Springboard Atlantic will receive $9.6 million in funding from the federal government to continue providing a bridge between industry and Atlantic Canadian academia for the next three years.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency announced the funding on Wednesday, saying it would come from the agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund. The statement added that the 19 post-secondary institutions that make up the Springboard network will also contribute a total of $5.1 million.
Springboard works with Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges to encourage and support researchers within these institutions in working with industry. The group works with companies of all sizes to conduct R&D with academic researchers, and helps students and faculty begin their own companies based on their research.
“For almost 15 years the Springboard Atlantic network has been applying practical research to address real industry problems,” said Springboard President and CEO Daryl Genge in a statement. “Our member institutions have helped companies at all stages capitalize on new opportunities and have been instrumental in fostering many of the region’s most of innovative firms. This would not have been possible without the confidence and backing of partners such as ACOA.”
These funds will support the efforts of 30 industry liaison officers situated at 14 universities and five colleges across Atlantic Canada, as well as six staff at Springboard’s head office in Halifax. Their work with post-secondary institutions help match up publicly funded research and knowledge with private sector needs, resulting in new marketable products and services.
These 30 liaison officers interact with corporations to understand industry problems and work to find ways that researchers can help to find solutions. They also provide a link between the 19 universities and colleges, so a research project could use the specialization found in several institutions.
Springboard has also helped academics learn how to turn their discoveries into companies – how to assess market demand, develop a product, find funding and get it to market. It even provides some early-stage financing for some of these enterprises.
Springboard is also driving collaboration in priority sectors of the Atlantic Canada economy, most recently with “Ocean to Plate”, a series of consultations to help the lobster industry find solutions to new and evolving challenges.
“Springboard Atlantic’s role is to match universities and colleges to private sector potential so that the valuable research our educational institutions are doing can be turned into products and services that people want to buy,” said Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan in the statement. “This investment – through ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund – will ensure Springboard’s excellent work can continue until March 2023.”
Disclosure: Springboard and ACOA are clients of Entrevestor.