Queen’s University earns top marks for innovative thinking

The prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) has listed Queen’s as one of 55 international institutions, and only four in Canada, that “have innovation at the core of their strategy, strong industry links, and research that excels in technological areas such as engineering”.

THE compiled the roster of “tech challengers” by looking at institutions that have taken innovative approaches to help them adapt to the trend of declining public funding. They highlight that one common strategy among these institutions is their excellence in innovative areas of research associated with the technological and digital revolution. The tech challengers article is the second in a series of articles THE is writing based on "academic clustering" analysis by their data team.

“We can take pride that the work we are doing to foster innovation at Queen’s is being noticed internationally, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this strong result,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon. “Innovation and international impact are critical for our continued success, and the future looks bright with new investments in faculty renewal and in state-of-the-art facilities like our Innovation and Wellness Centre, including space for human-machine collaboration, and the Beaty Water Research Centre.”

“It is exciting to see this acknowledgement of our achievements,” adds Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). “Our centre breaks down campus and regional boundaries to help create optimal conditions towards success, and to develop the next generation of innovative leaders. I know we will continue to build on this strong result as more of our students tap into programs such as the QyourVenture accelerator, our summer intensive QISCI program, and our Global Network.”

There are many initiatives underway to break down those boundaries. University employees have been involved in supporting a number of local budding entrepreneurs in recent months – from a pitch competition held at the DDQIC in April, to the ongoing support provided to faculty researchers such as Shahram Yousefi, to the coaching of some grade 5 through 8 students to help them develop their entrepreneurial ideas.

In April, alumni in Los Angeles and San Francisco were joined by Dr. Bacon and Mr. Bavington for discussions about the future of innovation at the university. Those discussions led to the establishment of two California nodes for Queen’s Global Network (a SoCal node for Los Angeles and San Diego, and a NoCal node based in San Francisco).

Additionally, Queen’s is in the process of consolidating technology transfer, industry partnerships, Innovation Park activities, and a research contracts unit to form the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, under the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research). This office will provide support and incubator space for startups, offer entrepreneurship programming, advance research partnerships with industry, government and not-for-profits, and provide the intellectual property and commercial expertise that are needed to advance discoveries and technologies to the marketplace.

“With the ongoing formation of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, we will have the expertise needed to support technology transfer activities, cultivate research partnerships, and support our innovation ecosystem,” says Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation).

See the full THE tech challengers ranking list here. Data scientist Billy Wong, who conducted the “tech challenger” analysis for THE, said the cluster was created by mapping 980 universities’ citation scores and reputation votes across eight broad subject areas. The institutions were then grouped into 10 clusters based on their “proximity” and therefore similarity to other universities. Universities which tend to do better in either THE’s engineering and technology or physical sciences subject rankings compared with their overall rank tended to make the cut as “tech challengers.”

More information on THE’s DataPoints data analysis service is available online.

 

Monday May 29, 2017

By Phil Gaudreau, Senior Communications Officer