McGill’s tide-turning approach to research and innovation places a renewed focus on the cultural, entrepreneurial and social life of local and global communities.
Since taking the helm as Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) in 2010, I have embraced every opportunity to facilitate partnerships with the full spectrum of organizations — non-profits, SMEs, governments at all levels, international bodies, other universities, and foundations, among others — with the goal of connecting research to the people and groups that will benefit from it.
In an effort to better engage industry and community partners in the work of the University, a practice that is well aligned with our strategic research goals, McGill evaluated its approaches and started to make concrete changes in the way we work with other organizations and groups. The result? A creative, interdisciplinary, and truly innovative vision for McGill’s future as a research-intensive university has materialized, supported by three commitments:
- “Enable” researchers by providing them with the best planning, policies, and infrastructure possible;
- “Facilitate” the development and reinforcement of research excellence through our programs and
- “Connect” people and organizations by proactively engaging in pairing, matchmaking and relationship building.
I am particularly proud of the work we are doing together with École de technologie superieure (ÉTS) and the launch of the Quartier de l’innovation in May 2013. The QI project brings people together — whether it’s to foster the emergence of new technologies, build better bike-racks, or identify sustainable and renewable sources of energy.
The innovating firms now residing in this dynamic district in Montreal are creating opportunities for cultural change and knowledge-sharing between professors, students, artists, entrepreneurs and local residents in the district (see page 14 for coverage).
The success stories emerging from the files of the McGill University Business Engagement Centre, which helps facilitate research partnerships between the University and industry partners of the highest calibre, are nothing short of exceptional.
In the fight against melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer caused by DNA damage, or in the urgent search for new therapies for the disease Multiple Sclerosis, researcher-industry partnerships are making a difference (see page 26 for coverage).
And in 2013, McGill solidified our position as second in Canada among research universities for research intensity — the most balanced financial measurement for gauging our overall research funding success.
McGill is committed to elevating our academic teaching, supporting our research excellence and rising to the challenge of a globalized world. We are convinced that by cultivating our new approach to partnership engagement and innovation across McGill, we will achieve our top goal both in research intensity and in impact.
Within the pages of Headway’s Innovation issue you will learn about the initiatives and inventive ideas that are fostering connections among researchers, translating complex ideas into solutions for major challenges facing humanity and society.