In a recent article titled “Canada needs to boost its clean technology sector,” The Globe & Mail writes that “resources like Cleantech Commons are essential in moving Canada up the commercialization ranks, and to bolster its reputation for innovation.”
“Cleantech Commons,” The Globe writes, “is a research park designed to boost collaboration between private industry and the academic community.”
It quotes Cleantech Commons executive director, Martin Yuill, saying “we [are] building a cluster of scalable growth companies in the areas of clean, green and low-carbon technology development.”
In a follow-up interview, Yuill told the Trent Office of Research and Innovation that while Trent is a well-recognized centre of education and research excellence, Cleantech Commons will build on those strengths by forging cross-disciplinary linkages between education, research, industry, and entrepreneurial talent to drive innovation in the clean technology sector.
Cleantech Commons, he explained, will provide a location for industry to work alongside Trent’s world-leading researchers and students to explore practical solutions to current and future energy, environment, and climate challenges.
Yuill describes these as “the innovations that will transform entire economies, local societies, and individual lives.”
The aim will be to turn research into practical applications and commercial outcomes that enhance economic, business, and job growth and social impact, tackle pressing societal challenges, and help shape the green economy of the future.
The research park will also provide spaces where students, academics, entrepreneurs and established companies will be able to collaborate to explore new ideas, develop prototype designs and engage in the out-of-the-box thinking that drives innovation and technological advancement and will forge new clean, green, low-carbon, and sustainable products and services.
Innovation, Yuill firmly believes, is often serendipitous and results from harnessing skills and expertise that is cross-disciplinary.
“By bringing innovators, researchers and industry together in a vibrant ‘town square’ setting, designed specifically for structured creativity, collisions, collaboration, and community building, Cleantech Commons will offer innovators and entrepreneurs a perfect space conducive to conversation, interaction, and engagement – one where innovation can flourish, enduring partnerships can be created, and creative collaboration can be kick-started,” he explains.
“Cleantech Commons,” Yuill emphasizes, “is being designed equally to stimulate both intellect and the imagination – and as a place where collaboration is at the heart of everything that we do.”
He says the research park will help the region’s reputation as a centre of research, discovery and commercialization, and will boost both its economic footprint and social impact.
By fashioning a unique clean technology hub that is responsive to the needs of the cleantech sector, Cleantech Commons is creating what he terms a “connected community of innovation“.
“Cleantech Commons is not only being thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of Canada’s emerging cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs but is also fully integrated with the Trent University campus to encourage social interaction and collaboration, is a leader in sustainable design, and is well connected to the city and region in which it is located,” Yuill says, arguing that this will help to achieve the research park’s long-term goal of generating, attracting, and retaining leading science and clean technology companies and talent in the greater Peterborough region.
Speaking in February at the announcement of a partnership with Bioenterprise, which will bring agri-tech and food accelerator services to Cleantech Commons tenants, Yuill emphasized that in addition to a suite of business acceleration services, Cleantech Commons will also provide incubation programming, experiential learning opportunities, and co-working spaces for aspiring student entrepreneurs, as well as commercialization training for researchers.
“This unique combination of value-added business support, advisory and mentorship services, and entrepreneurship programming will give Trent students the opportunity to end their time at university with more than just a degree,” says Yuill.
“They will also be able to develop the skills required to be a cleantech entrepreneur, acquire marketable skills that will give them an edge in a competitive job market, and potentially even create a startup venture of their own.”