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Innovation Insights - Partnering with Brock University: Solutions for Industry

When industry encounters a challenge, Brock University has the solution. Located in the heart of Niagara, we’re passionate about our partnerships. The knowledge, innovation and skills we each bring to the table transform the world around us.

One of Niagara’s powerhouses is the grape and wine industry. Grapevine viruses, grapevine cold hardiness, and developing new or innovative wine styles are some of the many real-life challenges the industry faces

Brock University’s internationally recognized Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) is the go-to place for research and services focusing on the sector’s challenges and priorities.

CCOVI’s cutting-edge research uses state-of-the-art equipment to help its partners with a variety of projects offering a range of standard analytical services to the grape and wine, cider, beer, and distillery industries.

Its outreach programs — Preharvest Monitoring, VineAlert, and Grapevine Virus Testing — provide invaluable data that the industry uses during the growing season.

One sector in Niagara showing potential for growth is the cannabis industry. Brock was among the first universities in the country to receive a cannabis-related research and development license from Health Canada under the new CTLS system. Cannabis research projects with industry partners have already started.

Beyond our agri-food and agri-tech expertise, Brock has research strengths in many areas of industry.

The newly launched Brock-Niagara Validating, Prototyping, and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI) aims to become a frictionless technology adoption centre that provides a one-stop shop for industry partners to access research, services and training from experts all across the university.

The facility’s construction is scheduled to be completed later this year. A $5-million investment from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is supporting the VPMI’s equipment and applied research projects.

Also in its early stages is Brock LINC, a hub that emphasizes Brock’s applied research, entrepreneurship, commercialization, and startup culture.

All of this cutting-edge equipment and expertise have enabled us to form exciting partnerships. Examples include:

  • Creating a quercetin product to be used in the fight against COVID-19 (Brock and Biolyse Pharma Corporation)
  • Exploring whether a particular type of fungi can act as a natural fertilizer for the hemp plant (Brock and CanBud)
  • Using a novel prototype technology to trap specific compounds released during the wine-making process and return them back into the wine, supplying a growing market for highly-aromatic white, rosé, and sparkling wines across Ontario (Brock and Peller Estates)

Support for partnerships, collaborations, and engagements with Brock is available through our funding partners, including: Mitacs, Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Come join us!

For more information, please contact Bradley McLean, Associate Director, Innovation, Commercialization & Partnerships. 

Contact Bradley McLean

Bradley McLean leads the Partnerships, Innovation, and Intellectual Property Advancement team in the Office of Research Services at Brock University where he and his group support commercialization of Brock research, facilitate partnerships, and connect industry members or community groups with Brock researchers, and is an integral part of the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Niagara.

Article authored by Cathy Majtenyi, Research Communications/Media Relations Specialist

This article originally appeared in Business Link Niagara.

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