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14/01/2003

OUC/NRC/Vitesse/Industry Canada MOU Signing

New Agreement focuses national attention,
resources on technology in the OUC region

The National Research Council (NRC), Industry Canada, Okanagan University College (OUC) and Vitesse (Re-Skilling) Canada Inc. have reached an agreement that will have long-term benefits for the Okanagan's technology sector and development of the region's economy.

NRC President Dr. Arthur Carty, OUC President Dr. Katy Bindon, and Vitesse President Arvind Chhatbar today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) intended to broaden and enhance educational, re-skilling and advanced research opportunities throughout the Okanagan and foster the development of the technology sector in the region.

The concept to establish a radio-engineering cluster will be advanced through the support of regional innovation activities in the Okanagan, and made possible by the collaboration of key players including Okanagan University College, the NRC Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (NRC-DRAO) at White Lake, Industry Canada-Pacific Region, the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), the NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) and the NRC Canada Institute for Scientific Information (NRC-CISTI).

"We are excited to be a part of this agreement because it allow us to build on existing collaborations with these partners and create new alliances to benefit the knowledge economy in our region," says Bindon. "That means new opportunities for the private sector, and enhanced education and research options for our students and faculty."

The agreement was borne of working relationships developed through the Okanagan Innovation Roundtable, organized by NRC and OUC in 2001. It was British Columbia's first Innovation Roundtable. That summit brought together business, industry, government and educational leaders from throughout the region and led to development of the Okanagan Innovation Forum, which is co-chaired by NRC's President, Dr. Carty, and local business leaders Brad Bennett and Gordon Fitzpatrick.

"There are tremendous intellectual and innovation assets in the region," says NRC President, Dr. Carty. "We know from practical experience that mobilizing this capacity in the community will help exploit the potential synergies that exist. This MoU is a step toward making that happen."

"This is a regional initiative that matches the mandate of Industry Canada and which will help diversification of the regions economy, taking advantage of existing resources and building on them," says Bruce Drake, Executive Director, B.C. -Yukon Region, for Industry Canada. "We are seeing national resources and agencies being marshalled to develop regional capacities."

OUC will also work hand in hand with Vitesse (Re-Skilling) Canada to develop new educational and training programs to help address a need for Radio Frequency Engineers across Canada. Vitesse and OUC are already at work on other re-skilling programs, including one that is focused on water quality management.

"Sharing resources and expertise not only encourages educational growth and opportunities for area residents, but has the potential for great economic impact in the business sector due to research and technological advancements that will be developed through the partnership," says Arvind Chhatbar. Recognized globally for research and innovation, Canada's National Research Council (NRC) is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology.

For more information, please contact:
Allan Coyle
Okanagan University College
(250) 862-5413
acoyle@ouc.bc.ca

Nathalie Gour
National Research Council
Tel: (613) 990-6091
Nathalie.gour@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

http://www.ouc.bc.ca/update/news02111.html