Innovation Centres

From Winnipeg to the World

Three Winnipeg-based innovation centres are attracting welcome attention. All are world-renowned leaders in their respective fields, making the impossible seem feasible every single day. Take a look below to see how the Composites Innovation Centre, the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, and the CISCO Innovation Centre for Collaborative Technologies are distinguishing themselves.

1. Composites Innovation Centre

Based in Winnipeg, the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) is a not-for-profit corporation jointly sponsored by private industry and government. Its mandate is to support and stimulate economic growth through innovative research, development and application of composite materials and technologies for manufacturing industries. This is achieved by working directly with industry on industry-sponsored projects that result in a measurable economic benefit to the project participants and the community.

Projects are performed in collaboration with industry, government agencies and educational establishments. To support these activities, the CIC is funded by and/or has affiliations with several government, research and educational establishments, including Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Government of Manitoba, Economic Development Winnipeg, the National Research Council of Canada, the University of Manitoba and Red River College.

The CIC is driven by industry requirements focusing on key areas such as aerospace, biomaterials, ground transportation and civil infrastructure. Core technologies like liquid resin molding and automation—and the business sectors they support—are based on levels of interest and the technology gaps/needs of industry. Capabilities developed around the core technologies assist industry in keeping pace with competitors as well as advancing technologies to provide for a competitive advantage.

Since its inception in 2003, the CIC has completed projects totalling more than $50 million and transferred over 180 technologies to industry.

2. Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals

The Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (RCFFN) is a leading research institute whose mission is to develop alternative and practical uses for crops grown on the Canadian Prairies. By identifying and enhancing health-promoting compounds found in prairie crops and using them to develop innovative functional foods and nutraceutical/natural health products, researchers at this world-class facility are producing foods today that will translate into improved health and wellness of Canadians tomorrow.

The RCFFN is committed to the growth of researchers, industry, academia and producers, and it is dedicated to supporting these groups. The RCFFN coordinates the multidisciplinary, collaborative R&D efforts necessary to take bio-actives from identification to ready-for-clinical examination and pre-commercialization. It’s the main source for scientific and regulatory information concerning bio-active compounds, nutraceuticals, functional foods and natural health products in Western Canada and is a catalyst for the development of plant-based products, increasing the processing of western Canadian agricultural commodities and the capturing of related economic spin-offs.

Today, RCFFN continues its research excellence, partnering with stakeholders to produce some of the most innovative foods and nutraceutical products on the market.

3. CISCO Innovation Centre for Collaborative Technologies

The Cisco Innovation Centre (CIC) is housed at the University of Winnipeg. The CIC’s mandate is to explore the collaborative potential of high-speed fibre optic networks under the direction of Herbert Enns, who has been seconded to the University of Winnipeg to lead the development of innovative forms of digital collaboration, scholarship, research and creative works.

The backbone of the centre is the network of immersive telepresence labs, which has become an important university and community asset. The CIC telepresence infrastructure includes four rooms that connect researchers and academics with counterparts around the world. The telepresence is a fully immersive, multiscreen, high-resolution, audio/video environment for national and international conferencing. It allows up to 12 sites around the world to communicate concurrently and is ideally suited for academic, corporate and governmental conferences and seminars. The technology is based on fibre optic signals and runs on MRnet, the Manitoba Research Network; CANAIRE, the national fibre optic research network; and the LAMBDA RAIL network linking primary research universities in the United States.

The CIC is also a digital technology research centre, working with numerous partners in areas like converged building networks, digital capacity policy initiatives, healthy city applications, urban digital media networks and related projects to address the digital divide for underserved populations. The CIC has become a key participant in the expansion of the digital communication infrastructure and capacity of the university, the City of Winnipeg and the Manitoba government, and it plays a leading role withinin the local broadband economy.