Industry Collaboration at Cape Breton University Prosperous for Businesses

Industry and research collaboration is thriving at Cape Breton University (CBU) as a result of programs being driven by CBU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies that work to bring together industry needs with faculty expertise.

"Cape Breton University is committed to fostering a culture of research innovation that provides ideal opportunities for university / industry collaborations. In addition to providing access to modern facilities and equipment, our campus community is eager to work with industry to support their research needs. Our faculty have diverse research expertise with multiple areas applicable to various industries.  To date, the partnerships have proven to be very advantageous and we are eager to engage new companies and other industry sectors. The university is rich in resources and we encourage businesses to explore collaborative opportunities by connecting with the Research Office,” says Sarah Conrod, Industry Liaison Officer, CBU.

Cape Breton University is focused on cross-disciplinary research which can lead to mutually beneficial opportunities. Mindful of this, Conrod works to nurture synergetic research opportunities that pair the right researchers with companies for the purposes of exploring new research ideas, attracting additional collaborative funds, developing contract research, connecting industry with experts at CBU to assist with their research needs and investigating licensing of university based technologies.

There are several programs in place that provide funding assistance that are offered under various bodies including Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development Department, MITACS and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. By contacting CBU, businesses can learn more about these programs and discuss collaborative research strategies that may be beneficial to their company.

For example, in recent months, the Productivity and Innovation Voucher program offered through the Department of Economic and Rural Development has enabled several Cape Breton businesses to work closely with various CBU departments. This program provides a mechanism for companies to collaborate closely with university faculty and staff in a variety of service areas. In addition to having been awarded a voucher in the 2011-12 competition, one CBU collaborator has just experienced success with another prestigious award. J & K Scientific of Edwardsville, N.S., a company that has been working with CBU for several years, was recently recognized as the Cape Breton zone winner in Innovacorp’s provincial I-3 Technology Start-up Competition with an award of $100,000.

Conrod notes, “J&K Scientific Inc. is a wonderful example of how a successful company can benefit from university collaborations.” J&K has developed a proprietary nanotechnology application column used in gas chromatography (GC) instruments. The column enables scientists to increase the throughput of sample analysis and helps lab managers reduce the costs of labour and materials used in sample analyses. J&K's suite of proprietary GC columns provides highly selective separation of components in a very short processing time. The company will target worldwide analytical chemistry labs in industry, universities and government.

“Cape Breton University has been working with J&K Scientific for several years.  Much of the work at CBU involved analyses using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS); instrumentation not available at J&K research and development, manufacturing and testing facilities.  Collaborative research work at CBU with faculty and students has resulted in some joint peer-reviewed publications and many scientific conference presentations.  The results from research measurements have – more importantly – helped J&K Scientific to develop and improve on its expanding line of gas chromatographic columns,” says Krishnat Naikwadi, President of J&K Scientific.

In recent years CBU has worked with a number of businesses including Halifax Biomedical, Louisbourg Seafoods, Darby Renewable Energy and B.W. Bio-Energy Inc. to name just a few.

The Industry Liaison Office at CBU is a member of Springboard Atlantic.For more information on collaborative research opportunities at Cape Breton University visit www.cbu.ca/research or contact Sarah Conrod at ilo@cbu.ca.