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Funding project boosts regional innovation by matching researchers with available equipment

A database designed to connect entrepreneurs and researchers with almost 400 pieces of equipment available at 19 post-secondary institutions across Atlantic Canada has made its official debut, thanks to an investment of $198,747 from the Government of Canada. This networking tool will help make costly projects possible, accelerate research projects, and bring innovative products and processes to market faster, thereby helping to grow the region’s economy and create jobs for the middle-class and those who seek to join it.

The Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED) is an open-access databank service that links users with the facilities and equipment they need at the stroke of a key. AFRED not only helps them save time, but also saves them buying costly equipment that already exists, while helping ensure expensive research assets in the region are utilized to their full capacity.

AFRED is an initiative of Science Atlantic, a non-profit association of 16 post-secondary and research institutes in Atlantic Canada.

Funding for this project is made possible through a non-repayable contribution of $181,897 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency’s Business Development Program, which assists businesses to start-up, expand, modernize, develop and commercialize products or services and improve their competitiveness. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which also supports innovation research partnerships and commercialization of research, is providing $16,850 to the project.

Quick Facts:

  • In the making since 2010, AFRED has progressed from a simple tool for universities to share equipment information to a powerful database built to support economic development by fostering innovation and inter-sectoral collaboration.
  • Nearly 400 pieces of equipment in 80 facilities at 19 post-secondary institutions are currently registered in AFRED. Science Atlantic receives new listing requests on an ongoing basis and plans to expand the database until all eligible facilities in the region are listed.
  • AFRED is well positioned to foster innovative collaborations and business growth. The database provides any researcher or entrepreneur access to equipment at universities, government and not-for-profit facilities for proof-of-concept and product-development studies in diverse sectors such as aerospace, information technology, renewable energy, food sciences, nutraceuticals, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, animal health, and more.

  • All R&D spending in Atlantic Canada averaged $1.2 billion per year from 2011 to 2013 and the region’s business R&D grew by an annual average of 2.1 per cent, between 2003 and 2013 compared to 1.3 per cent at the national level.*Source: Statistics Canada, Table 358-001

Click here to check AFRED out.

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