SONAMI receives $2M boost for applied research


NSERC funding supports advanced manufacturing sectors, supporting economic recovery for SMEs through sustainability, profitability and growth

This spring, the network welcomed the news of a $2-million investment from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

On April 5, NSERC’s College and Community Innovation (CCI) program announced three new Applied Research and Technology Partnership (ARTP) funding grants for NC. Funds included an ARTP grant to support a NC project in sustainable cannabis and hemp production research, as well as two multi-institutional ARTP grants for NC-led projects: to support craft breweries in Canada, and to expand the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI).

“We are thankful for NSERC’s significant investment in research and innovation at Niagara College, and for their outstanding support of NC-led applied research projects with our valued institutional partners – including SONAMI – that will benefit SMEs in vital and emerging sectors across Ontario and Canada,” said Marc Nantel, Vice President of Research and External Relations at Niagara College. “Innovation is a key priority at NC, and these projects will not only advance the applied research needs of industry, but will expand opportunities for students as they work with SMEs to provide innovative solutions.”

Expanding SONAMI into four strategic sectors

SONAMI – a Niagara College-led network of nine postsecondary institutions designed to support SMEs in the manufacturing sector across Southern Ontario – will receive $2 million in funding (over a two-year period) to expand into four strategic sectors for targeted growth. The areas of expansion include transportation (auto parts and aerospace manufacturing supply chains); energy systems (energy storage, renewable energy production); food processing; and medical devices (to support access to medical device research and expertise for SMEs). The funds will support eligible SONAMI academic members including NC, Centennial, Conestoga, Fanshawe, George Brown, Lambton, Mohawk, and Sheridan.

“SONAMI is a prime example of how, when industry and applied research come together to innovate and grow, it can drive the development of national and regional economies and communities,” said SONAMI Network Manager Kithio Mwanzia. “In transportation, energy systems, medical devices, and food processing, given that they are fiercely competitive but highly rewarding global industries, innovation is a necessity.”

Mwanzia noted that the new ARTP grant will help SMEs in these industry areas leverage the growing SONAMI network to master multiple practices to commercialize products and processes that will catalyze their growth and success.

“These industry areas attract talent and investment from around the world,” said Mwanzia. “Industry leading companies in each of these industry areas choose Canada as the place in which to design and manufacture new products and from which to sell them to the world.”

Through the ARTP grant, SONAMI will conduct at least 42 applied research projects with industry partners in the four targeted sectors. These 42 projects will be assessed through a triple lens of sustainability, growth, and profitability, to best support the economic recovery for SMEs.

In addition to supporting applied research and SMEs, SONAMI projects support student success. Students gain access to industry experience, hands-on learning and exposure to working with industry partners – potential employers.

To learn more about opportunities to engage with SONAMI please contact us.