16 November 2015

Network of Technology Access Centres launched to support business innovation

This past summer, the group of Technology Access Centres across the country put together a proposal to create a Technology Access Centres | Centres d'accès à la Technologie (TACCAT) Network. The TACCAT Network as it is presently called is funded jointly by NSERC and the TACs/CATs themselves.

GBC's Food Innovation Research Studio is a Technology Access Centre.

The TACCAT Network is comprised of college, polytechnic and institute applied research offices that serve the research and innovation needs of a specific regional economic cluster representing 9 technology sectors: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, construction technology, digital media and graphic communications, environmental technology/biotechnology, food technology, healthcare technology, nanotechnology and transportation (see our Members for more information). TACCATs serve vital industrial sectors across the country, responding to industry applied research needs through innovation support services delivered by college faculty, staff and students.

Here is a brief description of the goals of the Network:

In 2013, as part of its College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program, NSERC launched its first Technology Access Centre (TAC) applied research funding competition, with the intent of enhancing the ability of companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to become more productive and innovative by providing ready access to polytechnic, college and institute specialized expertise, technology and equipment. Funding supports core operations for five years and is renewable. The TAC concept is based on the successful Centre collégial de transfert de technologie (CCTT) model developed over the past few decades by the Government of Québec.

The proposed network approach will enable Canadian colleges, institutes and polytechnics to take a leadership role in supporting economic development in Canada across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and health disciplines. 

The 25 TACCATs, which have been meeting regularly since 2013 to share best practices regarding establishing and operating this type of applied research centre, have recognized common challenges in driving industry innovation that will be aided through harmonious and standardized approaches to college applied research. The creation of a formal, national TACCAT Network (TN) is seen as the most effective way to harmonize and promote college applied research through the TACCATs. This will help ensure that industry partners, college stakeholders, and government funders have a shared understanding of the value of TACCATs as representative of college applied research and their collective value to enhancing Canadian economic development. All 14 TACs and 10 of 11 CATs are participating in the creation of the TACCAT Network, providing cash and in kind support over two years as part of the collective commitment to supporting college and institute applied research in Canada.

Watch this space for more details.

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