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Partnering for health innovation in Kingston

Government announces $3 million for City of Kingston and partners, including Queen’s, to boost regional health care innovation ecosystem.

Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the importance of strengthening health care innovation and economic development in Canada. Today, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced a FedDev Ontario investment of $3 million for the City of Kingston, in partnership with Queen’s, St. Lawrence College, GreenCentre Canada, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, and Kingston Economic Development Corporation, to establish a health innovation ecosystem in the region.

“Now, more than ever, supporting and diversifying our regional economies is essential for Canada’s success and sustainability,” says Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. “With FedDev Ontario’s funding for Kingston to establish a health-centred ecosystem, we are helping to bring new health technologies and innovations to market, while improving solutions for Canadians and creating quality, local jobs."

In bringing the region’s post-secondary and health care institutions together, the project aims to position Kingston as a place to develop, test, and commercialize innovative health care solutions. It is also set to leverage existing technology development hubs locally, establish new business advisory supports for entrepreneurs, and support new investment-attraction activities.

“Queen’s University is proud to be a significant partner in building an even more vibrant and successful health innovation ecosystem in Kingston,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “There is tremendous potential for success when government and community partners come together and work toward a shared vision, and I know that Queen’s students, staff, and faculty are looking forward to contributing their expertise and passion for research and innovation to this initiative.”

Many groups at Queen’s are set to contribute to the health innovation initiatives this funding will enable, including the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC), the Centre for Advanced Computing, Ingenuity Labs, and Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation. Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences is also a major contributor to strengthening the local health ecosystem as well.

The City of Kingston expects the partnership effort to create 100 skilled jobs, support the growth of 37 small- and medium-size enterprises, and commercialize 10 new health innovations.

“Kingston is perfectly positioned to be a leader in healthcare innovation,” says Bryan Paterson, Mayor of Kingston. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to further leverage these strengths as a community by establishing a health innovation hub. We’ll be able to create jobs and attract investment as we work towards meaningful recovery and also contribute to the healthcare sector as we address the challenges brought about by the pandemic.”

Among the groups set to receive a boost from this funding is Spectra Plasmonics, a company founded through the DDQIC and focused on innovative chemical testing devices with a wide array of existing and potential applications, including a rapid and fully portable drug analysis tool to help combat the opioid crisis.

“As a company that sits on the intersection of hard tech and digital health, we couldn't be more excited about an investment into a health innovation ecosystem here in Kingston,” says CEO Malcolm Eade. “I’m hopeful that collaborations like this will position Kingston as a launch pad for companies looking to scale nationally and internationally.”

For more on the announcement visit the FedDev Ontario website.