SONAMI soars with new member addition

Centennial College has been a leader in aviation for more than 40 years. Programs at the Bombardier Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Campus are not yet commonly available outside Canada, and their variety and scope place Centennial at the forefront of aviation and aerospace training in Canada.

New partnership expands range of facilities and brings aerospace R&D capabilities

Today, Centennial College becomes the newest member of the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led consortium of post-secondary academic institutions that provides competitive, disruptive and innovative solutions to Ontario’s manufacturers.

The partnership will expand the range of facilities and expertise available to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and extend SONAMI’s reach further into Southern Ontario. The addition of Toronto’s Centennial College to SONAMI now brings the total in the network to eight postsecondary partners, including: Conestoga, Fanshawe, Lambton, Mohawk, Niagara and Sheridan colleges and McMaster University.

Through the centralized SONAMI hub, member institutions pool their resources and talent to match them to the needs of SMEs in various industries, giving them access to cutting-edge technologies, knowledge and funding in order to de-risk their applied R&D, create innovative new products and optimize processes. Targeted industries include agri-food, health, environmental, computer and electronic automation, industrial internet of things technology (IIoT), traditional manufacturing – and now expanded capacity in aerospace and aviation, with the addition of Centennial College’s Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES). Centennial has been a leader in aviation for more than 40 years, and its Bombardier Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Campus is in the first phase of development of an Aerospace Hub at Downsview Park.

“Centennial College is honoured to have been chosen to join SONAMI. We look forward to working with local industry partners and the other academic institutions in the SONAMI network to help SMEs in Southern Ontario develop their technologies in advanced manufacturing,” said Jonathan Hack, executive director, ARIES. “We will be leveraging the state-of-the-art equipment located at our Downsview Campus, and the expertise of academic experts and staff within our ARIES department, to continue developing the transformative potential of additive manufacturing technologies of the aerospace industry.”

In 2019, the award-winning SONAMI entered its second phase after a significant reinvestment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), following a successful first three years. With this continued support came the announcement the network would increase its membership to 10 postsecondary partners, enhancing its reach to help manufacturers innovate.

Since its inception, industry partners have benefitted from collaborative projects by: increasing sales, reducing manufacturing costs, diversifying product lines, and realizing their innovative ideas. SONAMI partners have worked with more than 200 SMEs to complete more than 265 projects, created or maintained 140 permanent jobs and provided skills and training for hundreds of students to prepare them for future jobs.

“Centennial College’s focus on aerospace, aviation and automation brings a unique set of capabilities to SONAMI, further enhancing support for manufacturers,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, vice-president, Research & External Relations at Niagara College.

“By welcoming this institution – with its strong history of applied research – to the partnership, the network will advance its resources available to assist SMEs to remain competitive by offering leading-edge solutions for industry partners,” said Nantel, who is also the chair of the SONAMI Steering Committee. “At the same time, we continue to provide more students with the opportunities to gain essential skills by working alongside research staff and faculty on real-world projects.”

For more information about the network, please visit the SONAMI website.

The department of Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES) at Centennial College continues to focus on its activity on real-world solutions for industry partners, collaborating closely with the College’s School of Engineering Technology and Applied Sciences (SETAS), pictured here.

Centennial College has several focused applied research activities in aerospace, advanced manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, sustainable energy systems and data analytics. A significant amount of Centennial’s applied research activity is in partnership with the School of Engineering Technology and Applied Sciences (SETAS) and School of Transportation (SOT), and programs at Downsview Campus place the school at the forefront of Aviation and Aerospace training in Canada.

NC’s award-winning Research & Innovation division administers research funding support from various regional, provincial and federal agencies. Students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty researchers and assist industry partners with leaping forward in the marketplace.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest part-time studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy for nearly 12 years through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in Southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. For more information view FedDev Ontario’s pivotal projects.

SONAMI Quick facts:
  • In August 2019, FedDev Ontario announced a reinvestment contribution of $14 million towards a five-year project (through to December 2023). With that award came the announcement the network would grow to 10 partners, enhancing its reach to help manufacturers innovate.
  • Niagara College received the 2019 Research Partnership Award from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) for the significant impact SONAMI has had on the regional economy.
  • Through specialized expertise, resources and R&D capabilities, SONAMI partners have a broad range of capabilities that provide effective innovation and technology transfer in areas of automation, additive manufacturing, product testing & validation, Industry 4.0, process optimization, simulation & modelling, and digitally-enabled and intelligent manufacturing.
  • SMEs wanting to innovate but do not have the resources of time, knowledge/skills or finances to take them to the next level can de-risk their R&D by leveraging a 1:1 funding match on projects. This could reduce overall project costs by up to 50 per cent and help more manufacturers participate.