The University of Toronto is receiving funding on behalf of the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) consortium, to increase access to advanced computing and Big Data analytics tools and systems and to develop new collaborative projects, to ultimately bring new products and services to market.
This project will promote awareness of the value of advanced computing and Big Data analytics for small and medium-sized companies; enable the use of advanced computing and Big Data analytics in the mining, advanced manufacturing, digital media and cybersecurity sectors, as well as support growth of the information and communication technology sector in southern Ontario.
The Harper Government's investment is through FedDev Ontario's Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative. The initiative encourages business-led partnerships with post-secondary institutions and not-for-profit organisations to create innovative products, technologies and services.
Following the conference, Minister Goodyear met with SOSCIP stakeholders to discuss the role that Big Data plays in supporting economic growth and innovation in southern Ontario.
SOSCIP is a research and development consortium that was formed in April 2012 to support collaboration between academic researchers and industries using advanced computing and Big Data analytics.
SOSCIP current members include seven founding universities, including the University of Toronto, Western University, McMaster University, Queen's University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology; IBM Canada Ltd.; and the Ontario Centres of Excellence plus an additional four universities, which joined the consortium in April 2014, including Carleton, Ryerson, York and Wilfrid Laurier.
Six new institutions are expected to join the consortium under this project over the next four years.
Funding through this project will support the addition of 40 new collaborative projects, in the areas of mining, advancing manufacturing, digital media and cybersecurity, including at least eight with medium-sized businesses.
As the lead industry partner, IBM Canada will contribute $65-million of agile, advanced computing infrastructure and Big Data analytics software as well as related support through research, IT and business expertise.
These partnerships are expected to create or maintain almost 100 jobs by the project's completion, including 80 new training and skills development opportunities for the next generation of workers in advanced computing and Big Data analytics.
The project has a total cost of over $90 million, including leveraging of more than $70 million in additional investments.
"This investment will open the doors for a number of small- and medium-sized businesses, who can benefit from access to smart computing platforms. These new partnerships will lead to the discovery and development of innovative new technologies and will help build a healthy information infrastructure here in southern Ontario. Thanks to the Economic Action Plan 2015, we can continue to focus on the issues that mean the most to Canadians. We remain committed to growing our businesses and supporting our manufacturing industry", stated the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario.
"Ontario Centres of Excellence has been proud to be the bridge between SOSCIP's powerful computing resources and expertise, and Ontario's small and medium sized businesses. Many exciting and innovative companies working in energy, smart cities and health, among other sectors, have already taken advantage of the SOSCIP/OCE partnership to advance their business goals and take advantage of resources that have significantly increased their time to market. I look forward to many more great things to come", stated Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence and SOSCIP board member.
"This magnificent new investment from the Government of Canada will enable SOSCIP to increase its positive impact in many ways. SOSCIP proves that collaboration between academia, industry and government can produce important benefits to Canadians and Canada's prosperity", stated Professor Cheryl Regehr, Vice President and Provost, University of Toronto.
"Western University is honoured to be a major partner in the SOSCIP initiative. Like our SOSCIP partners, we are dedicated to fostering collaborative research opportunities that will lead to innovations of critical importance to society. The funding announced today is a reaffirmation that SOSCIP's consortium model is working and facilitating research that will not only provide practical solutions to some of society's biggest problems, but also holds tremendous potential for commercialization and economic good", stated Professor John Capone, Vice-President (Research), Western University.
"Data is the phenomenon of our time and has quickly become the world's newest and most valuable natural resource", stated Pat Horgan, VP Manufacturing and Operations, IBM Canada Ltd. "This collaboration leverages some of IBM's most advanced analytics technology and expertise as we work to solve some of the most pressing energy, healthcare and related challenges of our time. The projects in the first phase have shown that great insights from Big Data are creating new economic value and commercial opportunities for the ecosystem. We are confident the momentum will only accelerate in this new phase",
stated Pat Horgan, VP Manufacturing and Operations, IBM Canada Ltd.