Electronic Products & Technology

$40 million award funds Canadian university microsystems research


Electronics CEL

CMC Microsystems (CMC), a non-profit organization that has built a national microsystems ecosystem supporting researchers in 45 Canadian post-secondary institutions has been awarded $40 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to continue their innovative work.

The announcement was made at the CMC headquarters in Kingston, ON today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).
The impact of these funds will be felt in every province in Canada and in post-secondary institutions in over 30 Canadian cities.
CMC, through its unique National Design Network (NDN), provides some 720 faculty members at 45 Canadian post-secondary institutions (along with several thousand graduate students, post doctoral fellows and research assistants) with resources to design, make and test microsystems prototypes. Over 40 supplier partners are also part of the NDN, through which these suppliers provide Canadian researchers with the latest commercial tools and technologies that otherwise would not be available to the researchers.
CMC will also leverage a matching, additional $40 million in cash and in-kind contributions from Canadian industry and other partners.
“Microelectronics research is a key component of developing tomorrow’s technology. This funding will help maintain Canada’s strong R&D capacity in this field,” said Minister Goodyear. “CMC is a unique national resource that allows universities to access facilities and services that would otherwise be unavailable.”
Dr. Ian McWalter (left), president and CEO of CMC Microsystems commented on the announcement saying: “Microsystems will be a transformative technology in the next decade. These systems will change the way that health care is provided, the way we drive our cars, the efficiency of our energy use, and how we control our entertainment. This funding will help accelerate Canadian microsystems research, moving it quickly and efficiently on a path to commercialization and establishing Canada as a world leader.”
 “NSERC has supported CMC since its inception in 1984 with funding for operating resources,” said NSERC President Suzanne Fortier. “At present, CMC’s services are used by approximately 720 professors and over 2,400 students. These students are valued by industry as highly trained personnel, central for exploiting new opportunities that involve microsystems.”
CMC provides computer-aided design and analysis software to researchers. Researchers are also provided crucial technical services, such as low-cost prototype manufacturing and system testing which are used to validate research and move concepts quickly toward a path to commercialization.
NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators to the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28,000 students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies.
What are Microsystems?
Microsystems are a rapidly growing field, embracing developments in areas such as microelectronics, photonics, mechanics, chemistry, biology and medicine. They are the miniature high technology systems that control all kinds of processes: heart pacemakers, airbags, cell phones, video games, to name only a few. They are used to measure water quality, are important in the production of electricity and the analysis of genetic materials. Everywhere one looks, microsystems are fundamental to the operation of a range of products and services that are part of the very fabric of modern life.
Why are Microsystems Important to Canada?
Microsystems will be a transformative technology in the next decade in many industrial and commercial applications, including all those identified as strategic priorities by Canadian Governments.
Microsytems provide an opportunity to reinvigorate manufacturing in Canada, because the know-how required to design and produce them will become much more application specific. It is only by fostering research that encompasses all aspects of microsystems development, from the initial research ideas through design, fabrication, characterization and eventually commercialization that Canada will develop the highly qualified people and the new technology companies necessary for prosperity in a knowledge based economy.
About CMC Microsystems 
Established in 1984, CMC Microsystems builds partnerships among government, industry and universities to enable and accelerate Canada’s global competitiveness in microsystems. As Canada’s leader in the provision of national infrastructure for microsystems research and technology development in universities, CMC provides leading-edge tools and technologies for world-class research leading to innovation and the commercialization of microsystems. CMC’s membership includes universities, colleges, and 26 industrial organizations. More information is available at www.cmc.ca.
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