On Tuesday, July 24th, Innovation Park opened its doors to the Queen’s University-hosted Mitacs Globalink and Shad Valley student groups for a tour of the park and its facilities.
The groups had an opportunity to see various laboratories and research centres and to meet some business leaders, graduate students, and research associates who are engaged in a variety of research projects. They learned about the value of Research Parks in contributing, not only to the flavour and enrichment of the community, but also to the overall economic development of their particular regions.
Shyam Ramchandani from Lab-2-Clinic Solutions Inc., a company dedicated to delivering unique diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for unmet medical needs, spoke about the challenges of starting a company like his, and indicated that being in an incubation facility has been key to his success thus far. It is difficult to start up a business in bio-sciences in a small town; access to Queen’s University researchers and laboratories and other necessary resources, all in one place, has been essential.
Dr. Johnathan Board from Snieckus Innovations, a custom synthesis group headed by world-renowned Queen’s University Chemistry professor Victor Snieckus, toured the groups through their labs and introduced the students to synthetic chemistry. They also learned the value that this applied research provides to pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies through their academic and industrial partnerships.
The sixteen students then stopped by the Queen’s-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre. Senior Research Associate Dzmitry Malevich presented some of the work that they are doing at FCRC and answered questions about the potential impact of fuel cell research.
Ryan Roeder, a research associate working with Dr. Pascale Champagne, spoke about the project that he is working on, namely the use of a novel chemical approach to modify cellulose with ATRP to create a new polymer that, with further development, will help to create a chemical platform to generate new hybrid materials from renewables for the automotive industry.
The afternoon wound up with a presentation and demos by the Mining Systems Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research group headed by Queen’s University professor Dr. Joshua Marshall. PhD students Andrew Dobson and Rob Hewitt focused their presentations on the following themes: general engineering, robot navigation, robot control theory and programming, and the importance of teleoperation on Earth and in space. The Mitacs and Shad students had the opportunity to participate in a Kinect-based activity as well as controlling and riding one of the MSL’s new robotic machines, received recently via CFI and MEDI grants supported by Clearpath Robotics.
In addition, the students had an opportunity to hear about some of the other businesses and research centres that reside at Innovation Park, such as Medizone International Inc., an R&D company that has developed, and is commercializing, technology to decontaminate and sterilize hospital surgical suites, emergency rooms, schools and other critical infrastructure. They also had an opportunity to interact with each other; to discuss individual goals and the projects that they are working on within the two different programs.
For more information:
Shad Valley is a four-week summer enrichment program for high school students in grades 10 through twelve who have demonstrated high academic achievement with a particular affinity and passion for mathematics and the sciences. Queen’s University is one of ten campuses hosting Shad Valley in 2012. http://www.shad.ca/shad/myweb.php?hls=10142
Mitacs Globalink is a program that engages top undergraduate students from India, China, Brazil and Mexico, and introduces Canada as a world-leading research and innovation destination. http://www.mitacs.ca/