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$4.8M federal funding for Trent University clean-tech centre will accelerate growth, create jobs

Construction continues on the Cleantech Commons site at Trent University in Peterborough.
Construction continues on the Cleantech Commons site at Trent University in Peterborough. Trent University

The federal government is providing $4.8 million to Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., to boost the region’s emerging clean-technology sector.

On Thursday, Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef announced the federal funding so the university can offer an accelerator and technology demonstration space for clean-tech-focused companies to “commercialize their ideas and fast-track their growth.”

Read more: Clean technology, innovation focus for research park at Trent University in Peterborough

The project — in partnership with the Peterborough Innovation Cluster —  aims to support 70 companies and anticipates the creation of 300 jobs as well as attracting more clean-tech ventures to the Peterborough region. The university has already established the Cleantech Commons research park.

Dr. Leo Groarke, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, says the “major” federal investment will support the Trent Enterprise Centre —  a location designed to accelerate student clean-tech startups and university spinouts, in addition to providing spaces for co-working, satellite research and development, wet labs and social interaction.

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“It will be the only facility of its kind Canada, providing labs, technology assessment and demonstration zones and scale-up facilities which are specifically designed to support the commercialization of clean technology in the Cleantech Commons research park,” he said. “Working in partnership with the City of Peterborough and private and public sectors, this will spur economic growth, creating science-based jobs, helping us to retain top talent, drive innovation and attract more investment.”

Monsef says Peterborough-Kawartha has long been known as an “environmentally-conscious region.”

“Our government believes in our potential to be a national leader in the clean growth sector which puts us on the frontlines of a transition to a green economy and all of the job creation that comes with it,” she said. “Our industry sector has incredible potential and by collaborating with Trent University and the Peterborough Innovation Cluster we are bringing together partners that will foster the clean-tech cluster in Peterborough and beyond.”

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Trent currently has more than 70 faculty leading research and commercialization initiatives in environmental and bio sciences. The university annually has 175 grad students in environmental and life sciences, making it one of the largest in Canada.

Read more: More than half a million Canadians could work in clean tech by 2030: report

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien says the city is “very excited” about the federal investment.

“Cleantech Commons and Trent University are positioned to help lead the way into a new, more sustainable economy,” she said. “This is even more important as we recover from COVID-19. We are grateful for the work that has been done to make this idea a reality, and we look forward to the good things to come.”

Monsef made the announcement on behalf of the Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

“In our regions, we have incredible entrepreneurs, world-class post-secondary institutions and the dedication to work toward solutions for a better future,” stated Joly. “That is why we are partnering with organizations like Trent University to foster the right conditions for clean technology companies to grow, commercialize and bring their solutions to the world.”

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