• Category: SmartCity

SmartCity Business Show – Episode 11 in Review

With over 30,000 students in Halifax, it’s hard not to notice the strong post secondary presence. Halifax is home to six universities, which is not only a selling feature for local students, but international students too. In this episode, Dr. Colin Dodds, President of Saint Mary’s University, talks about how this is a real advantage for Halifax.

Craig Layton asked the question, what keeps students here? And I think Dr. Dodds said it best, “There is everything here that you could possibly want.” The academic programs, faculties and support staff along with our mixture of urban and rural lifestyles are just a few things that not only attract students to Halifax, but keep them here as well.

Episode 11 in Review - Picture

Being a student myself, I know firsthand that Halifax has everything to offer. The Public Relations program at Mount Saint Vincent University is what really sold me. I’m currently on my third work term and I’ve already made many connections with businesses and experienced professionals all over the city. It’s the close connections and opportunities like this that make Halifax home-sweet-home to me.

Look for the next episode of SmartCity Business Show as Craig takes it to the streets to hear what Haligonians have to say!

  

Brianna Colford, Marketing & Communications Co-op Student

Brianna is with the Partnership on a four month work-term. She is in her final semester of Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University and spent the past 14 months working with Emera Inc. as a Communications Assistant. Born and raised in Halifax, Brianna enjoys the downtown atmosphere of the city she loves to call home.

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  • Category: SmartCity

Post-Secondary Education: Cornerstone of Our Knowledge Economy

Universities and colleges are economic drivers of communities where they are located.  This is well understood in the United States with its Ivy League schools, private universities, research institutes, and business incubators but less understood in Canada.  Colleagues of mine in the United States with a major university nearby consider themselves lucky because with a bit of work these institutions become growth engines. 

In Canada for example, some observers think of universities as cost centres, forgetting that the public contribution to universities has been falling for decades in real terms and that more and more, they are funding themselves through tuition and externally financed research.   Local governments may at times think of them as a nuisance because of the occasional exuberance of youth or parking or traffic issues, forgetting the residential and commercial tax base that post-secondary institutions shore up.

 
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Drivers of Prosperity & Innovation

Fact is, these institutions grow economies in unique ways.  A 2011 economic impact analysis focused on Dalhousie University points this out in specific ways.   These institutions are big employers, in Dalhousie’s case 5,400 jobs on-campus support another 10,000 jobs off campus. Dal pays close to $300 million in direct wages driving big volumes of personal spending and investment in Halifax.  Add to this, capital spending, much of which flows to local companies and the impact is huge.

Students also spend money, in Dalhousie’s case; $88 million is spent every year by 17,000 students.  Universities also provide services to the community…in the case of Dalhousie…a whole range of medical services drawn from health practitioners in training. Dal’s dentistry school serves, 12,000 people. Medical residents and student nurses keep our hospitals running.

Universities in particular also draw vital research dollars into the community.  Dal alone drew in $132 million in research last year.  This has huge potential benefits for spin-off activity and new business start-up. Big Nova Scotia head-officed companies like Ocean Nutrition Canada and ImmunoVaccine Technologies had their start in university partnerships. 


Talent Magnets

Students on Hill Perhaps the most important role universities and the community college plays in Halifax is their role as talent magnets.  About 35,000 post-secondary students are currently in classrooms, labs, coop terms, and apprentice postings in Halifax. 

These emerging professionals represent a vital competitive advantage for business in Halifax.  Because of these institutions, Halifax business have access to one of the best and deepest labour pools in the country.

As the impact of demographic change washes over our economy this resource will become even more important.  However, this advantage doesn’t belong to us by right. As the competition for skilled people heats up companies from across the country and around the world will be trying to capture this talent. 

So post-secondary education is clearly a cornerstone of the Halifax economy, the driver of knowledge based industry and our biggest and best competitive advantage.  These places of higher learning have never been more important to us and their value is on the rise. What we do with it is up to us.


Universities Economic Impact: Fast Facts

Atlantic Canadian universities’ direct contribution to GDP was $2.6 billion in 2008 (a 31% increase since 2004). In Nova Scotia alone, our 11 universities (six of which are in Halifax) contribute:

  • $1.2 billion to GDP
  • Employ 8,079 people (over 6,000 jobs in Halifax)
  • Generate $220 million in tax revenues
  • Responsible for 50% of provincial R&D
  • Generate over $860 million in personal income
  • Attract more than $150 million in annual funding 

* Figures from The Association of Atlantic Universities, The Economic Impact of Universities in Atlantic Provinces: The Current View 2006 - 08,  May 2010

Halifax is Canada’s smart city.  We have one of the largest concentrations of universities and colleges in North America and one of the best educated workforces in all of Canada.  This series explores and celebrates the numerous post-secondary assets in Halifax; the sector’s impact on our economy and community; research and commercialization; and partnerships between post-secondary and business.

 

Fred Fred Morley is the Execuive Vice President and Chief Economist at the Greater Halifax Partnership.

 

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  • Category: SmartCity

A+ for innovation and industry partnerships

At Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), we take the “community” in our name to heart. We serve the province through a network of 13 community-based campuses and offer about 120 programs in five academic schools – including nearly 4,200 students at three HRM campuses. These programs reflect the labour market needs and opportunities of the provincial economy and set graduates on a course for career success.

As an organization, we believe that life-long learning is the key to sustainable prosperity. Likewise, the College must continue to evolve the programs and services we provide. Collaboration is essential. NSCC works closely with industry partners and experts to help us develop and deliver educational opportunities that align with the advanced skills they need to compete.

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Innovation  is critical to placing Nova Scotia at the leading edge of the global economy. It increases productivity, supports emerging sectors and responds to our changing environment. NSCC’s applied learning model has students collaborating with businesses and communities every day to find solutions to real-world challenges. NSCC research scientists are mapping coastal flood zones, designing tools to help businesses become more efficient, creating devices that improve mobility and quality of life for individuals – all while fostering the thrill of discovery in the students working at their sides.

At NSCC, we’re also evolving the way we deliver our programs to meet more learners where they are in their lives and in their careers. That means designing flexible programs that blend online and applied learning; it means delivering customized training to industries and communities when and where it’s needed. 

We also know that learning does not begin and end with a credential. It happens over a lifetime and in many different ways. We work with students to transfer what they’ve learned through work experiences, volunteer activities and on-the-job training to the NSCC program they’ve entered – giving credit where credit is due. Our students also participate in service-learning, which integrates active, meaningful community service with instruction and reflection. Service-learning is often featured in the portfolios that every NSCC graduate must build as part of their studies. Employers will see more than a skill-set in an NSCC graduate – they’ll see someone with a demonstrated record of team work, initiative and adaptability.

More and more in the 21st century we need educated citizens who have the skills, knowledge and imagination to ignite the possibilities before them – making this happen is not the responsibility of one, but rather a community.

 

Halifax is Canada’s smart city.  We have one of the largest concentrations of universities and colleges in North America and one of the best educated workforces in all of Canada.  This series explores and celebrates the numerous post-secondary assets in Halifax; the sector’s impact on our economy and community; research and commercialization; and partnerships between post-secondary and business.

 

Don Bureaux Picture Don Bureaux is the President of Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). He is an experienced leader dedicated to the education of adult learners throughout Nova Scotia.

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  • Category: SmartCity

Bringing Research to Life

Transforming great ideas and innovations into commercially viable products can be challenging without the right supports, connections and partnerships.    

Bringing Research to Life Recognizing this issue, Atlantic Canadian universities partnered six years ago to create Springboard Atlantic, a strategic network that maximizes the commercial potential of the research coming out of the region’s universities, and also links higher education expertise and facilities with the region’s industries.

Today the successes are evident and Springboard has expanded and evolved to include 19 university and college partners with an increased emphasis on industry collaborations that will bring innovations to the marketplace. Springboard participants include about 50 professionals who have a mix of industrial and research expertise - typically staff or heads of university or college technology /industry liaison offices.

Two local success stories – one from Dalhousie University and the other from St. Mary’s University – demonstrate the Springboard effect.

 

Just-in-time-Support

MARC Dalhousie University’s Measurement of Accuracy when Resin Curing system (MARC) is a good example of Springboard Atlantic’s commercialization mission in action.  

Developed by Dr. Richard Price, a practicing dentist and professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie, and his assistant, Christopher Felix, MARC provides a solution to a problem that has troubled dentists for decades – getting just the right amount of energy from a bright blue UV light to cure and harden filling resin. MARC solves the problem by using custom-designed software to measure the light output, factor in variables like tooth location and the resin type, and calculate the precise output.

Dr. Price knew that MARC could be a very valuable instrument but he didn’t know all the steps to get it into the hands of dental professionals.  He approached Dalhousie University’s Office of Industry Liaison and Innovation, and Director Kevin Dunn was able to mobilize funding quickly from Springboard just in time to produce high-quality prototypes to take to a major U.S. dental conference.  Springboard also supported the formation of a new venture, Blue Light Analytics, to develop and market MARC.

 

Expecting the Unexpected

Bringing Research to Life Retired St. Mary’s University economics professor Andy Harvey, spent over 30 years studying the movements of people in cities.  The Halifax Space-Time Activity Research (STAR) project began in 2005 with Dr. Harvey as the Principle Investigator. It collected data from more than 2,000 households across HRM using GPS technology to learn more about neighborhoods, including the nature, timing and location of the activities of residents.

With ACOA funding received through its Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) program, the STAR project team developed a complex suite of geographic information systems (GIS) software that had serious commercial potential.  That’s where Nova Scotia-based IT solutions company Britech Information Systems came in.

Britech recognized the potential of STAR right away. With assistance from Springboard Atlantic and St. Mary’s Industry Liaison Office, Britech is packaging STAR as a traffic-flow management system for the trucking and transportation business and is considering other commercial applications. The suite of products is being sold under the brand name Nomad.

The partnership between Saint Mary’s and Britech exemplifies a level of collaboration that benefits both organizations.

 
Springboard’s Strengths and Success Factors

  • identifying new ideas and concepts that have real potential as products or services
  • making  direct connection between industry and higher education research and facilities
  • being at the front end of the innovative process
  • working with a number of innovation partners, including the federal research funding councils (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC), the National Research Council, and Innovacorp
  • marketing and licensing technologies to industry and entrepreneurs
  • supporting the creation of new companies based on platform technologies

 

Halifax is Canada’s smart city.  We have one of the largest concentrations of universities and colleges in North America and one of the best educated workforces in all of Canada.  This series explores and celebrates the numerous post-secondary assets in Halifax; the sector’s impact on our economy and community; research and commercialization; and partnerships between post-secondary and business.

This post was contributed by Springboard’s Central Office Team in Halifax, located in the InnovaCorp Enterprise Centre, at a new building on the Dalhousie Campus.. For information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Category: SmartCity

Post-secondary impacts smarts, health and happiness

We know Halifax is smart – we have the numbers to prove it. But what do those numbers mean to our communities? The impact of post-secondary education on local and regional economic development can easily be linked to a number of things: the impact of direct spending, increased individual earnings and a better skilled work force. Simply put, we’re all benefiting from post-secondary education. To measure the social and cultural benefits however, is not quite as simple.

 Being home to over 30,000 students, you may not always see the positive relationship between the university system and Halifax. A study by The Association of Atlantic Universities shows that people with post-secondary degrees have a higher life expectancy, an improved quality of life and increased social status. When you compare the student population of Halifax with these positive spin-offs, we really should thank our post-secondary institutions for not only making us a smart city, but a happy, healthy city too.

The benefits of post-secondary institutions have a domino effect that stretches out to our communities and beyond.  For instance, Dalhousie University has more than 200 charitable community service initiatives. The Dalhousie Dentistry Clinic provides dental care for seniors, students, families, refugees and many others who can’t afford these services. DAL also brings in nearly $80 million in health studies research funding each year.

Not only are our post-secondary institutions helping to improve the health of our communities, they are also providing support and resources to local businesses and organizations. Mount Saint Vincent University’s Centre for Women in Business provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to get going. Not only that, the Centre also showcases outstanding women entrepreneurs at their annual awards ceremony.

These positive spin-offs are felt by all ages throughout our communities. The presence of our post-secondary institutions promotes education at a young age and gets students thinking about their future. Saint Mary’s University strongly believes in the researchers and innovators of tomorrow and hosted the 2009 Team Nova Scotia Showcase for the winners of the year’s regional high school science fairs.

These contributions are only a mere fraction of the amount of community support that is provided by the Nova Scotia university system. Being a volunteer myself, I take pride in my efforts to get involved and lend a hand where needed. And I’m not the only one; more than 17,000 members of the region’s university community were involved in charitable undertakings in 2009.

For a working student, there are always opportunity costs to committing a Saturday to volunteering, but whether it is standing on the side of the road collecting change for Shinerama or the simplicity of generating a smile, the outcomes certainly outweigh the costs.

Dalhousie has between 5,001-10,000 volunteers alone. So maybe the next time you hear a ‘celebration,’ think that maybe these students are celebrating a victory, or the success of an event. For Atlantic Canada, education surrounds us; it is instilled in us at young age and is supported and promoted throughout our adult lives. These social and cultural benefits are what bring universities and communities together.

 

Halifax is Canada’s smart city.  We have one of the largest concentrations of universities and colleges in North America and one of the best educated workforces in all of Canada.  This series explores and celebrates the numerous post-secondary assets in Halifax; the sector’s impact on our economy and community; research and commercialization; and partnerships between post-secondary and business.

This post was written by Brianna Colford,  the Partnership's Marketing & Communications Co-op Student. She is in her final semester of Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University and spent the past 14 months working with Emera Inc. as a Communications Assistant. Born and raised in Halifax, Brianna enjoys the downtown atmosphere of the city she loves to call home.

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  • Category: SmartCity

SmartCity Business Show – Episode 12 in Review

Making connections is all about shaking hands - least that’s what I always say. Everywhere you go in Halifax, you see people achieving, innovating and growing their networks. Whether it is the Halifax Farmer’s Market, or the new Central Library, it takes the work of a community to achieve these milestones.

Craig asked Mount Professor, Leslie Brown, what is social capital? Leslie described it as an emphasis of relationships and networks.  I couldn’t help but relate this to my co-op experience. I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if it wasn’t for the MSVU’s Co-operative Education staff connecting me with the Partnership.

If you want to see where social capital is working for Halifax, look around!  It’s connecting our students to businesses, our businesses to investors, our investors to infrastructure. Derek Estabrook from Farmers Dairy reiterated BALLE Nova Scotia’s belief that local businesses, economies and communities will be more sustainable if we support each other - I couldn’t agree more.

 

Brianna Colford, Marketing & Communications Co-op Student

Brianna is with the Partnership on a four month work-term. She is in her final semester of Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University and spent the past 14 months working with Emera Inc. as a Communications Assistant. Born and raised in Halifax, Brianna enjoys the downtown atmosphere of the city she loves to call home.

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