Office of Partnerships and Innovation


OPI at OCE Discovery!

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

Monthly Spotlight: OCE Discovery!

The Office of Partnerships and Innovation represented Queen’s and the Kingston innovation ecosystem at the OCE Discovery 2018 Conference (April 30th and May 1st) as part of the Eastern Ontario Pavilion, a collaboration amongst Queen’s, Launch Lab and Invest Ottawa, which also included multiple universities, colleges and economic development offices, and showcased numerous technology startups and emerging SMEs. The Pavilion presented Eastern Ontario as a global leader in emerging technologies, a powerhouse of research, innovation and investment, and epicenter for the launch, growth and commercial success of entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups and multinational companies.

Invest Ottawa led the development of the marketing and government relations strategy for the EO Pavilion, including branding, graphics, and floor plan to create a cohesive image and prime footprint for the Pavilion. Participants included Queen’s University’s OPI and Launch Lab together with Invest Ottawa/Bayview Yards, University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, La Cité collegial, St. Lawrence College, Queen’s Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Ontario East, and GreenCentre Canada, to name a few. 

The Eastern Ontario Pavilion was high impact, and attracted significant interest in the strengths of our region. The footprint was the largest of any region presenting at the Conference this year. OCE Discovery draws thousands of attendees and engages many important decision-makers each year.


Kingston members of the OCE Discovery Eastern Ontario Pavilion

Around the OPI in April and May...

  • In April, the Research Partnerships Unit (RPU) engaged with 85 researchers at Queen’s, and 190 companies and organizations in the region, Ontario, Canada, or internationally. The RPU represented Queen’s and its researchers and innovators at numerous conferences and events in April including: 
    • The Research Money Conference in Ottawa on April 10th & 11th, which provided insight on new federal funding opportunities such as the IDEaS program (Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security), changes to NSERC’s partnership programs, and opportunities for engagement with the five recently announced superclusters: 
      • SCALE.AI – building artificial intelligence-powered supply chains in Montreal and the Quebec-City-Waterloo corridor
      • Advanced Manufacturing – promoting next-generation manufacturing in Southern Ontario
      • BC Digital – developing data-driven enterprises in BC
      • Protein Industries Canada – unleashing the potential of Canadian crops in the Prairie Provinces
      • Ocean – maximizing Canada’s ocean economy in Atlantic Canada
    • Participation in the Canadian Aerospace Research and Innovation Consortium (CARIC) R&D Forum in Montreal on April 18th& 19th, which provided visibility of more than 60 opportunities to engage in collaborative research projects with industry.  
  • In April, the Research Contracts Unit (RCU) received and commenced review of 92 new files and/or agreements in April. The RCU team also finalized negotiations, and signed or closed 78 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 provide support to the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) in preparation of the annual Spring Meeting in Toronto (April 26th to 29th). The RCU reviewed and signed 13 industry sponsor agreements that provided financial support for the Meeting. The Spring Meeting is an opportunity for investigators, nurses, pharmacists, clinical research associates, lay representatives, pharmaceutical company representatives, and others from around the country, to gather to discuss the progress of CCTG clinical trials. 
  • During the January to April period, the RCU received and commenced review of 387 new files and/or agreements and finalized negotiations, signed or closed 357 agreements or files, leading to an increased inventory or backlog of agreements/files still requiring review and-or under negotiation. This has stemmed from a higher than normal volume of “intake”, combined with staffing shortages in the RCU since January 5th, as a result of the departure from Queen’s of one of our Senior Contracts Negotiators (see below).
  • Recent highlights from the Technology Transfer Unit (TTU) include:
    • Members of the TTU attended the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre’s Summer Initiative bootcamp on May 17th to present a potential commercialization project for The Foundry program. In years past, The Foundry has enabled the launch of RockMass Technologies and Spectra Plasmonics, as startups founded by Queen’s student entrepreneurs based on technology and intellectual property developed by Queen’s researchers. This year, the TTU introduced the Q’Pellet, a next generation wood pellet developed at Queen’s. The challenge presented to students is how to bring these pellets to market by either developing the product at a mass scale, developing the equipment, or developing the process which can then be licensed. The TTU received many questions from the keen summer students who were eager to learn some of the more technical aspects of the Q’Pellet. Please watch for updates in future blogs.
  • In April, the Regional Innovation Ecosystem Unit (RIEU) incubated 32 startup companies at Innovation Park, including 20 founded by Queen’s faculty, current or recent staff, and/or student entrepreneurs. The following are samples of events and-or resources organized by the RIEU in April for its clients at Innovation Park: 
  • Sales coach Les Magyar, from Infinity Sales Solutions, met one-on-one with 8 ventures in April to provide them specific advice on how to improve and implement their sales plans.
  • Clausehound delivered an interactive workshop in April that tackled the subject of negotiation tactics and intellectual property. Clausehound is a Toronto-based startup that specializes in providing tools via collaborations and service agreements with accelerators and incubators in order to help other startups gain access to legal resources and expertise without spending a lot of money on lawyer fees. Seven companies incubating in Innovation Park attended the workshop. The OPI team first engaged with Clausehound at the 2016 SaaS North Conference in Kanata, and has been building relationships with and exploring collaboration opportunities with Clausehound since that time.
  • On April 3rd four members of the OPI served as judges for a pitch competition in Dr. Petkovich’s 4th year biochemistry course. Student companies that were pitched include “ThinkBright, Inc.,” “BioMetals Solutions,” “Aurora Therapeutics,” and “Jäger.”

In the News in April...

Staffing Updates in April and May

Welcome to Helen Lee and Margo Langford, Senior Contracts Negotiators

The Office of Partnerships and Innovation is pleased to welcome Helen Lee and Margo Langford to Queen’s and to the Research Contracts Unit. 

Helen joined the RCU on April 16th as a full-time Senior Contracts Negotiator, replacing Rebecca Bond who left Queen’s on January 5th to accept a position with the University Health Network in Toronto. A graduate of McMaster University and Osgoode Hall, Helen is new to Queen’s but has held research contract and technology transfer positions at Acadia University, University of British Columbia, and University of Louisville. Most recently, Helen worked as an in-house corporate counsel at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and as a case manager for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. 

Margo joined the Research Contracts Unit on April 24th as a part-time Senior Contracts Negotiator on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, replacing Dianne Corcoran who is retiring from Queen’s effective May 30th. Margo brings over 27 years of in-house and external counsel experience with technology and content companies, as well as forays into entrepreneurship herself. Most recently she was legal advisor to technology startups at the Prince Edward County Innovation Centre, which further fuelled her interest in innovation and its impact on society. She is eager to assist the RCU and Queen’s in its research and innovation mission.

Please join us in welcoming both Helen and Margo to Queen’s and the VPR’s Portfolio!

Farewell to Dianne Corcoran!

The OPI and the RCU said goodbye to Dianne Corcoran at the end of May.

During her 3.5 years working as a Senior Contracts Negotiator in the RCU, Dianne made significant contributions to the Portfolio, to the OPI, to the RCU, and to the research enterprise at Queen’s. She provided pre- and post-agreement support to numerous researchers in FHS, FAS, FEAS. Dianne led many complex negotiations, often involving multiple parties, facilitated the building and maintenance of productive relationships among collaborators, and guided resolution of complex problems. We will miss Dianne’s legal expertise, her calm and rational approach to solving problems, her high level of productivity, as well as her sense of humour.

We wish Dianne the best of luck in her new adventures!

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