SUDBURY – The provincial government’s recent announcements regarding the creation of a new Ontario Student Grant, and a $20 million investment over three years for college applied research are being welcomed by Cambrian College President Bill Best.
“This is a tremendous investment into college-based research that promotes innovation and job growth,” said Cambrian College President Bill Best. “It allows Cambrian, and especially our students, the opportunity to work side-by-side with our industry partners to boost innovation, develop solutions to real-world problems and to help strengthen our regional economy.”
In its 2016 Ontario Budget, the government announced that it will be supporting competitiveness and job creation in key industry sectors by partnering with colleges to establish a $20-million fund to be invested over three years.
The government said that the fund will better connect colleges with Ontario companies in order to work on applied research projects that will enhance local and provincial economies and help businesses become more competitive in global markets.
In its budget, the government also responded to a call made by Colleges Ontario for reforms that will help more mature students and more students from low-income families to gain to access college education.
The measures include a new, upfront grant called the Ontario Student Grant, which starts in the 2017-18 school year. It will make the average college and university tuition free for students from families with incomes of $50,000 or less. Under the new grant program, tuition will also be more affordable for middle- and higher-income families, as well as mature and married students.
“Financial challenges are one of the leading barriers that prevent interested students from accessing education,” commented Best. “This investment will open the door to post-secondary education for more Ontarians.”
Other measures in the budget include more funding for Aboriginal education and a commitment to consult on college funding as the college sector approaches its 50th anniversary in 2017.
The new funding for applied research responds to one of the priorities in the college sector’s pre-budget submission to government.
Glenn Thibeault, MPP for Sudbury said that “applied research is crucial to the success of Ontario’s small- and medium-sized industries. Cambrian College, my alma mater, is a recognized leader in applied research and innovation in the north, and it’s one of the top research colleges in Canada. I am pleased to be part of a provincial government team that is investing in an important part of the north’s economy.”
Cambrian College is currently ranked 34th among Canada’s top research colleges by Research Infosource. The College earned $1.56 million in research income last year. Its research arm, Cambrian Innovates, has 57 industry partners and has completed 61 projects since 2009, engaging over 150 students and 33 faculty members in research and innovation efforts.
“Our research helps businesses compete more effectively in the global market,” Best said. “We’re pleased the government recognizes the critical importance of investing in college-based applied research.”
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