A game-changing investment in innovation

A game-changing investment in innovation

Investment to support creation of Innovation and Wellness Centre, biomedical research facility renovations.

By Chris Moffatt Armes

October 11, 2016


On Oct. 11, Queen’s announced that it had received a $31 million investment from the Government of Canada, under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). The investment, in addition to a $4.9 million investment from the Government of Ontario and the contributions of a number of benefactors, will support two capital projects on campus– the creation of the Queen’s Innovation and Wellness Centre and a revitalization of on-campus biomedical research facilities.

[Innovation and Wellness Centre]
Architect's rendering of the Innovation and Wellness Centre, as seen from Union St. and Division St.

“We are incredibly grateful to the federal and provincial governments, as well as the countless generous donors who have made this investment in the future of Queen’s,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The projects their investments support will enhance innovation programming at Queen’s and strengthen the university’s position in world-leading research. We look forward to continued future partnership with the government in strengthening innovation, research and economic development in Kingston and Canada as a whole.”

The Innovation and Wellness Centre, located on the site of the former Physical Education Centre, will feature expanded engineering facilities, makerspaces and experiential learning spaces funded by the SIF investment. The centre will be home to an Innovation Hub – centered around the successful Queen’s Innovation Connector – and state-of-the-art interdisciplinary laboratories. These facilities will increase opportunities for research, student design and learning, while also strengthening the university’s position in world-leading research. 

[Collaborative Learning Spaces]
The Innovation and Wellness Centre will bring collaborative and experiential learning spaces, state-of-the-art laboratories and mental health and wellness services together in one convenient location at the heart of campus.

The innovation and engineering facilities will be co-located with space for Student Wellness Services and the Chaplaincy. The wellness centre, funded entirely by philanthropic gifts, will also feature athletic and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre. The co-location of innovation and wellness services, a recommendation of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, will blend academic, recreational and other student life activities, and will emphasize to our students the important relationships that connect mental health, physical well-being and academic success. The project will also provide both a short-term and long-term economic stimulus to the Kingston community – through construction jobs and ongoing research and innovation, respectively.

“Today's investment from the Strategic Investment Fund is evidence of the Government's commitment to excellence in research, and understanding that we need to support our students, both in and out of the classroom,” says Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands. “By investing in our educational facilities, universities and colleges across the country can foster the development of skilled and successful workers, who will help Canadian companies compete and grow in a global market.”

The SIF investment will also allow for the revitalization of campus biomedical research facilities that support research by a number of top-level research groups at Queen’s. The investment will strengthen Queen’s and Canada’s position in world-leading biomedical research – providing Queen’s researchers with the facilities necessary to expand their translational research in areas such as neurological, cardiovascular and cancer research.

“Improving post-secondary facilities is part of our government’s plan to build Ontario up, grow our economy and create jobs, so I’m incredibly pleased that we are able to work cooperatively with Queen’s University and our Federal counterparts,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “Through this investment, we foster excellence, build our capacity to train the highly-skilled workforce of tomorrow, and to create knowledge and insights that will fuel discovery.”

“This is truly a game changing addition for the faculty and the university as a whole."  - Michael Norris (Sc’75), volunteer chair of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences fundraising campaign.

Nearly $37 million was donated by Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences alumni to support the innovation component of the revitalization project. Michael Norris (Sc’75), the volunteer chair of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences fundraising campaign said donors were inspired by the vision put forth by Dean Kim Woodhouse to promote entrepreneurialism within the faculty, and build on Queen’s standing as the premier engineering program in Canada.

“This is truly a game changing addition for the faculty and the university as a whole,” says Mr. Norris. “This campaign focused on reconnecting our alumni with the faculty and inspiring them with the vision put forth by Dean Woodhouse. This was a grassroots program that will hopefully have impact on the Queen’s community for generations to come.”

Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, says the new facility will play a vital role in the lives of students and the university as a whole.

“This generous funding from two levels of government, combined with the passionate support of dedicated Engineering alumni like Mike Norris, helps the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science remain a leader in engineering education and research,” says Dean Woodhouse.

The total cost of the two projects is approximately $119 million. In addition to the government funding announced today, Queen’s is contributing nearly $45.8 million towards the projects. Construction on the Innovation and Wellness Centre began in September and is expected to be completed in spring 2018. More information will be made available on the Queen’s Gazette website as the project progresses.