Research & Innovation

In contrast to the basic research conducted by universities, Polytechnics Canada members perform practical and commercial applied research based on industry needs. We conduct research as directed by our small and medium-sized business partners who seek our help to develop products and processes and bring them to market. We do not conduct basic or theoretical research, or research for its own sake.

Students who participate in these applied research projects gain highly valued “innovation literacy” in the process. Innovation literacy is the ability to think creatively, evaluate opportunities and apply problem-solving skills to diverse business challenges. It cannot be taught in the classroom alone; it requires the practical hands-on experience students at polytechnics and colleges gain as intermediaries in helping their private sector research project partners. Polytechnic graduates who achieve innovation literacy along with practical skills are ready to make a meaningful contribution to their future employer and the Canadian economy.

In 2016/2017 school year, 11,848 students at our college members undertook 2,997 applied research projects. Some 2,358 faculty/staff also participated, helping develop 1,153 prototypes among other commercial ventures. In this way, Polytechnics Canada members help to bridge the gap between research and the commercialization needs of industry. We serve as their innovation intermediaries.

Through our joint lab facilities, networks and specialists, Polytechnics Canada members are playing a growing role in all phases of pre-commercialization activity, including experimental development, business validation and last mile pre-market product and process testing. In addition to helping with commercialization of innovative products and services, we focus on:

  • Proof of concept
  • Prototype development
  • Design
  • Field/lab testing and simulation
  • Product development and enhancement
  • Manufacturing process design

Polytechnics Canada’s members can also help mostly small and medium-sized businesses deliver the following specific operational and advisory services:

  • Contract development and negotiations
  • Materials and coaching
  • Project management
  • Grant writing
  • Development of support documentation
  • Project communications and marketing
  • Seminars and events relating to product development, project management, intellectual property and technology commercialization
  • IP policy negotiation