Partnerships and Innovation

Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Office of Partnerships and Innovation

Reflecting on 2018, looking forward to 2019!

It’s been a busy 2018 for the Office of Partnerships and Innovation (OPI) – and we have one year of blogging to show all of our progress! There have been some exciting developments that happened in the last year. If you would like to see samples of what we have been working on throughout the year, please be sure to read our past blogs here:

We look forward to what 2019 will bring and we hope you will follow along with us!

Recent Spotlights:

Nine companies successfully completed GrindSpaceXL

Nine startups were selected in September 2018 to participate in the GrindSpaceXL-Kingston accelerator program at Queen’s Innovation Park. Twelve weeks later, nine companies graduated from the program, making this year our largest cohort graduation yet! To learn more about the GrindSpaceXL program and the graduating companies, please see our article, “Nine companies in, nine companies up and out!"

Terry Matthews visited the Innovation Park location of the OPI

On November 14, the Office of Partnerships and Innovation hosted “A Conversation with Terry Matthews” to discuss what it takes to scale and grow $100M companies in Ontario. Invest Ottawa CEO Mike Tremblay introduced Mr. Matthews and Queen’s VP Research, Kimberly Woodhouse, who led and facilitated a dialogue with Terry, who had many insights to contribute to this topic. We will publish videos of this Conversation, once available following editing, on the OPI website.

Mr. Matthews and colleagues from Wesley Clover International, L-Spark, Invest Ottawa, and OPI mingled with the 70+ guests, who included founders, startups, and partner organizations, following the Conversation.

OPI also organized a pitch event on November 14, which provided 5 local startups with the opportunity to present their company and technology to Mr. Matthews and Mr. Leo Lax (Executive Managing Director, L-Spark) for feedback and guidance.

Additional happenings in and around the OPI since October...

  • In November, the OPI led the development of and submitted a proposal for funding to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, which included contributions from the Smith School of Business, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre, the Kingston Economic Development Corp., Launch Lab, and the Southeastern Ontario Angel Network.
  • In November, the OPI provided content and a letter of support on behalf of Queen’s, St. Lawrence College, and Launch Lab, to a proposal, led by Invest Ottawa, for funding from FedDev Ontario.
  • In November-December, the OPI worked closely with Stiletto Consulting and the Kingston Economic Development Corp. to advance the Kingston Innovation Ecosystem project, which is expected to conclude in January. Outputs will include ecosystem maps, benchmarking, gap analyses and opportunity summaries. 
  • The Research Partnerships Unit (RPU) hosted BMO on campus on Nov. 1, and facilitated meetings and discussions with four researchers. On Nov. 15, the OPI hosted Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. on campus and facilitated meetings and discussions with nine researchers. On Nov. 22, the RPU hosted the first of a series of CUTRIC-Transport Canada Rail Innovation Initiative workshops on campus. This session focused on Alternative Propulsion Innovation and facilitated engagement between 10 participating companies, researchers from Queen’s and three other institutions, and staff from Transport Canada and NRC. The RPU also worked with researchers in FEAS to submit two proposals to CUTRIC, both of which were approved for funding. In December, the RPU visited the Frulact facility in Kingston to present and discuss collaboration opportunities, including internships and other experiential learning opportunities for students. The RPU also engaged researchers in FHS and championed the development and submission of a proposal to the Dementia Community Investment funding opportunity.
  • The Research Contracts Unit (RCU) received and commenced review of 162 new files and/or agreements in November and December. During this same time period, the RCU team finalized negotiations, and signed or closed 147 files and/or agreements on behalf of the research enterprise and community at Queen’s.
The RCU began providing support to Dr. Simon Hesp for a multi-stage application process to Alberta Innovations for a share of a $2M investment in research for its Bitumen Beyond Combustion program. Dr. Hesp was one of only 7 researchers awarded a share of the funding and the only Ontario recipient! The RCU led the negotiation and execution of the grant agreement, which was concluded in November 2018, to facilitate Dr. Hesp's work on this very timely project.
  • The Technology Transfer Unit (TTU) has received more than 30 invention disclosures, through December 2018, from Queen’s researchers. In November and December, TTU filed 12 separate patent applications. One Canadian patent titled “Collagenous Foam Materials” was issued on November 6, 2018. TTU team members spent time supporting the preparation of two applications for NSERC’s i2i program (link), based on technologies in OPI’s technology portfolio. On Saturday November 17, a TTU team member delivered a talk at a Queen’s Health Care and Business conference group, related to careers in the biomedical sector.
  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystem Unit (RIEU) incubated 36 startup companies at Innovation Park, including 14 founded by Queen’s faculty and/or student entrepreneurs. The following are samples of events and/or resources organized by the RIEU for its clients at Innovation Park since October:
    • Sales coach Les Magyar, from Infinity Sales Solutions, presented a workshop entitled “Building Stronger Relationships with your Buyers” followed by 3 one-on-one sales coaching sessions. The sales coaching sessions are intended to provide companies with specific advice on how to improve and implement their sales plans.
    • The RIEU planned and coordinated the graduation of the GSXL cohort with the help of our partners and local startup community members. Special thanks to our panelists who provided our graduates with valuable feedback during their program-end pitches.
    • On December 13, the RIEU coordinated a holiday networking event for the clients incubating in Innovation Park. This was a great opportunity for our ventures to catch up and/or introduce themselves, if they were new to the space.

Staffing Updates

In November-December, the RCU undertook the recruiting and interviewing process to select a replacement for Crystal McCracken who joined the Research Ethics team in mid-October as the Ethics Compliance Advisor. The RCU looks forward to announcing and welcoming the new Research Contracts Coordinator in mid-January.


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