A lot has happened since our first quarter blog in late spring 2019 and we’d like to catch you up on it all as well as what exciting changes are on the horizon!

As we mentioned in April’s update, the Office of Partnerships and Innovation’s (OPI) InnovationXL programs and services, which were partially funded by the NRC-IRAP under the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), officially concluded on March 31, 2019.

OPI will provide new acceleration and incubation programs to tech startups in Kingston and the region in collaboration with St. Lawrence College and Launch Lab. The new programs are part of a larger collaboration with Invest Ottawa, who is also partnering with Communitech and MaRS Discovery District to help companies effectively launch, grow and scale in Southern Ontario.

Have you heard that we're moving?

Not only are our programs being revamped but our incubation space is too! Commonly known to locals as Innovation Park, we have called 945 Princess Street, Suite 112, our home for the last 6 years. But as we continue to grow and evolve much like our own startups, it is time for us to move on to a more strategic location. We look forward to the move and all the services we can offer from our new space in the heart of downtown!

In the coming weeks, you may notice Innovation Park branded items start to diminish in prominence, including our Innovation Park website, which will summarize our past initiatives and accomplishments but not our new programs. That’s because we are working on something new and improved. Stay tuned to the OPI News pages and our social media channels (links: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the new branding and website!

Workshops and startups and conferences, oh my!

We learned a lot and had a ton of fun attending many conferences and workshops these last few months.

Kicking off the start of May, RBC delivered a workshop to OPI’s clients in InnovationXL programs as well as Launch Lab clients to teach them about payment processing and employee loyalty. Throughout the months of May and June, RBC also held one-to-one meetings with clients on an as-needed basis.

On May 13 and 14, OPI attended the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery Conference in Toronto. Lead by Invest Ottawa, fellow academic institutions and regional partners University of Ottawa, Carleton University, La Cite, St. Lawrence College, Algonquin College, Launch Lab, Kingston Economic Development and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) joined Queen’s OPI in the Eastern Ontario Pavilion to showcase the sizzle that is happening in our region. Local startups that joined us in the Eastern Ontario Pavilion included ARtefactVR, BizSkills Academy, Changent.io, Meta Innovation Technologies, Rillea Technologies, Spectra Plasmonics and StayBillety.

This year marked the first time the Collision Conference was held in Canada, with some of our startups also joining us for the four-day event. Touted by Inc.com as “North America’s fastest growing tech conference,” Collision boasted five main stages, dozens of smaller stages, 700 speakers, 1100 startups and over 25,000 attendees. OPI sponsored the attendance of Distributed Compute Labs, whose CEO had the chance to pitch at the conference. Read more about their attendance in our article, “Queen’s enables DCL to enjoy spotlight at Collision Conference."

OPI and local startups at the Collision Conference in Toronto in May 2019.

OPI didn’t stop there! On June 3, OPI travelled to Ottawa for Startup Canada’s Export Challenge where several of our ventures had the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges. Out of hundreds of startups that pitched at the Ottawa event, Kingston’s BizSkills Academy made the top 20!

On June 11, Invest Ottawa held its annual one-day conference, AccelerateOTT, where companies networked and listened to an amazing roster of speakers that will help them on their journey.

Our series of workshops and conferences wrapped up with two events in our own Innovation Park space. OCE, IBM and CENGN provided an information session to local businesses called “Commercializing your Tech,” which engaged more than 40 attendees interested in learning more about the programs offered by these groups. And finally, RBC finished their series (in this space) with their workshop on export and trade services.

What about the rest of OPI?

The rest of OPI has been busy too! The Technology Transfer Unit, which provides the commercial and intellectual property expertise needed to advance research-based inventions/technologies toward the marketplace, pitched a variety of technologies to the DDQIC QICSI students during their two-week bootcamp. Throughout the course of the summer, our Patent Agent Angela Lyon, has been meeting with QICSI teams to help them with patent and intellectual property information on the ventures they are working on over the summer.

The Research Contracts Unit (RCU) received and commenced review of 194 new files and/or agreements. They also finalized negotiations and signed or closed 173 files and/or agreements on behalf of the research enterprise and community at Queen’s.

In 2018, the Research Partnerships Unit began working with Distributed Compute Labs (DCL), to facilitate valuable connections in Ontario and beyond. As part of this effort to increase awareness of DCL and its platform, the OPI facilitated discussions with the Queen’s research community and those at Queen’s who manage computing resources, including the CAC which was already engaged with DCL, to gain support and approval for advancing a selection of pilot projects at Queen’s. The RCU facilitated the development and execution of a master research agreement between the university and DCL in May 2019, which is enabling these pilot projects to run at the CAC during the summer and fall of 2019. The parties anticipate their collaborations will lead to multiple benefits.

Staffing Updates

Best of luck Ramzi!

As of May 10, Ramzi Asfour (former Assistant Director, Commercialization) accepted a new position with Ingenuity Labs as Associate Director (Administration) within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Utilizing his engineering background/education, Ramzi provided more than seven years of support for the commercialization of Queen’s technologies, together with support for entrepreneurs and other associated projects. The OPI thanks Ramzi for his many accomplishments in supporting knowledge mobilization at Queen’s.

The OPI welcomes Jill Hughes!

On May 21, Jill Hughes joined the Office of Partnerships and Innovation (OPI), as a Research Contracts Coordinator. Jill brings 15 years of experience in contracts administration and management in the private sector and has gained recent experience working at Queen’s in the Graduate Studies and Research office within the Faculty of Education. Jill looks forward to offering her background and experience in risk management and contract compliance, combined with her interest in research ethics and innovation, to the Research Contracts team.

The RCU adds Sarah Gauthier to the team!

Sarah Gauthier also joined the Research Contracts Unit as a Research Contracts Associate, effective July 15, 2019. Sarah recently completed a law degree at the University of Ottawa and was called to the Bar in June 2019. She is currently working for the Legal Services Branch of the Ontario Solicitor General, and has previous experience working with the Legal Services Branch, Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, as a Research Assistant at each of uOttawa and at Queen’s University, and at an international not-for-profit foundation.

Other role changes in the RCU

Ricardo Smalling has assumed the role and responsibilities as Legal Counsel, Research Contracts Unit, replacing his former role and responsibilities as Senior Contracts Negotiator.

Margo Langford has assumed the role and responsibilities as Legal Counsel, Research Contracts Unit, replacing her former role and responsibilities as Senior Contracts Negotiator.

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 amanda.gilbert@queensu.ca.