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February 20, 2018

Canadian colleges and institutes to play a key role in the innovation superclusters

Last week, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announced the five eagerly anticipated Innovation Superclusters – and CICan was thrilled to see many of its members from across the country involved! By sharing their expertise with the many partners involved, our members will play an important role in the success of these newly bolstered networks and help propel Canadian innovation to new levels.

In total, the government of Canada is investing $950 million to fund five supercluster initiatives through Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan. The winning projects are in the fields of AI-powered supply chains, advanced manufacturing, digital technology, ocean industries and protein innovations. Their objective is to bring together Canadian businesses of all sizes, post-secondary institutions, and not-for-profit organizations to spark growth and help Canada realize its potential as a global leader in innovation.

To date, more than 30 CICan members across the country have been called upon to play a critical role in the five superclusters. Their ongoing participation will not only help to solve a variety of challenges encountered in different industries, but also help meet labour needs in these emerging sectors. The many skills training and technical education programs they offer will also play an essential role in supporting the growth of the superclusters.

“Colleges and institutes have a long history of collaborating with private sector, community and government partners to bring Canadian innovation to life, making them natural partners for the companies and organizations involved in the various superclusters”, noted Denise Amyot, president and CEO of CICan. “But this is only the beginning. We fully expect to see more colleges and institutes get involved in the superclusters going forward. Today’s announcement should be a catalyst to boost research in five key areas, and colleges and institutes are well positioned to be active players.”

With over 175 research centres, more than 220 labs, and a wealth of experience in applied research, colleges and institutes occupy a critical space in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. This includes expertise in advanced manufacturingagri-foodnatural resources and clean technologieshealth and bio-science and digital technology.

The superclusters will help leverage their ingenuity and unique role in order to advance Canadian leadership in key sectors and respond to industry needs.

College and institute leaders gather at CICan’s Applied Research Symposium

From February 12-13, CICan had the pleasure of welcoming nearly 200 participants – including students, community and industry partners, college and institute leaders, and government representatives – for two days of discussions and sharing in support of Canadian innovators at its Applied Research Symposium. Under the theme of Accelerating Innovation through Applied Research, the symposium was host to discussions and roundtables on topics such as Growing Talent through Work and Research Integrated Learning, Scaling Up Small and Medium Enterprises, and Applied Social Innovation for Empowered Communities.

The event was also host to an important update from Mitacs Canada which announced the extension of eligibility for Mitacs’ Accelerate pilot program to all college and institute students! Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretarat to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, David Lametti, spoke following the announcement and highlighted CICan’s important role in advocating at all levels for this extension over the past year. As a follow-up to the presentation, Mitacs is pleased to share their Call for Reviewers, and are eager to have leaders from the college and institute sector take part! For more information, please contact Sarah Petersen, Manager, Research Review at

Among the highlights of the event was a Student Innovation Showcase during which 20 students from colleges and institutes across the country presented their amazing applied research projects, such as a gamified waste-sorting project from New Brunswick Community College and a study of student mental health from Grande Prairie Regional College. The showcase opened with a warm welcome from Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Bardish Chagger, and Member of Parliament Mona Fortier – who worked for many years at Collège la Cité.

We would like to thank all speakers and participants for making this event such a success! To view photos from the event, click here. Presentation slides from the event are available here. If you missed the event, use the hashtag #CICanInnovation on Twitter to take part in the conversation.

CICan Conference 2018 update: Meet one of our Keynote Speakers

Conference 2018 is fast approaching – here’s a sneak peek at one of our keynote sessions: speaker Vicki Saunders!

Vicki is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of SheEO, a global community of women radically transforming how we finance, support and celebrate female innovators. Vicki is creating a new approach to business: one that supports women-led ventures that have a positive impact on the world. She encourages audiences to look beyond the traditional and the trendy to find a path to success without compromise; where four-day work weeks and quarterly vacations are mandatory and you only do the work that ignites you!

To learn more about our speakers, click here.

Remember to also book your accommodations as soon as possible. Hotels will fill up quickly. Click here for information.

7th annual Education for Employment forum held in Senegal

On February 6th, the Private Sector Growth through Education for Employment (PSG-EFE) team in Senegal hosted its 7th annual forum, bringing together over 120 participants representing Senegalese partner institutions, Canadian colleges, Senegalese Ministry leaders, local businesses, and representatives from both Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and CICan. The project team took advantage of the forum to present Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy (presented by GAC), Senegal’s new gender equality policy (presented by the Ministry of Women, Family, and Gender) and the project’s own gender strategy.

During the event, Philippe Mpeck, Director of International Development and Cooperation at the Cégep de Trois-Rivières, was honoured, as part of the inauguration of a new department at the Lycée Technique Abdoulaye Niasse de Kaolack, with a Higher Technician’s License in cooling, air conditioning, and plumbing. The Senegalese Minister of Professional Education and Marie-Josée Fortin of CICan, as well as representatives of the Canadian Embassy, other Canadian colleges, and several local authorities, were in attendance.

Since the beginning of its partnership with the Lycée in 2009, the Cégep de Trois-Rivières has participated in CICan Education for Employment projects (EFE and PSG-EFE) and contributed to the development of two technical education programs, the purchase of over $100,000 in equipment, and the construction of a brand new building.

Take part in CICan’s Leadership Institute for Leaders in International

From April 27-29, CICan is pleased to offer a Leadership Institute for Leaders in International at Camosun College. This intensive program is designed for those in the role of manager or new director in international offices and divisions who seek leadership development for their current position, and leaders who are new or interested in learning how to better lead their department and institution in international initiatives, and equip them with the skills essential for success.

Click here for more information and to register.

Join us for these exciting upcoming webinars!

CICan is pleased to offer the following upcoming webinars:

Overview of the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST

This new program aims to create work placements for students across Canada by supporting partnerships between employers and post-secondary institutions. Want to gain a better understanding of how this new program works or how you or your organization can benefit from taking part in the program, then this webinar is for you. This webinar is hosted by Employment and Social Development Canada, Skills and Employment Branch, Employer Liaison Services.

Click here for more information and to join the webinar.

100 Career Options to Ignite Your Students’ Futures

Wednesday, February 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (EST)

Full- and part-time career opportunities in over 100 trades are available for your students. Join us to learn about the benefits and opportunities sure to spark your students’ interests in starting a career with the Canadian Armed Forces during and after their studies. Hear from Private Loba Ayari, a graduate of pure and applied sciences at Collège de Maisonneuve, who is now a water, fuels and environmental technician. Recruiting Advisors will also be present to answer your questions on eligibility, education requirements and how the Canadian Armed Forces can be an employer of choice for your students.

Click here for more information and to join the webinar.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that Saskatchewan Polytechnic is working on producing the world’s first 3D-printed full-sized camper? Through applied research, the polytechnic partnered with Wave of the Future 3D and Create Café 3D Printing Solutions Inc. to develop custom, high-flow printing nozzles essential to the printing of the fully customizable 600-lb camper, nicknamed The Wave. Read more about this innovative project here.


Cégep Marie-Victorin’s Board of Governors was pleased to renew Sylvain Mandeville’s contract as Director General for a second term.

Thompson Rivers University’s Board of Governors was pleased to welcome Nathan Matthew as the university’s new Chancellor. Matthew is also chief of the Simpcw First Nation of Chu Chua.

BCIT was also pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chief Information Officer. Roy Hart will assume the role after over 25 years in enterprise IT, strategy, and leadership across multiple sectors.


Conference 2018

Registration for CICan’s 2018 Conference is currently open. Click here for more information and to register.

Art Showcase

Submissions for CICan’s 2018 Art Showcase are open. Click here for more information and to submit.

Send Us Your News

One of our main goals at Colleges and Institutes Canada is to champion and share the innovations and awesomeness of our members. You can help! We want to hear about your new applied research, industry and community partnerships, international education, important financial investments and more. Add to your media mailing lists! We’ll share member institution News Releases and other upcoming announcements online and with our national media contacts based in Ottawa.