Cégeps and colleges think big

Funding for new infrastructure boosts innovative research in Canadian colleges
April 17, 2014

OTTAWA, April 17, 2014 – The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has granted funding for research infrastructure to three college projects through the College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF). The CIIF will enable researchers to acquire state-of-the-art infrastructure to successfully carry out important research in forest engineering, plant and tree biology and mechanical engineering.

Here are the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada projects that received CFI funding.

CÉGEP de Rimouski

Working with various partners from the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Julie Lessard, professor and researcher at CÉGEP de Rimouski, will enhance a technological platform for the eco-materials sector. This platform will enable the development of new applications for residues from the wood and plant fibre processing industry, which has become important for economic growth as well as reducing emissions and carbon sequestration. The applied nature of this project will strengthen the research’s credibility through the development of strategic knowledge and technologies for Canada. It will also enhance the value and transfer of these new applications to the wood processing, chemical and advanced composite material industries by providing new environmentally friendly solutions.

Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles (CGI)

Over the last few years, the fishing and aquaculture industry has tried to make its infrastructure more profitable by diversifying production and cultivating algae for the food, functional food, neutraceutical and cosmetic industries.

CGI wants to position itself as a leader of this integrated, industrial, macroalgae production chain in Canada. Michel Larrivée, director of the research and innovation department at Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, will work with various research centres on the installation and maintenance of new state-of-the-art equipment funded by the CFI. The research infrastructure will allow the Cégep and its École des pêches et de l'aquaculture du Québec (school of fishing and aquaculture of Quebec) to develop novel algae-based food products.

The new equipment will support the institution’s efforts to process marine plant biomass and increase its market value. It will complement existing equipment to enable the development of high-value added products such as food and active ingredients, and reduce waste by using residues from algae processing to produce energy, packaging, food and textiles.

Conestoga College

Manufacturing is one of the Waterloo Region's most significant economic sectors, but many of its more than 600 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lack the in-house research capabilities and access to technology they need to remain competitive. Conestoga College’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing (CSM) has received funding from the CFI to enhance its ability to provide SMEs with applied research opportunities. Gregory Robertson, Director of Applied Research, and his team will work with new equipment in six existing labs and benefit from a new Manufacturing Prototyping Lab to innovate products and processes within the two research themes of High-Performance Manufacturing and ICT-Enabled Manufacturing. As a catalyst in the region’s innovation ecosystem, CSM will build on Conestoga's strengths in automation technologies, software and hardware design and engineering to generate innovative manufacturing solutions for SMEs, contributing to a stronger manufacturing sector.

The CFI’s College-Industry Innovation Fund recognizes the role applied research plays in supporting Canadian business. The CFI supports the spectrum of research activities, from fundamental discovery-driven research to applied research, along with private-sector innovation.

College-Industry Innovation Fund
Projects Funded


Project Title

Maximum CFI Contribution

Cégep de la Gaspésie et des îles

Programme OPTIMAL: filière intégrée pour une exploitation industrielle des algues de culture au Québec


Cégep de Rimouski

Renforcement de l'infrastructure de recherche et développement en Sciences du bois et des écomatériaux


Conestoga College

Centre for Smart Manufacturing



3 projects


Funding for research infrastructure associated with a NSERC Five-Year College and Community Innovation program – Innovation Enhancements grant award.