Keeping up with the OPI

Welcome to the March edition of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation’s (OPI) blog. If you’ve missed our first two editions, please check them out!

Here are a few updates on the OPI’s priorities and activities in February:

  • The Research Partnerships Unit (RPU) engaged with over 45 faculty members at Queen’s, and 120 companies and organizations in the region, Ontario, Canada, and beyond. Here are two examples of this team's engagement and support:
    • At the request of the Office of the VP Research, the RPU conducted a detailed evaluation, for relevance and eligibility to Queen’s faculty members, of the funding programs posted on the newly released Federal Government Clean Growth Hub web portal. This site pulls together all federal funding programs that support clean technology and sustainability initiatives. Outreach to and engagement with faculty members who are interested in clean technology development and demonstration resulted in the preparation of proposals and submission of two applications.
    • The RPU worked with the Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC) to prepare and submit Queen’s application for membership, which will provide the Queen’s research community with profile and structured networking opportunities to engage with industry. A broad scope of research at Queen’s is contributing to significant discoveries for the aerospace industry. Collaborative, interdisciplinary teams are working on projects related to lightweight designs, topology optimization, advanced materials, the optimization of aerospace parts and systems, radar technology and systems, aerodynamics, fuel cell capabilities, combustion systems and the irradiation of materials. The RPU also worked closely with the Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science to prepare Queen’s content for the 2018 OAC Source Book.
  • The Research Contracts Unit (RCU) received 84 new files and/or agreements for review and negotiation. The RCU team also finalized negotiations, and signed or closed 84 files and/or agreements on behalf of the research enterprise and community at Queen’s. Here is an example of a new relationship that the RCU team facilitated in February and for which the RCU negotiated and executed related funding agreements:
    • As a member of the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC), Queen’s researchers had the opportunity to apply for funding, in collaboration with an industry partner, from the Advancing Water Technologies (AWT) program. Throughout 2017, the RPU team worked with researchers and industry partners to prepare proposals for consideration. The AWT program reviewed multiple proposals and awarded funding to 30 projects, four of which included Queen’s researchers and-or Queen’s spin-off companies. The RCU team worked closely with researchers and companies over the past several months, to negotiate and execute agreements with industry partners and SOWC, and in February, finalized and executed agreements in support of the most recently funded project with TECTA-PDS (Pathogen Detection Systems).
  • The Technology Transfer Unit (TTU) distributed funds received from licensing arrangements in 2017 to Queen’s (and partners) inventors in February. These inventors contributed to the creation of intellectual property that has been commercialized with support from the Office of Partnerships and Innovation. Other recent highlights from the TTU include:
    • SPARQ Systems Inc., a Queen’s spin-off company, which specializes in innovative solar microinverters, launched its installation of a 160-kW rooftop solar panel in a large-scale demonstration project at 32 townhomes in Ottawa Community Housing’s Regina Lanes.
    • Due to a unique nanofabrication environment created by Queen’s University and CMC Microsystems, two Queen’s PhD candidates have developed a novel, highly sensitive chemical detection technology, which has led to two publications as well as a patent application and a startup company, aided by the OPI.
  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystem Unit (RIEU) incubated 31 startup companies at Innovation Park, including 20 founded by Queen’s faculty, current or recent staff, or student entrepreneurs. To provide additional value to client companies, the RIEU organized various workshops and events at Innovation Park including:
    • A public forum, delivered by the Brookfield Institute, called “Robot Talks,” which took place on February 6th. The discussion centred on how new technologies and automation are changing the way we work and do business. The final report from these discussions will be developed in March 2018.
    • DiscoverXL, a two-part cohort accelerator program, which the RIEU launched on February 13th, designed for early stage companies, and focused on customer discovery and product validation.
    • A sales coaching workshop on February 23rd from Les Magyar of Infinity Sales Solutions that taught early stage ventures “How to follow up without looking like you’re following up.”

Monthly Venture Spotlight:

Napanee-based FireRein received a $325K investment from FedDev Ontario in February to help bring the company’s fully bio-based firefighting gel to new global markets. FireRein is a graduate of the GrindSpaceXL program, delivered by the OPI and partners at Innovation Park as part of the InnovationXL suite of programs and services, which accelerate the growth and retention of high potential technology-based startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Eastern Ontario.

In the News...

The following items are a sampling of news stories from OPI and our partners.

  • SPARQ technology boosts smart-grid capability while benefiting Ottawa community housing
  • Nano research yields sensing breakthrough

Staffing and Service Updates


The Research Contracts Unit (RCU) reviewed applications from several highly-qualified candidates for the position, recently vacated by Rebecca Bond, of Senior Contracts Negotiator (SCN). The RCU hopes to have the new SCN join the team in April 2018.

“Ghosted Legacies” by Edward Thomas

We are proud to share a project by one of our own staff members. Edward Thomas, Assistant Director with the OPI, presented “Ghosted Legacies,” a research project where he explored the history of the expulsion of black medical students from the Faculty of Medicine, and the far-reaching consequences of this event. Hosted by the African Caribbean Students’ Association, this presentation garnered attention from Principal Daniel Woolf and the Queen’s Alumni News.

Farewell to Paul Vickers

One of our esteemed colleagues, Paul Vickers, OPI’s Director of Finance and Administration, is moving on to an exciting new opportunity with MaxSold, a growing online auction company.

Paul joined PARTEQ Innovations after working at the audit firm KPMG. Paul has provided 15+ years of dedicated service to Queen’s via PARTEQ in the areas of finance, audit support, accounting, SOPs, governance, metrics/reporting, start-up support, database systems, operations, IT, venture capital fund administration, management of PARTEQ’s trust entities, annual budgeting, and licensing support, and most recently provided valuable contributions in support of the formation of the Office of Partnerships and Innovations.

Paul will be taking on the newly created position of Chief Financial Officer. The Office of Partnerships and Innovation wishes the best for Paul as he embarks on his new endeavour.

Thanks for reading!

If you have a specific question about any of the information above or want a specific topic addressed in a future post, please contact Amanda Gilbert, Communications Coordinator at