At McMaster, our research strength is one of our most prized assets. We are home to some of the best minds and laboratories in the country, with research income and output rivalling those of universities more than twice our size.
McMaster continues to create opportunities and make strategic investments to ensure its researchers and students are positioned to develop innovative solutions to address society’s most pressing global challenges. From the Office of the Vice-President, Research, through the McMaster Liaison Office (MILO), to unique undergraduate and graduate academic programs to extra-curricular resources like the Forge and the Clinic – these resources facilitate knowledge mobilization, technology transfer and commercialization to maximize the social and economic benefits of our research with long-lasting impact for the McMaster community, greater Hamilton region, Ontario, Canada and the world.
We recognize that experiential learning is critical to producing the next-generation of talented leaders and skilled workforce, and is equally important in the context of generating intellectual property (IP), and encouraging entrepreneurship and commercialization. McMaster is committed to equipping future innovators with skills, resources and learning experiences that will help them succeed.
ENGAGEMENT WITH PRIVATE SECTOR
McMaster seeks to foster collaborations with Canadian and Ontario-based companies to develop knowledge and technology that will create social, health, environmental, and economic benefits in our local communities. Through its on-going investment with a capital partner at the McMaster Innovation Park, the university will grow its collaborations with local partners to realize the many benefits with working with Ontario-based companies. These benefits include acceleration of activities due to proximity; development of solutions that can have a direct impact on the health and well-being of all Canadians or will address environmental issues specific to Ontario and Canada; and increased opportunities for employment for our students and alumni so they can continue to work and build businesses in Canada.
Our research partnerships with the private sector will also include collaborations with large multinational enterprises and smaller foreign firms, as we recognize the importance of foreign direct investment to the region which can support Ontario-based and/or Canadian companies in developing new products, services and commercialization solutions to enhance their productivity and global competitiveness. In addition to hosting networking events and engaging with government economic development agencies, McMaster will build up its relationships with industry associations to enhance our ability to attract new partners over the next year.
ENGAGEMENT WITH RESEARCH AND INNOVATION INTERMEDIARIES
McMaster has established close relationships with Ontario’s research and innovation intermediaries, with whom we share the goal of supporting the growth of companies of all sizes – from start-ups to large organizations. A few initiatives that demonstrate our past and continued contributions include:
- McMaster is a key partner of the Innovation Factory, which includes the Synapse Life Science Consortium. Through Synapse, McMaster, along with our affiliated hospitals, Mohawk College, McMaster Innovation Park, the City of Hamilton, and local industry, has:
- Raised Hamilton’s profile amongst all levels of government and welcomed international visitors to consider investment in Ontario.
- Connected local companies with McMaster experts and facilities to enable R&D and clinical projects to further develop and validate their technologies.
- McMaster is a key partner of the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM). The Centre’s work aligns with the University’s research strengths in automotive, electrification, aging and mobility. Additionally, CITM collaborates with the Forge to provide support to start-ups in this sector.
- McMaster is an integral member of the Hamilton Innovation Ecosystem, which consists of regional government and industry representatives who meet regularly to develop new avenues to support companies in the region.
- MILO is a member of the Ontario Research Commercialization Alliance (ORCA) – a grassroots organization that brings together staff from technology transfer and research contracts offices across Ontario universities, colleges and research hospitals. ORCA provides a forum to share best practices and access resources related to research and commercialization.
Our membership in these networks will be supplemented by our participation in Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON). As a member of the IPON working group, McMaster provides input on our commercialization metrics, priorities, and resources available to researchers and companies. We are eager to help regional intermediaries, and will work with IPON to:
- Create pools of senior management and experienced entrepreneurs to help start-ups and small companies scale in Ontario.
- Offer IP portfolio management support for university start-ups and Ontario SMEs.
- Support early-stage companies in de-risking technology and validating market opportunities.
- Develop evidence-based commercialization plans through access to market research, business intelligence reports and subscriptions to proprietary market databases.
McMaster’s internal research and innovation ecosystem has many points of connection among faculty, students, researchers, administrative staff and senior leadership to ensure a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment in which research can thrive.
The Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats is just one example of McMaster’s cross-faculty approach to research. Like many of our research centres and institutes, Global Nexus includes researchers from all six faculties who combine their unique perspectives, expertise and facilities. Not only does this enable our researchers to develop more robust solutions to complex problems, but it also provides a rich training ground for students to gain skills and experience that will prepare them for careers of the future.
McMaster provides a range of educational resources to support the next-generation of innovators. Current offerings include online materials to enhance IP awareness and general information regarding pathways for entrepreneurs (Inventor’s Guide, Start-Up Guide); embedding IP educational content in core academic programs (e.g. Capstone projects) to reach a broad audience, as well as specialized, smaller graduate and undergraduate courses focused on IP and entrepreneurship. Our students benefit from one-on-one mentoring, and experiential learning opportunities working with MILO and start-ups at the Forge to gain hands-on work experience related to IP and commercialization.
MCMASTER’S INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM
Innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization are areas of strategic importance and constitute a key pillar of the University’s current and future Strategic Plans. Recent initiatives that signal McMaster’s robust and growing innovation ecosystem include:
- The creation of two new positions within the Vice-President, Research office: Associate Vice-President, Research (Commercialization and Entrepreneurship) and Associate Vice-President, Research (Society and Impact). These roles will be held by faculty members who will champion McMaster’s Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework and lead efforts to foster and grow McMaster’s commercialization culture, maximizing the potential impact of University research.
- Initiatives to bring together student-focused entrepreneurial activities across the University and ensure there are sufficient resources to support them, as well as provide a means to create synergies through common space or platforms and build a strategy to communicate and amplify the many examples of start-up successes arising out of McMaster research.