Companies and organizations working to design and manufacture new sports and wellness products in Alberta will receive greater support as a result of federal funding announced today by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
This investment of $512,170 will enable SAIT Polytechnic to expand the applied research services offered through its Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute. Additional federal funding of $200,000 is also being provided through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Our Government is committed to supporting Alberta’s growing strengths in developing innovative new products and technologies for markets across Canada and around the globe," said Minister Yelich. "
By enabling businesses in the sports, recreation and wellness industries to improve their competitiveness and access the expertise needed to successfully bring their ideas to market, this initiative will support economic growth and jobs in Western Canada."
The Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute was established by SAIT Polytechnic to work with companies and not-for-profit organizations to develop new materials and designs for sports and wellness products. Federal funding will help to further augment the Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute’s capacity to offer specific expertise and access to specialized equipment, particularly in areas related to business development, prototype design and fabrication, and mechanical design engineering.
SAIT Polytechnic has a long history of meeting the needs of industry and supporting the sports community. The creation of the Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute will allow more opportunities to collaborate with partners in this growing industry," said Dr. Alex Zahavich, SAIT’s Director of Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS). "
Highly skilled graduates from SAIT will be able to design and develop uniquely Canadian equipment to give our Canadian athletes and industry a competitive advantage."
Products and technologies developed through this initiative will have a wide range of applications. As part of Canada’s Own the Podium – Top Secret Program, for example, the Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute is currently helping to design leading-edge skeleton bobsleds that improve the performance of Canadian athletes competing in Olympic, Paralympic and international events. These sleds are expected to be used by the Canadian National Skeleton team during the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
In addition, the Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute is also assisting with enhancements to adaptive and wellness equipment such as multi-functional wheelchairs. This type of equipment has significant potential in helping to enable individuals with reduced mobility to participate in recreational activities.
The Institute’s services and equipment will be located in the industry partnership space within SAIT Polytechnic’s new Trades and Technology Complex, which is scheduled to open in September 2012.
Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.
For additional information, contact:
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification
Anika Van Wyk
WD Toll-Free Number:1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
WD Website: www.wd-deo.gc.ca.
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