The following article is an update on Peterborough’s Cleantech Commons Research Park.
Cleantech Commons, Canada’s premier location for clean technology research and innovation, hasn’t let a global pandemic slow its development down.
As Martin Yuill, Executive Director of Cleantech Commons explained in a recent interview with PKED, it’s still full steam ahead for the 85-acre research and innovation park in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
“We are continuing to fashion a unique clean technology hub that is both responsive to the needs of the cleantech sector and creates a connected innovation community,” Yuill says.
“Cleantech Commons is not only being thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of Canada’s emerging cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs, but is also fully integrated with the Trent University campus to encourage social interaction and collaboration, leading in sustainable design, and well connected to the city and region in which we are located.”
This will all help to achieve the research park’s long-term goal, which Yuill describes as “generating, attracting, and retaining leading science and clean technology companies and talent.”
“These are the folks who are innovating, creating, commercializing, and operating in one of the most vibrant, sustainable, forward-looking, and fastest-growing sectors of the economy,” he says.
The good news that I am thrilled to share is that despite everything that COVID threw at us over the last 10 months, we have managed to remain largely ‘on track’ at the construction site.Martin Yuill, Executive Director, Cleantech Commons
While servicing activities at Cleantech Commons during COVID-19 have faced the challenges of enhanced health and safety protocols on what is a significant building site, as well as disruptions to the supply chain, procurement issues, and even some unavoidable approval delays, the provision of municipal services to the park continued throughout 2020.
“Overall, we have taken significant strides forward,” Yuill says. “In the first part of 2021, we hope to announce some exciting new partnerships and conclude a number of key negotiations that will allow us to make an announcement about the first multi-tenant commercial building at Cleantech Commons.”
Part of this early development will include the Trent Enterprise Centre: a startup and spin-out support facility and accelerator centre for up-and-coming new cleantech ventures.
The Enterprise Centre will create experiential learning and future employment opportunities for students, will generate science-based jobs for our community and will provide value-adding services to students, faculty, research, and industry tenants.
Located at what Yuill calls “the very heart of Cleantech Commons”, the Enterprise Centre will enable the research park to become a much more integrated and vibrant community of cleantech innovation – one that brings together industry with academia, students, and the research community to create clean, green, and low-carbon solutions to the most pressing and complex energy, environment, and climate challenges.
“These are the technologies that will help move us closer to a net-zero future and will generate sustainable high-value cleantech jobs for Peterborough & the Kawarthas,” Yuill said.
The Enterprise Centre will also provide value-added support services and co-working spaces for aspiring student entrepreneurs, as well as commercialization training for researchers.
Yuill says that together, the value-added services and programming will give students the opportunity to end their time at Trent University with more than just a degree, but also with the skills required to be a cleantech entrepreneur, with marketable skills that will give them the edge in a competitive job market, and potentially even with a startup of their own.
“All in all,” Yuill says, “2021 is set to be an exciting year for Cleantech Commons.”
Martin Yuill is Executive Director of Cleantech Commons at Trent University.