Recognized internationally for the quantity and quality of its research, McGill is embracing an expanded role driving innovation and catalyzing economic development in Quebec and Canada. The Office of Innovation and Partnerships (I+P), a unit within Research and Innovation that is focused on building McGill’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, has announced the creation of a team dedicated to industry-sponsored research.
Industry-funding for research at McGill has steadily grown over the past six years, from $30 million in 2011 to $41 million in 2017, but the resources in place to support current and future partnerships has not kept pace. Although only having recently opened its doors for business, a dedicated Industry Partnerships team in McGill’s Office of Innovation and Partnerships is primed to better support the University’s rich nexus of collaborations with companies.
“In today’s competitive research and funding environments, McGill must develop new partnerships with leading companies and industry partners, foundations, and other research-intensive institutions,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “McGill makes strong contributions to the economic development of Montreal, Quebec, and Canada, but we can always achieve more by working together. This new unit will significantly enhance our capacity to build valuable connections based on trust and a spirit of creative problem-solving.”
The seven-person team will directly support researchers seeking collaborations with industry, and act as a gateway to industry-related agreements for research, services, collaboration, consortia, confidentiality, material transfers, and clinical trials. Under the Direction of Mark Weber, the new team reflects I+P’s evolving mandate to support new partnership models, innovative financing approaches, and industry-related agreements.
“Partnerships are not just about knowledge transfer, but provide critical funding for faculty and students to pursue fundamental and applied research,” said Weber. “Perhaps most importantly, they help accelerate connectivity among McGill’s great minds and innovative partners.”
Giovanna Sebastiani, formerly of the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), has been appointed Associate Director, Industry Partnerships, reporting to Mark Weber. Six additional staff members from OSR have joined the new Industry Partnerships team, where their roles will focus on industry collaborations.
OSR continues to support McGill researchers in their pursuit for federal, provincial and other funding, including promotion of funding opportunities, proposal development and negotiation of related agreements.
“OSR is committed to sustaining value-added services to McGill research community,” said Olga Naiberguer, Director of the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR). She added that the changes to the OSR structure anticipates evolving trends in interdisciplinary funding programs.
I+P’s client roster already includes international companies like Facebook; corporate foundations, including Nike’s; federal programs, such as Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC); and consortia, such as the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
The Industry Partnerships team will work directly with researchers to identify potential partners for research projects, and provide advice on funding mechanisms that implicate industry partners, including Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Engage grants, NSERC Industrial Research Chairs (IRC), and NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants. The unit will also play the role of connecting industry partners with the right researchers to meet their specific needs, providing advice and guidance as partnerships move forward.
If you have questions about I+P, please contact Mark Weber.
Excellent news. Congratulations on moving ahead with this vital initiative.Wishing the new group much success; I look forward to seeing the results of these new arrangements.