December 7, 2016 – Paul Morden, The Observer – Lambton College has received $6.3 million to help establish three centres for applied research.
The college in Sarnia held an event Wednesday to celebrate funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to establish a Bio-Industrial Process Research Centre and the Lambton Energy Research Centre, and funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund for the college’s Centre for Industrial Material Development.
That funding will be used to buy advanced equipment for applied research, allowing the centre to operate as a regional hub for industrial material development projects, while providing services to industry to improve, develop, test and bring to market new materials and products.
The Centre for Industrial Material Development and the Lambton Energy Research Centre were established this year by the college. The Bio-industrial Process Research Centre was established in 2015, and provides bio-industry partners with the ability to conduct applied research, as well as provides services to test and commercialize technologies and products.
“Lambton College has distinguished itself as a leader in applied research and development,” said Sandy Marshall, chairperson of the college’s board of governors.
Lambton recently was ranked first for college-based applied research in Ontario, and third in Canada.
“It’s the little college that could,” Marshall said.
“When I think about what we’ve accomplished over the last 10 years, moving from a very small research program to what we’re doing today, it is quite remarkable and very impressive.”
Since 2008, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has approved 60 grants to Lambton College, said Bert van den Berg, a director with the council.
“We’ve invested, already, $8 million in those grants, and there’s certainly more to come.”
There has been strong growth in applied research across the country, van den Berg said.
“We’ve seen that the college applied research activity, like here in Lambton, has strengthened the research system in Canada, improved the training of the next generation of talent, and helped business be more innovative and entrepreneurial.”
Mehdi Sheikhzadeh, dean of applied research and innovation, said, “The establishment of these centres are critical for the success of our college, the community and, of course, Canada.”
In particular, the centres help small and medium-size businesses carry out research, he said.
“In the next five years, we are expecting that these three centres will serve more than 100 industrial projects,” with more than 135 college students and 30 faculty members involved in the research, Sheikhzadeh said.
College president Judith Morris said Lambton has joined Sarnia-based Bio-industrial Innovation Canada and others in the community working to diversify the local economy to make it a North American leader in energy and bio-industrial technologies.
“We are driving that vision, with a vengeance,” she said.