This provides insight into industrial needs for next-generation of technologies and a connection with end users.
- We nurture startups spun out of our university Members through our CPES Startup Mentoring and Pitch Sessions, by connecting them with sources of funding, and through our new CPES Startup Launchpad. Two recent examples are Formi3DP and NanoCnet.
- Our advisory board has always included leaders from the academic and government research communities and will continue to do so, to help us maintain important contacts and create strategic resources for the academic community along with industry.
- We organize workshops, local events and training courses where we have significant participation from the academic community. And we offer discounted academic rates to encourage participation.
- We stage and promote workshops at conferences put on by IEEE Canada and other academic organizations, and in the past year, we have published academic research reviews of Canadian R&D work in antennas and organic photovoltaics.
Do we value and support Canada’s academic FHE community as part of our membership? Most certainly.
If you are from the academic research community, we offer many ways to get involved and get to know our Members. If your organization is not yet a Member, we encourage you to join.