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The University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering recently held its annual Industry Partners Reception to thank existing collaborators for their support, guidance and enthusiasm for the research and education that takes place at U of T Engineering.
This year's event, which was hosted at The Faculty Club and attracted representatives from both large multinational organizations and startup companies, was also an opportunity to acknowledge the launch of the Toronto Institute of Advanced Manufacturing (TIAM).
TIAM brings together 17 professors from six academic areas with expertise in the manufacturing of advanced materials, processing methods and knowledge-based manufacturing.
"The manufacturing sector is a hub for major and vital economic growth for the country — especially here in Southern Ontario," said Professor Hani Naguib (MIE, MSE), director of TIAM. "Our mission is to strengthen and lead in these areas. Not only in Ontario, but also across Canada and the world, knowing that we have the expertise and the infrastructure to do so."
TIAM has already collaborated with Magna International, BlackBerry, Pratt and Whitney, Bombardier, GE Digital Energy and Celestica.
Brad Jackson, vice-president of strategic business development at Celestica, was on hand to discuss the electronics manufacturing service company's longstanding 15-year partnership with U of T. What began with the establishment of the Celestica Chair in Materials for Microelectronics — currently held by Professor Doug Perovic (MSE) — has developed into a key partnership within TIAM.
"I often get asked: 'What's the future of manufacturing in Canada?'" Jackson said. "If manufacturing is defined in a traditional way, we're missing the mark. I really do believe, as Hani mentioned, that knowledge-based manufacturing is an opportunity for Canada. And that's why we're so excited about the work we're doing in partnership with GE Digital Energy and U of T Engineering at TIAM."
U of T Engineering attracted over $80 million in external research funding in 2013-2014 with nearly $8 million coming from industry partners — both are record-setting figures for the Faculty.
Professor Thomas Coyle (MSE), vice-dean of undergraduate studies, highlighted a couple of other key partnerships the Faculty has with industry at the event.
"Hatch Inc. has a very comprehensive relationship with U of T," Coyle said. "The company mentors our students, recruits many of our best and brightest graduates, supports research projects, participates in industrial advisory boards, and invests in undergraduate/graduate scholarships."
In 2013, the Faculty also received a generous gift from Hatch that will go towards naming a project room in the forthcoming Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship building.
Another key industry partner highlighted by Coyle is Hitachi High-Technologies Canada, which partly funded the $20-million Ontario Centre for Characterization of Advanced Materials (OCCAM). The facility, which opened in 2014, features state-of-the-art electron microscopes that allow researchers in energy, transportation, health care and more to develop safer, cleaner and more sustainable materials.
U of T Engineering currently collaborates with more than 300 partners in a range of sectors, such as telecommunications, mining, automotive, health care, information technology and power generation.