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$40M award funds Canadian university microsystems research


February 10, 2010
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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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 its innovative work. The announcement was made at the CMC headquarters in Kingston, Ont., by Minister of State Gary Goodyear.

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."

Ian McWalter, 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.
www.cmc.ca