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Government of Canada Invests in Commercialization Centres: Support to Ensure More Ideas get to Market

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Kitchener, Ontario, November 13, 2013 - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology, today announced the results of a recent competition held by the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program. Three centres, including the Canadian Digital Media Network, will receive additional funding to advance commercialization in digital communications and environmental related technologies.

“The Government of Canada invests in federal R&D to support jobs, growth and the long-term prosperity of all our communities right across Canada, including right here in the Waterloo region,” said Minister of State Rickford. “The Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research program helps bridge the gap between ideas and the marketplace, providing funding for product and business development early in the innovation process, when it can often be more difficult to attract the private investment needed to secure the development of products to that next stage of growth.”

Grants totalling $22.2 million over five years have been awarded to centres across Canada, which also include GreenCentre Canada and the Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre.

The CECR program matches clusters of research expertise with the business community to share the knowledge and resources that bring innovative products and processes to market faster. The program invests $30 million per year in Canadian innovation, through a portfolio of 21 active centres across the country. Since 2008, CECRs have helped launch more than 100 new companies and have leveraged $420 million in partner contributions.

“One of the strengths of this program is the high level of private sector involvement, both in the operation of each centre and in the peer review process,” said Janet Walden, Chief Operating Officer of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. “This helps ensure that the program will bring Canadian research breakthroughs to market in the short term, and that the centres will sustain their impact after the government funding period has ended.”

The centres receiving additional funding through this competition were launched in 2009. The Canadian Digital Media Network, based in Kitchener, connects entrepreneurs, companies, and research institutes together to speed up the delivery of digital solutions to the marketplace.

The Networks of Centres of Excellence, which manages the CECR program, operates a suite of national funding programs on behalf of the three federal granting agencies—the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—in partnership with Industry Canada and Health Canada. NCE programs support large scale, multi-disciplinary collaborations between universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations, which focus Canada’s research capacity on economic and social challenges, help commercialize and apply research breakthroughs, increase private-sector R&D, and train highly qualified people.

For more details, read the attached backgrounder.

For further information, please contact:

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Communications Office of the Honourable Greg Rickford
Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Martin Leroux
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Media Relations
Industry Canada


The Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program bridges the gap between research and commercialization. The program matches clusters of research expertise with the business community to share the knowledge and resources that bring innovative products and processes to market faster. Centres advance research and facilitate commercialization within four priority areas: the environment; natural resources and energy; health and life sciences; and information and communications technologies.

Centres adopt different models to best serve the commercialization needs of their sector, including acting as investors, incubators or service providers. With revenue sources that range from fee-for service and membership fees to product sales, royalties and equity in start-up companies, each CECR has a mandate to become self-sustaining while maximizing economic impact for its partners.

The CECR program was created in 2007 and currently supports 21 active centres across the country.

The CECR competition resulted in three applicants receiving additional funding totaling $22.2 million over five years (2014-2019):

  • The Canadian Digital Media Network – CDMN ($8.7 million)
    The Canadian Digital Media Network helps bring digital media technologies to market in areas such as health care, education, entertainment, financial services, energy and advanced manufacturing. CDMN is dedicated to establishing Canada as a world leader in digital media and has created a network of 25 commercialization hubs across the country.
  • GreenCentre Canada – GCC ($9.1 million)
    Green Centre Canada transforms research breakthroughs in green chemistry, an area of research that develops processes and products to reduce or eliminate hazardous substances. By supporting the development of innovative green chemistry, GCC provides the industry with sustainable alternatives that meet market demands while improving human health and driving the economy.
  • Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre – ONCIC ($4.4 million)
    The Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre commercializes and applies the world-leading marine monitoring technology used by Ocean Networks Canada in its VENUS and NEPTUNE ocean observatories. The Innovation Centre also works with partners to market a suite of products and services designed to benefit sectors as diverse as marine safety and security, energy, and transportation management.

Photo Gallery

The Honourable Greg Rickford The Honourable Greg Rickford Kevin Tuer
From left to right: Iain Klugman, Tom Jenkins, The Honourable Greg Rickford, MP Peter Braid, Rui Resendes, Howie Honeyman, Kevin Tuer and Janet Walden The Honourable Greg Rickford and Iain Klugman MP Peter Braid and the Honourable Greg Rickford
From left to right: : Trevor Orton, MP Peter Braid, The Honourable Greg Rickford, Janet Walden and Tom Jenkins

Photo credit: Kayleigh Platz, Communitech