Springboard Atlantic


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Celebrating Success: 2017-18 Year In Review


Since joining Springboard in January it has been my pleasure to get to know our membership, our partners, and our clients. We are very lucky in Atlantic Canada to have an organization like Springboard representing the collective research and development capacity of 19 institutions across the region. Springboard’s vision is one of an Atlantic Canada where universities and colleges realize their full potential to solve the most significant economic and social challenges society faces through meaningful collaboration and the commercialization of research.  More than 30 Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer (ILO/TTO) professionals work on behalf of Springboard Atlantic within their institutions to fulfill its mandate. First, by working with researchers to bring world-class ideas to the marketplace and second, by working with industry to address key issues and to capitalize on new opportunities through the application of research. The Springboard network stands as a leading model in Canada to drive innovation and competitiveness through the partnership of industry and institutions. It is my pleasure to lead this organization and to share our success over the last year with you now.

By the numbers:

Like the researchers we work with we believe in measurable outcomes. And, we’ve got lots of numbers to share. Let’s take a deeper look at the numbers behind our infographic and what they mean for Atlantic Canada.

In the last year alone, the Industry Liaison Officers of the network met with 1703 companies. That’s 32 companies a week for 52 weeks. That’s a lot of industry engagement. These meetings are the pipeline that feeds the 2000 industry research deals that were executed by our membership this year and the 511 transfers of intellectual property out of the institutions and into products and services in the marketplace.

What does the work behind these numbers actually look like? The ILO/TTOs work spans every aspect of the research & development lifecycle. Their roles are varied and can range from negotiating new licensing deals with large corporations to advising start-up companies on intellectual property strategy.  They understand how to navigate the funding landscape to help finance the development of new ideas, and they can negotiate the deal(s) that ensure the idea becomes a product or service that benefits a company.

In addition to the human power of the network that is driving innovative ideas forward, , we also spent $820,319 #springboarding new opportunities. This funding comes from our Innovation Mobilization program, a $1.5-million fund that enables network members to undertake specific commercialization projects within their institutions.   These projects include proof of concept testing, patent & legal support, market analysis & prototyping, and industry engagement.

Stories of Success:

There is a story behind every one of these big numbers we are sharing with you. Let’s take for example the new relationship between UPEI and Nautlilus Biosciences that helped facilitate the sale of Nautilus to Croda International. Croda plans to not only keep the PEI facility but expand their footprint and create the Croda Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology in Charlottetown. Or CCNB, who recently completed an NRC research grant to help the brewing industry identify critical points in their process. This initiative helped various breweries from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec by providing a full analysis of one of their beers accompanied by a detailed report highlighting the most noticeable characteristics of their brew. The initiative also helped to optimize their processes and the next phase of the project will build more capacity for quality control on site. In an industry where quality and consistency are king, this type of data is invaluable to their production.

Looking forward:

As we build on the success of last year we will continue driving meaningful economic growth and innovation with an even greater focus on our three main pillars. Our support of the startup ecosystem will remain a key component of our work. With some exciting new partnerships on the horizon for the fall, we are looking forward to continuing to drive the quantity and quality of new business ideas in the region. We’ll also target new industry-specific solutions in those sectors that mean the most to our Atlantic economy and will increase competitiveness through the adoption of innovative practices and technologies. Trying a new model of collaboration in a directed way will drive exciting new opportunities for our company partners. And finally, we know our institutions provide the entire region with a unique comparative advantage when working with national and international partners. The collective research and development capacity in Atlantic Canada is over 10000 people strong. Utilizing that capacity to attract new business and research investment is the basis of our final pillar. Aligning these pillars with the priorities of our member institutions and continuing to support our existing commercialization mandate is key to our success going forward.

We see pilot projects as the perfect place to start and look forward to providing more details in the coming months as we launch projects that support a renewed strategic focus.  If this past year’s Investment Opportunities Pilot Program is any indication (p.s. exciting outcomes from that project coming soon to a news outlet near you) we know we’re on the right track. We’re looking forward to taking on these new challenges and can’t wait to share more with you.

If you would like to join us and be a part of bringing business, universities and colleges together to make exciting things happen in Atlantic Canada, please reach out. We are always looking for new partners and new challenges to solve.