Collage of researchers
Supporting Ontario’s Communities through Research
Date
July 17, 2020

Now, more than ever, towns and cities across Ontario need innovative solutions to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and begin to rebuild.

The research conducted at Ontario’s universities has a pivotal role to play in helping these communities recover, strengthening their resilience and fuelling regional economic development.

Researcher partnerships with small businesses and municipalities have led to the kinds of discoveries that have transformed local industry, improved quality of life for families and workers and addressed urgent local health-care needs – particularly for a community’s most vulnerable populations.

As research takes a leading role in Ontario’s future prosperity, new technologies and services will be developed and new partnerships will continue to emerge. Local discoveries and the intellectual property and commercialization they generate will attract future investment to all of Ontario’s regions and all sectors of our economy.

We’ve seen these collaborations help local industry adapt, as they’ve pivoted their operations and production to support frontline workers. Research and manufacturing partnerships, for example, have resulted in made-in-Ontario solutions to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other much-needed resources for essential workers.

Similarly, researchers and distilleries are working together to develop hand sanitizers that are distributed to local hospitals, fire departments, police departments and more.

Researchers are also helping local businesses and restaurants mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19, while providing tips on how these companies can best support their employees through these uncertain times.

In addition, as families and workplaces have had to adapt to new routines and experience new stresses over the last few months, university researchers have provided coping strategies to help mitigate the social and mental health impacts of COVID-19, and help inform municipal decision-making and public policy.

The global impact of Ontario university research has and will continue to be felt, including isolating the virus, developing testing kits and working on a vaccine. Collaborations taking place within our communities will also grow in their importance as Ontario’s regions begin their social and economic recovery.

Strong regional innovation ecosystems, that foster collaboration across sectors, will continue to drive local industry, boost economies and provide small businesses with access to cutting edge infrastructure to test and scale operations – ultimately helping Ontario’s communities thrive.

By working together, we can drive regional economic development throughout Ontario’s recovery and beyond.

David Lindsay
President & CEO
Council of Ontario Universities

Read more examples about how Ontario’s university researchers are partnering to strengthen community resilience.