SONAMI and CBARN join forces to elevate Canadian bio-based companies

From right to left, Barb Allen (CNPMC Faculty Researcher and Principal Investigator for the Cheekbone project) and Alexandra Griffiths (Laboratory Technologist from Cheekbone Beauty) work in the Loyalist College Lab, the Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis (CNPMC) at Loyalist College, a CBARN member. Cheekbone Beauty partnered with Loyalist College for a series of sustainable innovation projects that aimed to upcycle waste products from Niagara Region wineries (grape pomace), for incorporation into novel sustainable cosmetic products.

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) has formed an ecosystem partnership with the Canadian Bio-Cleantech Applied Research Network (CBARN), a network of six colleges and universities that collaborate with small- and medium-sized bio-based companies to provide access to research and innovation services to support the development of new and optimization of existing biotechnologies that generate advanced commercialization and job growth.

Led by Niagara College, SONAMI is a network of 11 postsecondary institutions, who, through their respective research and innovation centres, collaborate with small- and medium-sized companies to tackle their manufacturing-related challenges. The award-winning network leverages faculty, students, and state-of-the-market equipment together with funding from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), to support manufacturing in Canada.

The partnership between the two networks, SONAMI and CBARN, will combine their capabilities and reach in supporting Canadian companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the bio-cleantech sector. SONAMI, provides support to SMEs in the manufacturing sector to tackle their production challenges, providing them with funding, resources, expert researchers, and talented students for collaborative applied research projects. Additionally, SONAMI assists SMEs across all industries to plan out their commercialization strategy and protect their intellectual property rights.

Similarly, CBARN provides research and development (R&D), technical and commercialization support to Southern Ontario’s SMEs in the bio-cleantech industry.

“The ecosystem partnership between SONAMI and CBARN drives Canadian Bio-Based Businesses to the forefront of innovation,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Vice President, Research, Innovation and Strategic Enterprises at Niagara College. “By merging our strengths, we hope to better support SMEs, advancing manufacturing and bio-cleantech. Together, we can offer vital expertise, resources, and strategic support for pioneering sustainable solutions, while providing enriching experiential learning opportunities for students.”

“We are excited about the collaborative potential brought by the partnership between SONAMI and CBARN. This synergy aligns perfectly with our mission to provide research and development (R&D), technical, and commercialization support to SMEs in southern Ontario’s bio-cleantech industry,” said Rob Nicol, PhD, Manager at the Canadian Bio-Cleantech Applied Research Network (CBARN) and Lambton College’s Bio-Industrial Process Research Center Manager. “By combining our capabilities with SONAMI, we aim to increase the support system for Canadian bio-based businesses, fostering innovation and sustainability within our region.”

Together, this partnership will enhance the support framework available for SMEs in their respective domains, cultivating innovation within both the manufacturing and bio-cleantech industries.

Pictured are representatives of the Lambton Water Centre at Lambton College, both a member of the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) and Canadian Bio-Cleantech Applied Research Network (CBARN). The Lambton Water Centre collaborated with MW Technologies on an applied research project to test a prototype system of a new Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) technology to help effectively remove financial and physical barriers and enable adoption of AOPs to improve drinking water quality and safety. From left to right, Carlos Diaz (Lambton Water Centre Coordinator), Teri Vanos (Analytical Equipment Technician), Emma Jamieson and Dana Halay (co-op students), Cesar Gallegos (Research Scientist, Water/Wastewater), Alberto Mendoza (Research Lead), Michael Cruz (Post Graduate Researcher), and Justin Randall (Instrumentation Control Research Lead Technician).

To access the advanced manufacturing network, representatives from interested businesses can contact SONAMI’s Business Development Lead, Mitchell Lutz at [email protected]. For more information about the network, please visit the SONAMI website.

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) is a Niagara College-led network of postsecondary institutions, who, through their respective Research and Innovation Centres, collaborate with small- and medium-sized companies to tackle their manufacturing-related challenges. SONAMI leverages faculty, students, and state-of-the-market equipment, together with funding from the Federal Government, to support manufacturing in Canada. Learn more at

For 14 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation 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 productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of close to 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at