‘Journey’ is a word Janice Mady uses a lot when discussing Innovation Park at Queen’s University.
“Innovation parks are journeys,” she says. “They don’t happen overnight.”
The journey began for Queen’s just over two years ago with the objective of connecting academic activities with industry. Under the direction of Ms Mady, Innovation Park has attracted and retained a number of anchor partners.
With a solid foundation in place, the next stage of the Innovation Park journey is set to begin. The leadership team is currently drafting the master plan that will pave the way for Phase II expansion. The master plan is expected to be completed next spring.
“The plan will ensure that when we identify the next opportunity or it identifies itself we’re positioned to take advantage and make sure it happens here at Innovation Park as opposed to somewhere else,” she says.
Ms Mady came to Queen’s from her role as director of the $50-million BIOCAP Canada Foundation, an organization that stimulated research and development to address the major challenges associated with climate change and clean energy. Before that she enjoyed a 17-year career with Procter & Gamble.
Ms Mady identifies relationship building as the major aspect of her role as director of Innovation Park.
“I can connect with industry and find what’s of interest to companies and then match that with researchers inside the university who may have potential interest in what industry is looking for,” she says.
Novelis is Queen’s primary industry partner in the research park. Queen’s rents its facility at 945 Princess Street from Novelis. Last year the university purchased 50 acres of land surrounding the current facility for future expansion.
Innovation Park is at 76 per cent capacity thanks to several anchor partners. They include CMC Microsystems, ENDETEC, GreenCentre Canada, Queen’s-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre, KEDCO and the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, several emerging/small companies have located in the park as have several not-for-profit organizations that provide services to support the development of companies.
Innovation Park has managed to bring in organizations in all of the key areas it identified. The process hasn’t been easy by any means, though.
“We had to compete and it was often nip and tuck, but we were successful in attracting key organizations to the park,” Ms Mady says.
More information about Innovation Park can be found on its website.