01 June 2016

CICan annual conference inspires

Colleges and Institutes Canada convened their annual conference in Quebec City this week under the banner of Inspiration. The conference provided excellent discussion on important topics on applied education and research, and featured many tracks on leadership, entrepreneurship, indigenous education and more. Sessions on innovative teaching and learning and the future of applied research were of particular interest, providing good insight into the value proposition of colleges and our impact on social and economic development.

I moderated a panel discussion on "Supporting Industry Innovation Through a Network of Technology Access Centres," which featured the following speakers:
  • David Berthiaume, OLEOTEK
  • Maike Luiken, Lambton College
  • Christine Trauttmansdorff, CICan
  • Bert van den Berg, NSERC
  • Ken Doyle, TechAccess Canada
Of the many interesting points raised by the panel, the idea of Technology Access Centres being a form of public good that contributes to a shared public infrastructure underscores the important role that colleges engaged in applied research play in local innovation ecosystems. I've written before about the importance of fostering resilient regional economies, and the importance of TACs in playing an integral role in leading local clusters cannot be overstated. This is particularly important as Canada looks to pivot and transition the economy to embrace new technologies and business practices. 

A shout out to GBC's Dawn Davidson, Diana Facchini, and Jamie McIntyre for an excellent presentation on working with industry partners, and Marc Nantel of Niagara College on what college applied research will look like in 20 years. Inspiration indeed. 

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