A commitment to building a stronger economic and socio-cultural engine in the Peterborough community was made today when Trent University and the City of Peterborough signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to move forward with the creation of the Trent Research and Innovation Park, an 85-acre development on Trent University’s East Bank, that will contribute to leading-edge research and offer new opportunities for students while transforming the future of Peterborough, bringing jobs and development to the region .
The intention of the MOU was to reflect an understanding in principle for the creation of a new Research and Innovation Park which will be located on Trent land and developed in partnership with the City. The research park will offer the potential to not only capitalize on and commercialize the environmental research strengths of Trent University, but also create opportunities for co-op placements and employment for Trent students and graduates. The partnership between Trent and the City of Peterborough is integral to expanding opportunities by enhancing a focus on entrepreneurship, supporting start-ups, attracting new businesses to the Peterborough region, providing future jobs for students and Peterborough residents, and leveraging and expanding research partnerships at the University.
“The Trent Research and Innovation Park has the potential to transform the community the same way the formation of Trent fifty years ago did,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “We believe that a strong north end will fuel the development of the entire City and will translate into significant job opportunities for both students and the greater region. We’re proud to work closely with the City on another outstanding development for the area.”
Research developments at Trent in the areas of biomaterials, sustainable agriculture, environmental and water science, and DNA/forensic science have resulted in significant interest from industry partners. These partnerships would form the basis of research and related manufacturing enterprises which would benefit from co-location with Trent, where businesses would have access to the campus’ award-winning faculty, researchers, students, and world-class research facilities.
"The Trent Research and Innovation Park is another milestone in the evolution of our regional economy from its traditional manufacturing roots to a modern, thriving economy featuring internationally recognized research that powers innovative, advanced industrial businesses," Mayor Daryl Bennett said. "This is possible for our community to achieve because of the exceptional level of research that is already taking place at Trent University."
"We are extremely pleased with this new development. The Park will be an excellent home for companies developing innovative environmentally beneficial technologies and processes,” said Dr. Neil Emery, vice president, Research and International at Trent University. “Trent has over 20 faculty researchers associated with the School of the Environment, and conducting applied research related to the environment and sustainability. Companies will find that we have both world-class research talent and facilities, which will be ideal for joint research initiatives."
The research park will be located just down the road from the recently approved ball diamond and arena complex at the northwest corner of Pioneer Road and Ninth Line, respecting nature areas and existing topography, and maintaining both the natural wetland and the creek bed currently in the area. It will also plan to integrate nature corridors and green spaces throughout the park, reflecting Trent’s reputation as a leader in sustainability.
The Trent Research and Innovation Park will become a hub for businesses and start-ups focused on clean technology (environmentally beneficial), environmental services, advanced material sciences, or biotechnology sectors. Trent University is also interested in medical and health products, agri-food and agri-business, and information and communication technologies.
Research parks support innovation and commercialization by fostering a community of engaged companies, researchers, government, and business incubation and acceleration activities all with a specific focus. Across Canada there are a total of 26 research parks which generate $4.3 billion in GDP for the economy and employ 65,187 people. Of those research parks, 33% of employees have advanced degrees, 75% of the parks have accelerators and 45% of the companies located in a research park have plans to expand.
Trent University and the City of Peterborough will host a community information session about the developments of Trent University’s East Bank on Tuesday, January 12 at 5:00 p.m. in the Gathering Space, Gzowski College.