Celebrating Return on Innovation

October 24, 2012

OCE Releases Impressive Results, Appoints Fellows and Unveils Award Winner at Annual General Meeting

OCE's Annual General Meeting was held October 23, 2012 at the Design Exchange in Toronto.

It was a full house on the historic floor of the old Toronto Stock Exchange Tuesday night, and by all accounts, OCE's stock is up.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) held its annual general meeting amongst tableaus of the old trading days at the Design Exchange (formerly the TSE) Oct. 23. The crowd of more than 200 attendees was more focused on the future, however, as OCE put its money where its mouth is when it comes to its tagline: where next happens.

Return on Innovation 
Results released Tuesday show it was another successful year of bringing research, innovation and business development together for OCE. Outgoing Board Chair Sean Conway and OCE President and CEO Tom Corr both delivered reports to OCE’s voting members and the innovation community, revealing that in 2011/12 OCE:

  • Invested $29 million in 509 research, commercialization and talent projects
  • Leveraged $51.6 million in investment from industry partners
  • Enhanced the knowledge and skills of 5,440 researchers, students and private sector employees
  • Engaged 659 researchers and co-investigators
  • Involved 47 colleges, universities and research hospitals in OCE projects
  • Created or sustained 1,784 jobs as a direct result of OCE-funded projects
  • Established 36 new technology licences
Minster of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid attended to congratulate OCE on its successful year, taking to the podium to thank OCE for its “hard work, commitment to innovation, for creating the businesses that will make the world a better place and drive Ontario’s economic future.”

Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
As part of its annual general meeting OCE bestows its Martin Walmsley Fellowships for Technical Entrepreneurship which facilitates the transition of OCE-funded, university-based research into innovative business ventures. This year, the expert judging panel selected two recipients:

Paul Webster of Laser Depth Dynamics, a partnership with Queen’s University, will receive $100,000 over the next two years to develop his much sought-after process that provides better control over laser cutting, welding and drilling.
Michael Montgomery of Kinetica Dymanics, a partnership with the University of Toronto, will receive a one-year grant of $50,000 to advance technology that reduces vibrations in buildings due to earthquakes and high winds.

The Next Big Idea
OCE’s most prestigious award is also bestowed at the AGM. Sponsored by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), the Mind to Market Award honours and celebrates the best OCE-supported research collaboration between the business and research communities resulting in the commercialization of leading-edge ideas and solutions.

Selected for its revolution in treating hearing loss through stimulation of damaged nerves in the ear drum rather than sound amplification, the 2012 Mind to Market winner is Hamilton-based company VitaSound Audio.

VitaSound’s hardware and software technologies improve the performance of hearing aids and other hearing devices. Its Neuro-Compensator technology, developed at Hamilton’s McMaster University, results in a more natural hearing experience. This new technology combined with alternative distribution channels has been helping VitaSound change the industry since 2009 when their product became commercially available. The technology is being adapted to work in consumer electronics like MP3 players, mobile phones and televisions.

Special Tribute
Special to this year’s AGM proceedings was a farewell tribute to outgoing Board Chair, Sean Conway. Mr. Conway, a former Ontario Cabinet Minister and public policy advisor has served on the OCE Board since 2004 and has been supportive of OCE since its beginnings.

“We have some amazing things happening at OCE that are a testament to Mr. Conway’s leadership,” said Tom Corr.

For more information on OCE’s 2011/12 results, please visit our online interactive annual report.