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Canadian Science Policy Centre | Panel 5: Partnerships that Move Innovation from Campus to Commerce

Panel 5: Partnerships that Move Innovation from Campus to Commerce


Canada’s knowledge-based economy relies on collaboration more than ever – collaboration is required not only to create new knowledge but also to transform this knowledge into products and services that create socio-economic benefits for all Canadians. One of the key issues identified in the Canadian innovation system is the slow pace of knowledge mobilization from “campus to commerce”.

In light of new policy direction from the Government of Canada, as highlighted in Digital Canada 150 framework and Government’s Open Data initiative, this panel will bring together experts with unique perspectives on how Canada can incentivize sharing and collaboration among various stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem while leverage existing resources.

The panelists will also describe how their unique partnerships are flourishing and driving tangible benefits for both public and private sector partners. They will discuss how they have taken advantage of new opportunities to add value to their stakeholder communities, and how these partnerships may be replicated and expanded.

Moderator Details

President and CEO

As President and CEO of CANARIE, Jim is responsible for achieving the company’s objectives as stated in its current agreement with the Government of Canada, including the ongoing evolution of the advanced research and education network; technology innovation and the development of research software tools, and stimulating innovation and commercialization in Canada’s ICT sector.

During his tenure at CANARIE, Jim has led a number of strategic initiatives, including the creation of the software development team and the launch of DAIR, a cloud computing service for entrepreneurs, and of the Research Middleware program. Additionally, he has led the evolution of CANARIE’s backbone network to become 100G (100 Gigabits per second) capable and has overseen the growth and development of CANARIE’s identity and access management solution for research and education communities, the Canadian Access Federation.

Prior to joining CANARIE, Jim held a variety of executive positions at leading technology companies, including Bridgewater Systems (now part of Amdocs), Ceyba Corporation, Alcatel Corporation, and Newbridge Networks.

Panelist Details

Laura O’Blenis
Founding Director
Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Ms. O’Blenis acts in the capacity as Executive Director for AURP Canada. A founding director of the association in 2007, Ms. O’Blenis was its first treasurer and has been a key member of the executive since its inception, leading all government relations, special projects, and park liaison activities on behalf of the association. O’Blenis is responsible for spearheading the development of the Memorandum of Understanding between AURP Canada and CANARIE, an initiative intended to create greater synergies and opportunities for collaboration between the 1,400 companies in the parks and the academic institutions connected to the CANARIE network.

Ms. O’Blenis has built an impressive resume in her 18 years of executive experience. An MBA candidate with the University of New Brunswick , she is a founding director of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Canada, past-Chair of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) CanWIT Atlantic Chapter, a past president of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, and past president of the Fredericton Executive Association.

Mark Hoddenbagh
Acting Executive Director
Partnerships and Applied Research, Algonquin College

Transforming students, faculty, staff and clients through entrepreneurship and applied research has been Mark’s focus since 2007 when he joined Algonquin College. This has been accomplished by developing strong internal and external networks with creative, driven and passionate people; leveraging the expertise of faculty and staff; engaging students in addressing real-world problems and opportunities; and collaborating closely with industry, government and community organizations.

Mark has over twenty-five years of academic and applied research experience in chemistry, environmental sciences, advanced materials, pulp and paper, and biotechnology. At Algonquin his support of sustainability, entrepreneurship, applied research and commercialization has grown to encompass construction and building sciences, smart grid, ICT, photonics, heath care, digital and multimedia technologies, business, culinary, engineering technology, sustainable development and education.

Prior to joining the College, Mark worked for the National Research Council of Canada, Millar Western Pulp Limited in Saskatchewan, the Alberta Research Council in Edmonton, and IOGEN Corporation in Ottawa.

Mark holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry, a Bachelor of Science (Honours Chemistry) and a Bachelor of Arts (Chemistry/Spanish), from Queen’s University.

Robin Winsor
President and CEO

Robin Winsor is President and CEO of Cybera, a not-for-profit organization that works to spur and support innovation, for the economic benefit of Alberta, through the use of cyberinfrastructure. Since joining Cybera in 2009, Winsor has preserved the organization’s commitment to research and development, while also increasing Cybera’s relevance and engagement with commercial enterprise. Currently, Winsor’s focus is to leverage province-wide infrastructure and expertise to make Alberta the destination of choice for forward-thinking companies. This includes a comprehensive approach towards establishing open-access and cloud-enabled infrastructure for the benefit of all Albertans. Winsor has a strong background in sectors such as oil and gas, seismic, geophysics, and medical science. He is a member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the American Geophysical Union as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Winsor studied geophysics and artificial intelligence at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Steve Liang
Professor and Entrepreneur
University of Calgary

Steve Liang is a researcher, teacher and entrepreneur. Steve is currently an associate professor at the University of Calgary and the founder of SensorUp, a technology startup based in Calgary. Steve’s goal is to disrupt the silos of the Internet of Things and to empower anyone to build connected applications by using the information generated from the world around them. For example, Steve is currently the Standard Working Group Chair of the Open Geospatial Consortium SensorThings API and the Rapporteurs of the ITU-T’s Study Group 11/Q12 on the Internet of Things test specifications. The result of both standard works is to provide a uniform way to expose the full potential of the Internet of Things.

Steve received his bachelor degree in Surveying Engineering from Taiwan (NCKU, 1999) and Ph.D. degree in Geographical Information Systems from Canada (York University, 2007). During his Ph.D. study, he also contributed to the development of one of the first virtual globe systems in the world, called GlobeView. GlobeView was later commercialized by GeoTango Corp., and subsequently acquired by Microsoft in 2005. Steve has been an invited speaker at universities and industries in 11 countries. In 2013, Steve was chosen one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Avenue Magazine.