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Composites Knowledge Network - CKN*

$1.6 million for 2019-24
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Composites Knowledge Network

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia

Network Co-Director
Anoush Poursartip Anoush Poursartip

Knowledge User Co-Director
 Mike HudekMike Hudek

Board Chair
Brad FieldBrad Field

Translating world-class knowledge on composite materials and structures

The opportunity

The world has entered the Age of Composites Manufacturing: Stronger, safer, lighter, cleaner and cheaper materials are sparking innovation in every realm, from health, design and sustainability to transportation, aeronautics and space travel. Canada is one of 11 nations around the world that excels in advanced manufacturing, and our strength here lies in the diversity of our business base—large multinationals, sophisticated smaller companies, and most especially, small-to-medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. But composites manufacturing is costly, brain-trust-intensive and dependent on access to state-of-the-art information, expertise and infrastructure. Being geographically disperse, with restricted resources, few or no engineering staff and limited visibility of the evolving science and technology, Canada’s SMEs face insurmountable obstacles to helping keep Canada competitive.

How CKN is seizing the opportunity

The Composites Knowledge Network (CKN) is a national network through which Canada can translate its world-class scientific research breakthroughs into practical application at production scale in real time. The vision of CKN is to be Canada’s leader in translating world-class knowledge on composite materials and structures to industry quickly and effectively to benefit small businesses, their employees and the communities they serve.

Among the results

  • The Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC), which houses state-of-the-art composites knowledge, best practices and resources for all levels of the composites industry, launched on March 11, 2021. With access to the KPC, Canadian companies will be better equipped to produce the best composite parts at low cost (improve margins to generate growth) and highest quality (building growth by reputation) while meeting market demands for production volumes (supply) and functionality.
  • In response to the COVID-10 pandemic, the CKN initiated an industry-wide survey to understand immediate impacts and assess likely needs during recovery. The survey results demonstrated that—to date—the industry had survived the pandemic reasonably well, however growth reported from the 2017 to 2019 period (in a pre-pandemic 2019 CKN survey) had been largely replaced with stagnant revenues and a greater number of companies reported decreasing revenues and staffing levels.
  • Application + Impact Mobilization Events (AIM Events) are a key pillar of the CKN’s mandate to improve industry’s knowledge of important scientific principles that affect composites. During the 2020-21 year, CKN offered a popular 12-part Composite Materials Engineering series and four stand-alone events. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these events were offered as online webinars, with over 1,175 attendees and 1,350 views of the recorded webinars to date.
  • Efforts to build community and the reputation of the CKN continue, through ongoing marketing and communications to a growing audience, with about 900 new email subscribers in the last year, 183 new followers on LinkedIn, and 54 new followers on Twitter. Regular communications will continue to raise awareness and collaboration, including a dedicated communications campaign to draw users to the Knowledge in Practice Centre.

Connect with CKN

* (formerly known as CRN Knowledge Mobilization Centre (CRN-KMC))