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Ontario Centre of Innovation
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Media Releases

New Partnership to Drive Innovation and Economic Growth in Ontario’s Heartland

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APRIL 17, 2024 (TORONTO,ON) – A transformative collaboration has been forged between leading academic and economic development institutions to amplify innovation and growth opportunities in Ontario. Today, at opening day of the DiscoveryX conference in Toronto, the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), Trent University, Fleming College, Innovation Cluster Peterborough & The Kawarthas (ICPK), Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED), and the City of Kawartha Lakes announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing that fuels the province’s economic engine.

By leveraging the expertise of these esteemed institutions, the initiative seeks to empower businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to thrive through innovation.

Through this collaboration, OCI, Trent University, Fleming College, ICPK, PKED, and Kawartha Lakes will establish a robust framework for fostering collaboration between academia and industry. By bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, the partnership will enable businesses to access cutting-edge research and development resources.

This MOU signals a new era of innovation in Ontario’s heartland. By harnessing the collective strengths of academia and economic development organizations, the partnership aims to nurture a vibrant innovation ecosystem that drives economic growth and prosperity across the region.


“This partnership exemplifies our collective commitment to driving innovation and economic growth in Ontario’s heartland. By leveraging our respective strengths, we aim to empower businesses to thrive and prosper through applied research and collaboration.”

– Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO, Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI)

“We’re excited to be a part of this initiative, building a stronger economy through collaboration. We’re proud to work with such esteemed partners, and recognize this is a true commitment to transform our region into a hub of economic growth.”

– Doug Elmslie, Mayor, Kawartha Lakes

Trent University enthusiastically welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with OCI, Fleming College, ICPK, PKED, and Kawartha Lakes to propel innovation and economic growth in our area. Together, we will pave the way for businesses to utilize applied research and catalyze impactful transformation.

– Christopher Rooney, Senior Director, Research and Innovation, Trent University

“Fleming College is excited to collaborate with our local partners on this transformative initiative. Bridging the gap between academia, specifically our applied research team, and industry, together we’re building a future where innovation thrives and propels economic growth and prosperity in our community.”

– Dr. Brett Goodwin; Executive Vice President, Applied Research at Fleming College

“Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development is excited to collaborate with our esteemed partners in this initiative. By working together to support businesses and foster innovation, we will create new opportunities for growth and prosperity in our region.”

– Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development

“Innovation Cluster Peterborough & The Kawarthas is proud to be part of this groundbreaking partnership. Together with OCI, Trent University, Fleming College, PKED, and Kawartha Lakes, we will further empower businesses to harness the power of applied research and drive meaningful innovation.”

– Christine Crandell, Vice-Chair of the Board, Innovation Cluster Peterborough & The Kawarthas

About the Ontario Centre of Innovation:
The Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) brings industry, academic, and government partners together to invest in collaborative R&D, technology development, and commercialization opportunities that generate the highest return on innovation for Ontarians.
As an ecosystem connector, OCI initiates unparalleled partnership opportunities, develops and manages successful industry-academic collaborations, supports high-potential SMEs in commercializing ground-breaking research, and provides hands-on training and skills development opportunities for the next generation of highly-skilled talent.OCI drives economic growth and job creation through investments in the development, commercialization, and adoption of advanced technologies.
For more information: https://www.oc-innovation.ca

Trent University:
One of Canada’s top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that’s personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world.
Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day.
Today, Trent’s unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent’s students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues.
Trent’s Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

Fleming College:
Fleming College respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg lands and territory. Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Sciences, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has more than 6,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and 80,000 alumni.

Fleming College is home to three applied research centres that cater to industry needs:

The Centre for Advancement in Mechatronics and Industrial Internet of Things (CAMIIT) specializes in system design, Industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, mechatronics product development, advanced manufacturing, and 3D printing.

The Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies (CAWT) is a unique, internationally recognized, water research centre with advanced infrastructure and accredited on-site facilities.

The Centre for Innovative Aquaculture Production (CIAP) is committed to helping shape and grow the country’s aquaculture industry through research, innovation, and knowledge transfer.

For more information: https://flemingcollege.ca/applied-research

Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development:
Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) is the lead regional economic development agency contracted to conduct core economic development activities on behalf of the City and County of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. 
PKED also operates Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, (the region’s official Destination Marketing Organization and Visitor Centre), and the Business Advisory Centre.
PKED’s team of economic development experts strive to identify growth opportunities for the region and attract new companies and visitors by highlighting the region’s competitive advantages. For more investment information: https://investptbo.ca/  
For visitor information:  https://thekawarthas.ca/

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK):
Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs in launching, growing, and scaling their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.
The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs. Startup Incubator – a full-service startup incubator program
LevelUP – a full-service accelerator program
STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program
Slingshot – Student Entrepreneurship Program

Startup Incubator – a full-service startup incubator program
LevelUP – a full-service accelerator program
STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program
Slingshot – Student Entrepreneurship Program
LAUNCH Kawartha – The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes.
For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca
Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, LAUNCH Kawartha, OMAFRA, and Feddev Ontario.

Kawartha Lakes:
Kawartha Lakes is Southern Ontario’s largest geographic municipality and home to 80,000 full time residents.
The Kawartha Lakes Economic Development team is dedicated to innovation and economic growth for a successful and sustainable future. We focus on strong partnerships and smart investments to support a business-friendly and inclusive environment.
Our efforts are guided by our core values: inclusivity, collaboration, sustainability, resilience, and excellence. We work to support business growth, invest in critical infrastructure, promote talent development, attract investment and talent, facilitate collaboration, and promote sectoral diversification. We do this by offering programs and resources to support local businesses and investments, including the Small Business Centre, Development Concierge, Million Dollar Makeover and more. Our overall goal is to drive sustainable economic growth and enhance the quality of life for all residents.

Media Contacts:
Sarah Deeth, Communications Officer, Fleming College, sarah.deeth@flemingcollege.ca

Cheri Davidson, Manager, Communications Advertising and Marketing, Kawartha Lakes

Olivia Flynn, Communications and Media Relations Officer, Trent University

Alicia Pereira, Director, Communications, Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI)

Christine Crandell, Vice Chair of the Board, Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas, board@innovationcluster.ca