NowNS: University of innovation
It’s been said that we make our future by the best use of the present.
The province’s ten universities have long driven economic growth opportunities and promoted social development and innovation. The One Nova Scotia Coalition’s collaborative action plan has amplified the importance of that contribution.
Collaborative partnerships with the private sector, communities and governments, enable Nova Scotia’s universities to build on their role as innovation hubs as sited in the coalition’s ‘playbook for Nova Scotians.’
Ensuring local, national and international students have access to a high quality post-secondary education is Nova Scotia’s competitive advantage. Preparing, engaging and inspiring those students to lead our province into a more prosperous future is mission critical.
Universities are committed to delivering on the aspirations of the coalition’s action plan.
Acadia University’s Centre for Rural Innovation acts as an incubator bringing together community-based entrepreneurs, faculty, and students. The centre houses the Atlantic Wine Institute, the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute, and the Acadia Institute for Data Analytics, three organizations that leverage Acadia’s academic and research capacity to contribute to the Annapolis Valley’s economic growth and prosperity. It’s also home to Launchbox, a student entrepreneur-focused innovation hub.
Acadia’s Centre for Rural innovation plays a key role in helping our industry and community partners become more competitive. Nova Scotia’s wine industry has benefited from Acadia’s chemical analysis, sensory and marketing expertise. Strengthening this $196-million industry is important to our province because it contributes about 800 jobs to our provincial economy — almost all of them in rural communities where just under 1,000 acres of farmland are under vine.
Tidal energy interest was launched at Acadia more than 100 years ago and today university researchers are contributing their expertise to an industry expected to inject $1.7 billion into our province’s economy over the next 25 years.
In data analytics, an area of commercial study where demand is exploding, businesses based in the centre are helping Valley farmers increase crop yields, correctly time optimal harvests, and, ultimately, become more profitable.
Atlantic School of Theology
Experiential learning has been a part of Atlantic School of Theology’s (AST) pedagogy for over 40 years. AST has found that experiential learning accomplishes more than providing students with an opportunity to learn invaluable lessons from within a teaching site. AST will focus on two other invaluable discoveries; the impact that students have on their environment and the way that experiential learning has invited them to embrace their inner entrepreneur.
AST also embraces the significance of R&D and has begun to encourage students to think of themselves as “researchers,” by building a research component into their emerging identity as spiritual care practitioners. Experiential learning is leading many AST students to the discovery that innovation, creativity and courage have contributed to the development of new ideas.
Cape Breton University
Through training more people in technology and entrepreneurship, Cape Breton University is contributing to the start-up ecosystem as a catalyst for the creation of more local companies and as a provider of skilled developers to help existing companies grow. CBU is committed to growing the entrepreneurial culture, both within the university community and throughout Cape Breton Island. The Uhma Institute of Technology (UIT) Startup Immersion Program is a six-month program teaching prospective entrepreneurs the methods behind the world’s most successful startups. Students learn technology, product and business skills leading up to the launch of their own company.
Nova Scotia is home to Dalhousie University, one of Canada’s top research universities, responsible for 80 per cent of all publicly funded research and for 98 per cent of industry sponsored research in the province.
With strength in the areas of ocean sciences, health and life sciences, advanced materials and clean tech, governance, agriculture and ICT, Dalhousie research can be found behind many notable start-ups in the region, like BlueLight Analytics, Ocean Nutrition, ImmunoVaccine Technology, Atlantic Motor Labs and AnalyzeRe.
Dalhousie houses the Nova Scotia Product Design and Development Centre, connecting more than 200 small businesses with engineers to provide product research and development from basic consulting and design, to concept prototypes, detailed design, testing, and pre-production prototypes; Enactus, a student society that harnesses entrepreneurial skills and spirit to drive social innovation through a variety of community-based projects; the Starting Lean program; and entrepreneurship training for researchers.
Mount Saint Vincent University
Mount Saint Vincent University faculty are leading research efforts that are at the heart of advancements in social programs and policies critical to a vibrant Nova Scotia. From childhood development and literacy to food security and aging, Mount researchers are making progress on topics of social importance and engaging students in their work, igniting important passions in future generations of social innovators.
The Centre on Aging has as its mission to advance knowledge on aging to inform social policy and practice and enhance the quality of life of older people and their families. The Centre works in partnerships with others — the academic community, governments, the private sector, seniors, and voluntary/professional organizations — on initiatives that will benefit the aged, their families and communities.
Recognizing its distinctive difference from other universities, NSCAD University takes a page from the Silicon Valley playbook, creating opportunities for faculty, students, alumni and Nova Scotians to connect, collaborate and learn. The newly opened Art Bar + Projects on Granville Street extends the discussion on art and ideas from NSCAD’s classrooms and studios into the wider public sphere; its research hangouts are already yielding collaborations. Planning is now underway to design and create a creative commons that will support the technology-intensive way in which contemporary students learn and conduct research.
St. Mary’s University
In partnership with six other universities and colleges, the Change Action Lab Research Institute (CLARI) at Saint Mary’s University is developing a network of experts and professionals across Nova Scotia to open up new possibilities for social and economic development. CLARI allows institutional expertise to be shared throughout the province to develop social and economic improvement projects.
In 2013, The Sobey School of Business launched Atlantic Canada’s first master-level business school program specializing solely in technology entrepreneurship and innovation. It goes beyond pure technical or business education. The program gives technology entrepreneurs the skills they need to become sought-after, hybrid leaders who can solve today's complex business challenges.
St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University is placing priority on the renewal of its decades-old commitment to social enterprise to facilitate the development and growth of new social enterprises in Nova Scotia, particularly business enterprises that create community impacts, reflect social values, focus on human and environmental well-being, and address rural renewal and sustainability.
Through a renewal of its extension efforts, St. F.X. works to improve understanding of innovation and social entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia. St. F.X. will continue its commitment to experiential learning and in particular, to service learning. St. F.X. created service learning in Canada 20 years ago, believing in its deep impact on learning and making our communities a better place to live.
University of King’s College
As the OneNS Playbook suggests, these three elements — innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship — are key to enhancing the role of the University of King’s College as an innovation hub.
King’s leveraged its leadership role in the world of journalism to host a national innovation forum in October 2015. Politicians, students, entrepreneurs and members of the public packed Alumni Hall to hear leading innovators from across North America. Thousands more watched the proceedings via live streaming.
King’s links with the creative and entrepreneurial worlds extend to the Norman Newman Centre at Dalhousie, with whom they c-ooperate on many student projects.
The Laboratory for Innovation and Science in Industry (LISI) is co-located with Comeau’s Sea Foods Nova West Laboratory — a key element of the burgeoning research, development and innovation cluster at Université Sainte-Anne. The laboratory is comprised of a biochemistry and genomics room as well as a cell culture and microscopy room. It is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment to meet the needs of students and researchers. In turn, the Nova West Laboratory is the main food safety and quality control laboratory in southwestern Nova Scotia. The LISI’s services are an excellent complement to those of the university’s well established Marine Research Centre located in Petit-de-Grat, Richmond County.
Six of Nova Scotia’s universities — Dal, SMU, CBU, NSCAD, MSVU and Acadia — and the NSCC, are partners in the province’s ‘sandboxes’ initiative, which provide students with space and support to explore ideas that could drive social innovation, new products or designs, and potentially start-up companies.
Nova Scotia’s universities, in partnership with other institutions, sectors, communities and citizens, are committed to broadening their role as anchors of regional economic and social development and innovation; fostering a knowledge economy through R&D leadership and commercialization; expanding experiential learning and creating environments promoting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.