The University of New Brunswick has announced the creation of a post-doctoral fellowship program focused on innovation, the latest in a string of initiatives at UNB to enhance the development of new technologies.

The Fredericton university said in a statement on Tuesday it had received a $1.25 million gift from The McCain Foundation, which will fund the new fellowships.

The goal is to equip PhD graduates with the resources they need to transform their research into a product ready for market. These two- to three-year fellowships are valued at $50,000 per year and will be awarded competitively on an annual basis.

The McCain Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Innovation are designed to attract top early-career researchers to UNB. Over the course of their tenure, they will deepen their expertise in a specialist subject under the mentorship of faculty and through partnerships with industry leaders.

UNB has made several announcements lately in the tech and innovation space as it boosts its programing in research, commercialization and a combination of the two. The university announced the opening of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity in January, and the new Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in May. Last December, it launched its Energia Accelerator for companies in the energy, cleantech and cybersecurity fields, and last October, RBC donated $1 million to its entrepreneurship program.

“I wish to extend my thanks to The McCain Foundation for this exceptional gift,” said UNB President Eddy Campbell in the statement. “The McCain name is synonymous with entrepreneurship and innovation in New Brunswick and these new fellowships will carry on that legacy. They will attract highly trained and experienced researchers who will promote and encourage vital partnerships between academia and industry with potential benefits for all Canadians.”

Campbell added the McCain Fellowships will play a key role in driving discovery, expanding knowledge, and advancing the economy in the province and beyond.

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The inaugural recipient of the McCain Fellowship is Edward Cyr. He came to UNB from the University of Waterloo in May, and began building his research program at the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre. He is investigating the role that artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing play in the evolution of printed materials such as advanced stainless steels and aluminum alloys. He expects that the results will have applications in the marine industry, as well as the automotive, construction, and aircraft industries.

Linda McCain, chair of The McCain Foundation, said the fellowships will provide unique training opportunities for early-career researchers. “We believe that these fellowships will enhance the recipients’ specialized expertise and also give them valuable skills that will translate their ideas into more opportunities for themselves and others in New Brunswick,” she said.