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IBM Canada invests $65 million for innovative collaborations

November 25, 2015

A $65-miillion investment from IBM Canada will enable innovative industry-academic collaborations at Western University and 13 partner institutions.

A new $65 million investment from IBM Canada Ltd. will enable the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) to add new areas of focus to its collaborative R&D mandate and double the number of academic institutions in the SOSCIP consortium. IBM’s investment comes in the way of agile, advanced computing infrastructure and big data analytics, as well as related support through research, IT and business expertise.

Created in 2012, SOSCIP supports collaborations between academic researchers and small- and medium-sized companies using advanced computing and big data analytics. The ultimate goal is for these projects to bring new products and services to market.

Founded with a focus on research into five core areas – cities, health, energy, water and advanced computing – this IBM investment will enable SOSCIP to expand into four new areas: mining, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and digital media.

In addition to the four new areas of focus and new academic members, SOSCIP will place a strategic emphasis on commercialization and partnerships with medium-sized companies to help them adopt advanced computing and big data analytics technologies.

IBM’s latest investment was also critical to securing matching funding required to generate support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). As a result, SOSCIP is able to launch a major expansion of its activities.

Western is a founding member of the SOSCIP consortium, which is now composed of 14 post-secondary institutions, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and IBM as the lead industry partner.

“Western is very proud to co-lead the SOSCIP project with the University of Toronto and its team, and we are thrilled to have such a strong relationship with IBM as our lead industrial partner,” said Amit Chakma, President of Western University. “With this additional investment, we will continue to increase confidence in the digital economy through improved online security, empower health professionals to more quickly provide accurate diagnoses, and prepare businesses to identify risks and take advantage of new opportunities. This is where research has impact – in our communities.”

Research has progressed at Western by pairing state-of-the-art technology, including cloud and agile computing platforms, with leading scientists who analyze the brain in real-time to diagnose schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer’s more quickly.

SOSCIP is co-led by the University of Toronto. “Since its creation, the SOSCIP consortium has benefitted immensely from its partnership with IBM Canada. Thanks to this additional $65-million investment, SOSCIP has been able to launch its second phase of operations, which will draw on state-of-the-art computing to solve critical problems in areas of crucial importance to our society and our economy,” said University of Toronto President Meric Gertler. “With this new investment, SOSCIP will add new areas of research focus and support more opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows to gain skills and experience in high-tech settings.”

Dino Trevisani
Dino Trevisani, President, IBM Canada

“We believe one of the best ways to address the innovation gap this country is facing is for academia, industry and government to work more collaboratively on common initiatives,” said Dino Trevisani, President, IBM Canada. “Our partnership in SOSCIP is driving Canadian competitiveness and growth by pairing global industry expertise with academia, providing access to technology tools otherwise out of reach and fueling made-in-Canada innovation that can move quickly out of the labs and into the market.”

Other founding partners in SOSCIP are McMaster University, Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, IBM Canada Ltd. and OCE. Four additional universities joined SOSCIP in April 2014: Carleton, Ryerson, York and Wilfrid Laurier. In August of this year, OCAD University, Seneca College and the University of Windsor joined the consortium.

OCE and Mitacs will also be contributing funding to support SOSCIP projects and providing high-tech training opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows.

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