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CICan congratulates Seneca College on Synergy Award win

Ottawa, February 17 – Toronto’s Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology became the first college to receive the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada’s (NSERC) prestigious Synergy Award for Innovation today thanks to the work of Professor David Humphrey. This is a great step forward for colleges everywhere and testament to the quality of their many applied research projects.

This year’s award recognizes the very successful partnership between Seneca College and the Mozilla Foundation. The project is led by David Humphrey, professor at Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology and founding member of the Centre for Development of Open Technologyat Seneca College. Its aim is to make the popular online browser Firefox more interactive while giving students job-ready skills in Canada’s world-leading video game sector.

The web developer’s open source platform has made it possible for hundreds of Seneca students to contribute their own ideas and code to make Firefox more interactive in the online media and gaming space. The benefit of partnerships like this one extend well beyond the research; a dozen Seneca graduates now work for Mozilla and are mentoring the next generation of Seneca students.

The Synergy Awards for Innovation are distributed every year by NSERC to recognize successful partnerships in natural sciences and engineering research and development between post-secondary institutions and industry. A new category was added in 2014 to recognize research projects in colleges and institutes across the country. It includes a $100,000 grant for applied research tools and instruments.

[otw_shortcode_quote border_style=”bordered” background_pattern=”otw-pattern-1″]Colleges and Institutes across the country are producing groundbreaking applied research projects and we are very happy that they will now be recognized by NSERC’s Synergy Awards. We hope that this well-deserved recognition for Seneca College will open the way for more partnerships and bring renewed attention to the crucial role that colleges and institutes play in driving Canadian innovation.
Denise Amyot, President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada[/otw_shortcode_quote]

[otw_shortcode_quote border_style=”bordered” background_pattern=”otw-pattern-1″]Industry-college partnerships that advance innovation and move ideas from the lab to the marketplace more quickly are key to creating jobs and prosperity for Canadians. I would therefore like to offer my sincere congratulations to Seneca College and the Mozilla Foundation on their award-winning partnership to further develop the Firefox web-browsing platform while training the next generation of job-ready computer programmers.
Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)[/otw_shortcode_quote]

[otw_shortcode_quote border_style=”bordered” background_pattern=”otw-pattern-1″]We are proud to see Professor David Humphrey and Mozilla recognized for their long-standing and innovative partnership. Seneca is committed to providing students with experiential learning opportunities throughout their education including applied research partnerships, and David’s work has been outstanding.
David Agnew, President, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology[/otw_shortcode_quote]

[otw_shortcode_quote border_style=”bordered” background_pattern=”otw-pattern-1″]Seneca professor David Humphrey is doing something that is at once simple and ground breaking: using Mozilla’s open source code base as a classroom and lab. I wish more educators would do this. The dividends for both students and the tech industry are huge.
Mark Surman, Executive director, Mozilla Foundation[/otw_shortcode_quote]

About Colleges and Institutes Canada

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes and polytechnics. We work with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities in Canada. The Association operates in 29 countries via 13 offices around the world.


For more information:

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter: @CollegeCan