Volume 93, Issue 30

Friday, October 22, 1999


Online votes problematic for election

Market returns to downtown core

Weston's address attacks OSAP fraud

London opts to defer Western's cash request

Government money to form an alliance

Food services rolling in the dough again


Caught on campus


Government money to form an alliance

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The relationship between universities and industries just got a little friendlier as a multi-million dollar windfall was awarded to strengthen the tie.

The Canadian Microelectronics Corporation, a company specializing in high-tech research, received a $30.5 million grant from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada this week, said Arnet Sheppard, a spokesperson for NSERC.

Sheppard explained the CMC acts as a liaison between high-tech industries and universities to allow students the opportunity to test new technologies, while giving industry a pipeline to fresh minds at universities. Sheppard added the money would be distributed over the next five years.

The funding comes at a time when the high-tech industry is booming and the university-industry link has to be bolstered, said Gail Burgess, information and planning co-ordinator for the CMC.

"We're very pleased," she said. "Industry is giving us the technology because it gives them a better understanding of what's going on in terms of research. In return, industry is more likely to get future employees."

Ian McWalter, vice-president and chief operating officer for the Gennum Corporation, a Toronto-based electronics company in the CMC network, said most of the money would get funneled to universities for infrastructure, work stations, software and test equipment. "The fundamental issue for industry is [a] supply of highly qualified people," he said.

Microelectronics and microchips are everywhere, McWalter said, adding the average person encounters a microchip up to 600 times a day in forms such as TV remote controls and household appliances. "They're pretty much everywhere," he said.

Paul Dufour, ministerial assistant to the secretary of state for science, research and development, said he was pleased the award was given and highlighted the CMC network as an example of how industry partnerships can work. "Clearly, this is a good example of industry-university interaction and the benefits of partnerships with the private sector," he said.

Burgess said she hopes the $30.5 million would serve to facilitate the demands of an expected boom of students into this field of study over the next five years.

"Industry can't meet its present need for employees. It's a booming field and no company can get the amount of people they need," she said.

Susan Hoddinott, director of Western's research services, said Western is included in the CMC network and would like to see more microelectronics research at the university. However, Hoddinott said it is too early to see how much funding for resources Western might receive. "At this point, we haven't gotten a lot of feedback."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999