Leaving no stone unturned to brighten region’s economic future

Leaving no stone unturned to brighten region’s economic future

Source: The Standard

A new innovation hub has opened at Brock University, marking yet another way officials in the region are trying to point Niagara’s economic outlook in a positive direction.

The Brock-Niagara Validation, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI) celebrated a grand opening on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Funded by a $6-million investment from the federal government’s FedDev Ontario program, the technology adoption centre will connect industry with researcher expertise and equipment.

“For nearly 60 years, Brock has supported the Niagara community by helping to tackle the challenges faced by local industry,” said Lesley Rigg, Brock president and vice-chancellor, in a press release marking the grand opening. “Through the VPMI, businesses now have direct access to the research expertise we know has the potential to create groundbreaking change, in addition to high-end and rare scientific equipment that, in some cases, is found nowhere else in Canada.”

While the grand opening was held on Oct. 11, the centre had already begun working with people in industry. It focuses on health and disease, chemical manufacturing and environmental sectors.

Furlane, a steadfast believer in technology and AI, told me he could see Niagara become a new Silicon Valley type region.

“Why can’t we be like San Francisco?” he asked. “San Fransciso has two things that are big: wineries and tech. They seem to go together.”

Niagara’s already got the wine part handled, Furlane’s argument goes, so in his view, next up is technology.

And almost on cue, the VPMI has a connection with the region’s wine industry. It can help industry connect with organizations such as the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, said VPMI director Paul Zelisko.

“The VPMI represents limitless potential,” he said in a release. “We are a science-based facility, but we’re also here to help mobilize resources available at Brock that can also assist businesses with challenges being encountered and ideas they’re hoping to see come to fruition.”

It’s located on Brock’s main campus.

For more information visit brocku.ca/vpmi.

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