Canadian Manufacturing

GM funding University of Waterloo research chair, launches ‘research outpost’

GM's president Steve Carlisle challenged Canada to carve out a new role in future automotive technology, jobs and innovation



TORONTO—GM Canada has provided $1 million to the University of Waterloo’s Engineering Faculty to fund a Research Chair in advanced materials, while also sponsoring engineering student design projects involving software development, which is key to GM Canada’s work on “the connected car.”

“Waterloo Engineering has a longstanding partnership with GM Canada. Their support of our Educating the Engineer of the Future campaign allows us to collaborate further to advance innovations in automotive lightweighting and connectivity,” Dean of Engineering Dr. Pearl Sullivan said.

In April 2015, GM Canada announced it that has been awarded a new automotive R&D and innovation mandate at its Oshawa Engineering Centre, focused on the fast emerging “connected car” and the development of new urban mobility solutions. The company is hiring 100 new software engineers and engaging a growing ecosystem of select Canadian universities, accelerators and suppliers in its mandate.

“No company, country or government owns this space, but we see that Canada has distinct advantages in mobile technology, engineering skills, applied research and a strong automotive history,” said GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle in remarks to the Canadian Club in Toronto. “As Canada prepares to invest billions in much needed urban transportation infrastructure, we need to understand how new automotive technologies and urban mobility approaches can increase infrastructure ROI, accelerate environmental benefits and anchor new high skilled Canadian jobs at the forefront of a new automotive innovation supply chain.”

Carlisle challenged governments in Canada to act quickly to carve out a purposeful role in a fast changing automotive sector that is increasingly defined by electric vehicles, connected and autonomous driving cars and new approaches to urban mobility.

He also announced that GM Canada will establish an innovation research outpost within Waterloo’s Communitech innovation research hub with initial focus on urban mobility, car sharing and mobile app innovation.

“Communitech has developed a unique innovation ecosystem that allows enterprise companies and startups to collaborate and innovate together,” said Communitech CEO Iain Klugman “General Motors Canada is a great addition to this ecosystem, as our startup and mid-sized companies will benefit from having access to a world class automotive company, while GM Canada will be exposed to new concepts, technologies and ways of thinking about opportunities in the automotive sector.”

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