Ontario businesses can now turn to Ontario Centres of Excellence as the gateway for accessing the research and expertise of both colleges and universities in the province.
The Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII) is being integrated with OCE, a development arising out of a discussion between the colleges, OCE and the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation and subsequently agreed upon by all parties.
“This makes good sense,” says OCE President Dr. Tom Corr. “CONII has laid solid groundwork with a suite of programs that complement what OCE is doing. We will be building on the strengths of this work while ensuring that the college system is able to take full advantage of all that OCE has to offer. I see this integration creating new opportunities and bringing significant benefit to our shared stakeholders.”
Now a program of OCE, CONII will continue to be led by Vanessa Williamson as Director, College Programs and Academic Relations. Anna Schwarz is also joining OCE as the CONII Program Manager.
Ms. Williamson has served as CONII’s Executive Director since 2010 and brings extensive experience in academic and industrial R&D, as well as commercialization and technology transfer.
“We are very fortunate that the support CONII has provided to the college system will be transferred through the existing leadership to OCE, with no impact on current programs,” says Dr. Corr.
As a network of 24 colleges dedicated to connecting business to the applied research and commercialization expertise of Ontario’s colleges, CONII offers business the innovative thinking, expertise and technology they need to become more competitive in a challenging global economy.
"As part of OCE, Ontario’s colleges will become more aware of existing and new OCE programs and gain increased access to them,” says Ms. Williamson. “CONII will now be in a better position to help shape the development of programs in a manner that benefits colleges.”
CONII and OCE are working to ensure a seamless continuation of programs through the transition period.