Schools Training

IBM Teams Up With Ontario Universities

12 APR 2012
Topic : Education News

A major research partnership has been struck between IBM Canada Ltd. and seven Ontario universities to establish a new Ontario-based research and development initiative. The plan, said to be worth $210 million dollars, will help create 145 new highly skilled jobs in Ontario, providing a new economic cornerstone for the country. Based on high performaance and cloud computing infrastructure for research, the goal of the initiative will be to “help solve the world’s most complex problems”, which evidently include:

  • Resource management
  • Urban infrastructure
  • Neurological disorders
  • Water conservation
  • Smart energy grids

This initiative is part of a new federal strategy to fuel Canadian innovation by helping businesses get involved in research with strategic, direct investments. To that end, the government pledged $20 million to this partnership (with the province and IBM kicking in $15 and $175 million, respectively – holy inequality batman!).

“Private-sector participation in research and development … is lagging. We’re focused on better [job creation], those better-paying jobs, those longer-lasting jobs,” Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) said in press release.

“We are proud to invest in supercomputing infrastructure that will position southern Ontario at the forefront of research and development in areas that are not only critically important to our communities, but also show great commercial promise,” he said.

The seven universities involved will have access to a large data centre being built in Barrie, Ontario. These schools are:

  • The University of Toronto (which will host a new supercomputer)
  • Western University (which will house cloud-computing infrastructure)
  • Queen’s
  • McMaster
  • Waterloo
  • Ottawa
  • The University of Ontario Institute of Technology

With so much news lately centered on tuition hikes and cash-strapped schools, these kind of partnerships are clearly welcome. On the other hand, should academic research have clear commercial purposes? Or should it be held to higher standards? Food for thought.

What do you think about this news?