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News Releases

$20-Million Fund Will Support Innovation at Ontario's Colleges

January 24, 2017

The new $20-million Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF) announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne will promote new economic growth, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and Colleges Ontario said today.

"College-based applied research projects continue to develop innovations that help businesses throughout the province grow and create new, high-quality jobs," said Linda Franklin, the President and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "This fund will strengthen Ontario's competitiveness in key sectors."

The fund was officially launched today at an announcement at Conestoga College. It is part of the Ontario government's Business Growth Initiative and will be coordinated through a partnership between the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Colleges Ontario and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS).

"As Premier, it is my job to make sure that students in Ontario are prepared for today's economy and job market. By increasing access to experiential learning opportunities, where students can solve real-world challenges, we are giving them the tools they need to thrive in the workforce," said Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario.

"Applied research and development has a broad economic benefit in Canada and Ontario. It is vital we invest in applied research to create opportunities for students and industry to work collaboratively. This will help our innovation economy thrive and compete in the global race," said Reza Moridi, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

"This new fund will encourage public-private partnership between colleges and Ontario businesses that will drive innovation, research and development. It will also provide unique experiential learning opportunities for college students that will allow them to build the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow," said Deb Matthews, the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

With a proven and measurable record of successful program delivery as well as bridging the gap between industry and post-secondary institutions to promote the collaboration and commercialization of breakthrough research, OCE has been entrusted by the government with delivering the Colleges Applied R&D Fund (CARDF) in partnership with Colleges Ontario.

The objectives of the Colleges Applied R&D Fund are to:

  • Drive increased industry/post-secondary collaborations while creating an efficient marketplace for industry to access innovation, productivity and commercialization services from colleges;
  • Provide experiential learning opportunities for college students;
  • Better align colleges with the needs of companies and strategic sectors; and
  • Enable the development of new products, services and processes, facilitate productivity improvements, and help generate new revenues and high-value jobs for Ontario.

The Colleges Applied R&D Fund is comprised of three college-specific streams:

  1. College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform Projects;
  2. College Voucher for Technology Adoption (VTA); and
  3. College Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP)

"The Colleges Applied R&D Fund is a great addition to Ontario's innovation ecosystem, and one that will directly support experiential learning for college students while connecting them to the needs of the industries and economies of the future," says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE's President and CEO. "Aligning college-based expertise with the challenges facing Ontario companies will help Ontario generate high-value jobs and support its competitiveness around the globe."

For more information about CARDF and the application process, please visit the OCE website.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information please visit

About Colleges Ontario

Colleges Ontario is the advocacy organization for the province's 24 public colleges. Colleges Ontario advances policies and awareness campaigns to ensure Ontario produces the highly skilled workforce that is essential to the province's prosperity. For more information on Colleges Ontario, visit

For further information: Media Contact (OCE): Andrew Robertson, Manager, Media Relations, t: 416.861.1092 x 1092,; Media Contact (Colleges Ontario): Amy Dickson, Manager, Media Relations and Communications, 647-258-7686,