So long winter! It may still be chilly outside but spring technically arrived in March!

Welcome to the April edition of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation (OPI) blog, which provides brief updates on the OPI’s activities in March. If you’ve missed our first three editions, please check them out:

As promised, here are a few updates on the OPI’s priorities and activities in March:

  • The OPI:
    • prepared and delivered a presentation to the Queen’s Board of Trustees, to update the board on the Office of Partnerships and Innovation
    • worked with the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research, to analyze Queen’s research strengths and prepare materials for inclusion in a Universities Canada publication,
    • collaborated with the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Connector (DDQIC) to launch the Foundry program to attract researchers who may wish to consider licensing their inventions to student entrepreneurs in the DDQIC summer program – check out the news article and video, and
    • worked with University Relations and GreenCentre Canada to secure funding for technology development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario.
  • The Research Partnerships Unit (RPU) engaged with 38 researchers at Queen’s, and 96 companies and organizations in the region, Ontario, Canada, or internationally. Examples of this team's engagement and impact include:
    • The RPU coordinated efforts to develop and submit a proposal to the Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development, and Queen’s was notified in March that our application to the provincial Career Ready Fund (Stream 2) was funded! The funds will be used to support more than 100 student experiential learning opportunities through the university’s Career Centre office.
    • The RPU prepared briefing notes and letters in support of emerging collaboration opportunities for our research community, and provided support in hosting the Consul General and his delegation from South Africa, who are interested in building research and innovation collaborations with Queen’s and Kingston.
  • The Research Contracts Unit (RCU) received and commenced review of 108 new files and/or agreements in March. The RCU team also finalized negotiations, and signed or closed 97 files and/or agreements on behalf of the research enterprise and community at Queen’s. A few highlights from the RCU follow:
    • The RCU continued to work with European collaborators to draft language covering new requirements under the General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect in May. This regulation applies to anyone who receives information, directly or indirectly, from EU residents. New obligations for Data Collectors, who gather such information, and for Data Processors, who use or store it, are coming online along with other requirements such as a subject’s “right to be forgotten”. The RCU has recently concluded several contracts for joint European-Canadian clinical trials that cover these new data obligations and hope the agreed language can be duplicated in other scenarios.
    • March represented the fiscal year end for provincial and federal governments, requiring all government funded agreements to be executed and invoiced prior to March 31st. The RCU reviewed and signed 17 government funding agreements in March 2018, more than double the number typically reviewed for government year-end.
    • The RCU continued to support the collaboration between Dr. Ahmad Ghahreman of Queen’s and Barrick Gold Corporation with the execution of a research collaboration agreement. This most recent research collaboration agreement is the third between Dr. Ghahreman and Barrick since 2014 and brings the total cash support from Barrick to Dr. Ghahreman to over $485,000 for that period. These funds have or will support the research work of several graduate students including at least five PhD students.
  • Recent highlights from the Technology Transfer Unit (TTU) include:
    • From January through March, 16 patent applications were filed on behalf of researchers or entrepreneurs. In the same period, three patents (1 in the United States, 1 in the Republic of Korea, and 1 in China) have issued to researchers or entrepreneurs.
    • From January through March, the OPI received approximately 30 new invention disclosures.
    • Paul Vickers, Director of Finance and Administration (OPI), moderated the third annual discussion called: “Is the Federal Budget Good for Innovation in Eastern Ontario?”. The event was held at Innovation Park and attracted startups, SMEs, researchers, and innovation organizations.
  • 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. The RIEU organized resources and events for its clients at Innovation Park. Samples follow:
    • Rebecca Darling, a professor at St. Lawrence College, presented a workshop to early stage ventures called, “Venture Growth Mindset,” which focused on developing strategic tools for implementing an action strategy to achieve the venture’s goals as it grows and adapts to shifting environments.
    • Sales coach Les Magyar met one-on-one with five ventures to provide them specific advice on how they can improve and implement their sales plans.
    • The RIEU developed and implemented a strategy to further assist incubating ventures by assigning a specific Advisor to the company. The intention of this strategy is to form deeper relationships with the incubating companies and to be better placed to offer assistance and resources where required. These advisors will work more closely with ventures to determine their needs and help hold them accountable to completing milestones to help their companies grow. More importantly, the companies can hold the Advisors accountable for the actions promised to help them achieve their goals.
    • The RIEU provided support to and attended 2 high profile events in March: the Ontario East Economic Development Disrupted symposium in Kingston, which included discussions on the impacts that new technology will have on the workforce, and the need for economic development organizations to adapt, and the Canada Accelerator Summit in B.C., which provided a forum for accelerators and incubators to share best practices and engage with gov’ts. The RIEU facilitated the development of two presentations at the EDD symposium. The first leveraged our relationships with Syracuse economic development partners and focused on their responses to the disruptive changes they have experienced in the last decade, and the second featured Limestone Analytics, one of the growing startups incubating at Innovation Park, which presented the emerging role of econometrics in economic development decision making. Keynote speakers at the EDD symposium included Ken Wong from the Smith School of Business and Jamison Steeve from the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity.


Monthly Venture Spotlight: The Power Collective

The Power Collective Inc., a company incubating in Innovation Park, is developing and marketing a micro wind turbine that is installed along the roof ridge-line of residential or commercial buildings. The RidgeBlade® Wind Turbine is an innovative, simple and effective way of harnessing wind power to produce electricity. The RidgeBlade® adopts an entirely new design philosophy and addresses many of the drawbacks associated with Solar PV and traditional wind turbines. The Power Collective recently completed a first major sale to a distributor in Australia for both residential and commercial systems.  They also have an approved project with the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) that is in the final contracting stage. The product will be produced by Quest Tech Precision Inc. in Belleville Ontario, supporting Canadian content for the company. Many players from the innovation ecosystem have provided support to The Power Collective, including the Civil Engineering and the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Departments within Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the OPI, and the Southeastern Ontario Angel Network.

In the News...

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

  • A convergence and mobilization of opportunities to match students with resources and intellectual property at Queen’s
  • SanEcoTec: Challenging North America's water treatment paradigm 


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