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February 23, 2015

Seneca becomes first college to receive NSERC Synergy Award

On February 17, Toronto’s Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology received the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada’s (NSERC) prestigious Synergy Award for innovation. Seneca is the first college to receive the award thanks to the work of David Humphrey, a professor at Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology and the founding member of the Centre for Development of Open Technology at Seneca College. The award recognized the partnership between Seneca and the Mozilla Foundation, which has helped make their popular browser Firefox more interactive while giving students job-ready skills in Canada’s world leading video-game sector. This was the first time colleges and institutes were eligible for the NSERC Synergy Award thanks to the creation of a new category in 2014. This is a great step forward for colleges and institutes everywhere, and proof of the quality of their many applied research projects. Congratulations to Seneca College for breaking the ice with such an exemplary project! Photo Credit: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall

Did you know?

(Special Oscars Edition) Two Canadian college graduates have struck Oscar gold! On February 22, Fanshawe College graduate Craig Mann won the Academy Award for best sound mixing for his work on “Whiplash” while Sheridan graduate Chris Williams took home the Oscar for best animated feature with “Big Hero 6”. This was a second nomination for Williams who was also co-director of the hit 2008 animated film “Bolt”. If that was not enough to highlight the success of Sheridan’s animation program, Williams was nominated alongside two fellow Sheridan graduates: Dean DeBlois and Graham Annable, who directed “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “The Boxtrolls”, respectively. This means that Sheridan alumni directed three out of the five Oscar nominated features! Congratulations to all!
This week, I got to witness a very proud moment for one of our member colleges when Seneca’s David Humphrey became the first college professor to receive the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation. I was lucky enough to be present at the official awards ceremony at Rideau Hall, where His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston presented NSERC awards to outstanding Canadian scientists and engineers. It was incredible to witness Seneca’s David Humphrey receiving his award for his outstanding work in partnership with the Mozilla Foundation. What an amazing moment for college applied research! Judging by all of the winners’ speeches and achievements, Canada’s science sector is in great hands! I particularly appreciated seeing Minister of State for Sciences and Technology Ed Holder’s enthusiasm for science. What a great evening! After the ceremony at Rideau Hall, it was off to Quebec City for a meeting with la Fédération des cégeps, the voluntary association representing 48 of Quebec’s public cégeps. CICan and the federation hosted the event to discuss growth and innovation at institutes while dealing with budget cuts. It was a topical discussion given the recent challenges our Quebec members have been facing in terms of government funding. We also discussed entrepreneurship ahead of CICan’s entrepreneurship symposium, which is coming up fast and should be a fantastic event!


Mr. Donald Bherer’s term as Director General of Cegep de Sept-Iles has been renewed for another five years, beginning August 1st 2015. This is Mr. Bherer’s third term in this role. He joined the institution in 2005. Robin Walters has been appointed Vice President, Industry and Community Engagement at College of the North Atlantic. Mr. Walters has a long history with the college, most recently serving as the Dean for the School of Industrial Trades – the college’s largest academic school, a position he’s held since November of 2011.

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