Premier announces $15.5 million for automotive research

by Faculty of Engineering
March 08, 2007

Ontario automotive manufacturing research shifted into a higher gear today with the announcement of $15.5 million in funding from the Government of Ontario.   

The funding will be used in the establishment of the $46.5 million Initiative for Automotive Manufacturing Innovation led by McMaster University and the University of Waterloo

Premier Dalton McGuinty was at McMaster University to announce the support as part of a series of investments through the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence Program. 

“Prosperity in the 21st century is all about investing in the skills, knowledge and creativity of our people,” said Premier McGuinty.  “Our government is doing its part to attract top researchers, create better jobs and spark new investment.”

IAMI is a newly created research consortium involving the Province of Ontario, the two universities and 35 industrial partners. The total value of the initiative will be $46.5 million over five years through matching funds provided by both the industrial partners and the two universities.

“The focus of the consortium is to investigate and develop new technologies for producing lighter-weight, cost-competitive automobiles,” said Mo Elbestawi, dean, Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University.  “They will be developing new generations of metal alloys, polymers, composites, and coatings, introducing advanced manufacturing processes, and improving product performance.”

A primary emphasis of IAMI will be to commercialize and quickly implement developments through an aggressive technology transfer program.  The expertise of the Xerox Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at McMaster and the Centre of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology at Waterloo will be utilized for this purpose.

Dalton McGuinty
Premier Dalton McGuinty announced $15.5 million in funding for automotive research yesterday.  Photo by Susan Bubak.

“We now have a rare opportunity to make a real impact on an entire industry,” said David Wilkinson, co-director and principal investigator of IAMI, and Director of both the McMaster Centre for Automotive Materials and the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute.  “IAMI represents a new approach to technology development and its rapid deployment in industry.  Rather than addressing research issues in isolation, our research program will be integrated so as to provide holistic solutions.”

More than 200 young researchers are expected to be trained in this collaborative research environment.

“We have some of the finest, most innovative researchers anywhere here in Ontario,” said Wilkinson.  “This funding announcement will provide us with the tools to make the most effective use of these talents for the betterment of the province.”

Industrial partners investing in IAMI range from principal OEM investor General Motors of Canada to major Tier 1 suppliers such as Linamar and Orlick Industries, and materials suppliers such as Dofasco and Novelis.