The Western Canadian Innovation Offices Consortium (WCIO) is a Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) funded initiative that has been connecting Western Canadian industry needs with the array of research and innovation resources that exist in WCIO’s nearly 40-member consortium of universities, colleges and polytechnics across the West. The WCIO has been enhancing collaboration between, and access to academic research institutions by prospective industry partners. The overall goal is improved engagement between industry and academia for addressing industry-driven innovation needs and challenges. While generally supporting all sectors, WCIO was mandated to support the energy sector, and to date, WCIO has funded seven technology development projects in western Canada, leveraging $1 million in WD funding to attract over $5 million in research investments from industry and other provincial/federal programs. Dr. Darren Fast, Director of Technology Transfer at the University of Manitoba, is leading this initiative on behalf of the partnering institutions.

Value Proposition

The core value proposition of WCIO is to increase multi-institution research collaborations with Western Canadian businesses to accelerate and de-risk the development and commercialization of technologies in areas of special interest to Western Canada. This value proposition has been well demonstrated in each of WCIO’s funded projects, as well as the incredible demand received for this type of funding - over 50 applications were received in the original WCIO call for proposals. WCIO has also demonstrated value in generally increasing connections between, and understanding of academic institutions across Western Canada. Both academics and industry now have a “go-to” resource for connecting with the research resources they require to innovate and commercialize new technologies.

News and Events

The Western Canadian Innovation Offices (WCIO) is hosting an event (10:00am-4:00pm) on May 10, 2017 in Winnipeg, MB titled “WCIO Industry-Academia Research Partnership Showcase”. This event will serve as a platform to bring awareness to WCIO and its mandate, also with the aim of seeking support for a second round of funding to support more collaborative research projects. The overall purpose of the event is three-fold: 1) promote Energy (cleantech) related collaborative research between industry and academia in Western Canada; 2) bring together industry and academic researchers for future research collaborations; and 3) highlight WCIO-funded, industry-academia collaborative research projects currently in progress. For more conference details click here.

Success Stories

The WCIO is proud to mention that for each dollar it invested in a technology de-risking project, more than four dollars were provided in matching contributions from industry and other sources combined. There are currently seven funded projects underway, which are summarized on the Projects page. In addition to project funding, WCIO has supported eight BD Professionals who lead WCIO’s outreach to academic institutions and industry in Western Canada. They have developed knowledge and understanding of each institution’s capabilities in their region, as well as processes to share new opportunities as they arise. Additionally, these BD Professionals are providing project management and deliverables assurance support for the contracted projects.