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Cleantech Commons at Trent University: Creating Canada’s “Best Cleantech Address”

Trent University-affiliated Cleantech Commons research park focused on igniting ingenuity, stimulating entrepreneurship, and building a cleantech cluster in Peterborough and beyond.

Affectionately known as The Electric City (as a result of being the first town in Canada to use electric streetlights) Peterborough, ON, has a reputation for being at the forefront of innovation.

Cleantech Commons – with Trent University’s DNA Building in the background

Cleantech Commons research and innovation park at Trent University is building on this reputation – serving as a launchpad for exciting new technologies and solutions that address environmental and climate challenges.

Reflecting on the vision for the research park, a partnership between Trent and the City of Peterborough, executive director Martin Yuill is excited about the prospects for new green economy innovations, net-zero entrepreneurial collaboration, and putting in place a support network designed to ignite imagination and ingenuity to help Peterborough take advantage of the opportunities of the future.

Our vision is to be so much more than a real-estate play,” Yuill explains. “Our goal is to become a key economic driver that helps reshape our entire region by attracting and retaining top research and entrepreneurial talent, generating new job opportunities, and becoming a hub that spearheads the commercialization of critical clean, green, and low-carbon products and services.”

Our goal is to become a key economic driver,” says Martin Yuill.

The research park’s suite of virtual programming is currently providing support to a connected community of future tenants, industry players, Trent researchers, and key partners to not only advance the region’s existing strengths but bring entire new areas of next-generation excellence to Peterborough and the Kawarthas.”

It is well-recognized that University-linked research parks such as Cleantech Commons are vital engines for regional economic growth and development. The international membership-based Association of University Research Parks (AURP) says that 76% of research parks report having a significant impact on strengthening industry clusters in their particular regions.

Fostering value-adding partnerships

Through key strategic alliances we are not just cultivating talent within the campus walls, but actively sowing the seeds for a thriving commercialization ecosystem in Peterborough and the Kawarthas that focuses on providing the supports necessary to transform inventions into innovations,” Yuill says.

Partnerships between industry and academia are key to helping aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into impactful solutions.

By leveraging these partnerships, we aim to foster an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs can find the mentorship, resources, programs, and networks vital to turn their visionary ideas into impactful solutions.

One example, the research park is a founding member of Green Economy Peterborough, a local network aimed at reducing emissions, water, and waste within organizations.

Cleantech Commons also recently announced a new “knowledge partnership” with Peterborough-based ProLytics Research Synergies. This is the first of several new “knowledge partnerships” the research park is putting in place with professional service providers.

Designed to support start-up and spinout ventures in developing, testing, and scaling their novel products while addressing the affordability and expertise challenges experienced by many cleantech companies, the partnership with ProLytics also contributes vital employment opportunities for Trent graduates and post-doctoral research fellows.

This new collaboration complements several value-adding programs that the research park already offers Cleantech Commons clients, future tenants of the research park, as well as faculty, students, and researchers looking to increase the impact of their research in the market.

These programs are offered through several Program Partnerships with organizations such as GreenCentre Canada, Ontario Genomics, Bioenterprise Canada, StrikeUP Digital Conference for Women Entrepreneurs, Rain It In, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA).

Working together is critical to adding value to emerging cleantech companies,” says Yuill.

In a new and emerging sector such as cleantech, these companies are, by definition, largely startups, led by visionaries and innovators.

“The collaboration between Cleantech Commons and Rotary will help create pathways for skilled youth and talented graduates to start and grow their own companies and find employment in the environmental sector right here in Peterborough,” says Martin Yuill.

Because of this, partnerships are key to the Cleantech Commons model that is designed to enable innovation to flourish, creative collaborations to begin, and life-long relations to be created.”

Cleantech Commons also recently renewed its partnership with the Rotary Club of Peterborough/Kawartha for the second annual Rotary Environmental Innovators Fund. This program is aimed at advancing environmental awareness, sustainability, remediation, and innovation by supporting new environmental initiatives across Peterborough and the Kawarthas. The deadline for applications is March 6, 2024.

Elevating the Student Experience

By bringing together industry with academia, Cleantech Commons is creating access to new experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students as well as employment for graduates – all while enhancing student and youth entrepreneurship efforts.

This is contributing to the Peterborough region becoming a more attractive and competitive knowledge economy and science-based community – what Yuill terms an “energized community where the smart people of today and tomorrow choose to live, create jobs, seek employment, raise families, participate in civic life, donate and volunteer, and age and eventually retire.

Ready to welcome tenants

This is an exciting time to be part of the Cleantech Commons community, with Phase 1 municipal servicing now complete and features such as landscaping, benches, and street names all installed.

Cleantech Commons is now able to offer tenants access to highly desirable serviced lands within the City of Peterborough. The research park also provides access to a wide variety of recreational spaces, lifestyle amenities, as well as to Trent’s world-class facilities and researchers.

Several companies currently collaborating on research initiatives with Trent are intent on locating their operations at the research park. These include Solar Biotech Canada, Karbon Brewing, Trouvé Victory Inc., and Carbonix.

To join this cohort of progressive “first movers”, we invite you to visit the Cleantech Commons website to learn more about our research park and current opportunities.

If you are interested in locating your company, startup, research lab, or collaborative research project at our park, click here! Or check out our website for more information.