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Queen's University

The Official Launch of the Innovation Park at Queen's University

Principal Williams' remarks

June 27, 2008

photo at Innovation Park Launch

Photo by Bernard Clark

Speaker Milliken, Ministers Gerretsen and Wilkinson, Mayor Rosen, Members of City Council, and other elected officials, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen ...

This is a big day for Queen's University ...

A day on which we reach ahead into a future that is ripe with opportunity, and ...

A day that many of us have looked forward to for a good long time.

The idea of an Innovation Park has been a tantalizing possibility for many people at Queen's for many years.

And that's one reason why today is so exciting. A facility such as this... that brings together the research expertise and the approach of academe with the research expertise and the different approach of industry ... is one of those stubbornly good ideas that - once articulated - just doesn't go away.

It was the vision and drive and experience of my predecessor Karen Hitchcock that made the good idea into a reality.

Karen was unavailable to be here today - she asked that we pass on her greetings to all of you - but Innovation Park is very much a product of her efforts.

Very importantly - she understood the crucial role of government as a prime mover in such initiatives.

Here in Kingston, she was clearly successful in developing the strong relationships that a project of this scale demands. For all of that, we are very much in her debt.

A project such as this also requires exquisite internal leadership and here I'd like to pay particular tribute to the efforts of Vice-Principal, Kerry Rowe.

And since this kind of progress is all about relationships, I want to pause here and say the following to Minister Wilkinson:

... we are, at Queen's and the City of Kingston, deeply appreciative of the Government of Ontario's $21 million vote of confidence in Queen's and in the University's ability to bring this vision to reality.

I want to thank you and your Government very much.

While I am expressing our gratitude this morning I also want to say to Martha Brooks - and through you to all of Novelis ...

... without your commitment to engaging with Queen's on a long-term basis to achieve our mutual innovation goals, this project would not be off the ground. We strongly believe that Novelis' lead on this will attract other industry partners interested in a more open approach to innovation, and we salute your foresight.

It's very satisfying - today to be in a position to help advance this project. Not only is it already a big accomplishment and an exciting step forward, I truly believe that, with Innovation Park, Queen's will create new education opportunities, help industry (even as we also learn from industry), and ultimately spur economic growth in the region. Some of the research that I have recently read concerning university research parks suggests that for every job created, 2.5 - 3 more are created in the region where the park is located.

Having worked for many years with agencies such as the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, I know intimately the challenges of building and sustaining prosperity in a city.

I also know this that we move farther and faster - as a university, and as a community and as a region - when we move forward together, that's the core insight of projects such as Innovation Park.

And so I also want to take this opportunity to tell you that the same kind of thinking guides another important development accompanying the efforts you can already see here today.

Just as Queen's University is building up this physical infrastructure for capturing innovation, so too are we building an intellectual infrastructure around Innovation Park.

Several of the departments at Queen's are already assembling a cluster of new faculty positions to support interdisciplinary research related to our society's shift toward a sustainable bioeconomy. And the first of our new faculty members joins us in July.

Those efforts are closely interwoven with what goes on here at Innovation Park, and I can tell you that they are reflective of Queen's commitment to the success of this partnership.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000