Innovation Hub

Applied Research, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The Department of Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosts the Innovation Hub to conduct innovative product, process, and service prototyping and testing that enhances industry competitiveness and boosts regional economic development while serving as an experiential learning and resource hub for our students and the broader community.


Vision: To be a centre for innovative solutions through research and development and a regional leader in developing creative entrepreneurs.

Mission: To develop new knowledge, businesses, and technologies through the support of discovery, application, integration, teaching and services.

Past Projects & Case Studies

Earthmoving Bucket Tooth

November 24, 2022
Northern College’s Innovation Hub recently completed the 3D print of a bucket tooth for the local Timmins company Bucket Shop. […]
Read more

Contact to find out how we can help support your project.

Applied Research

Applied Research

Applied Research goes beyond theory to apply the latest knowledge, technologies and innovations toward a specific practical purpose. Applied Research can help Communities and Businesses solve all kinds of problems: everything from uncovering operational inefficiencies to conceptualizing new products and services.

Applied Research provides superior experiential learning opportunities for students, embraces collaborative partnerships with our industry and community stakeholders, and delivers (meaningful) real-world solutions that stimulate social and economic growth in our region and beyond. The Innovation Hub serves as a gateway or “One Stop Shop” for external partners seeking to work with the College on applied research and for internal employees seeking to utilize their research skills.


Project Application

If you are a Student, Faculty or Staff Member interested in being part of a project OR a Community or Business interested in research and development please contact

Types of Applied Research

Action – is a research project that aligns with the course curriculum. Companies have the opportunity to engage an entire class or a class team in solving a particular problem.

Capstone – is a multifaceted assignment, similar to a college thesis, which culminates in a final product, presentation, or performance. It provides an opportunity for students to engage with companies or organizations directly (usually in small student teams) to explore and solve a specific problem.

Independent – is normally characterized as a large project usually requiring external government funding. These projects can provide the maximum flexibility and opportunity for companies to invest in new ideas in a cost-effective way.

Phases required to complete an Applied Research Project

  • Engagement – initiate faculty, student and industry
  • Proposal – internal approvals, agreements and proposal writing
  • Execution – grant approved, project is underway
  • Closure – Reports, media release and commercialization
Research Involving Humans

The Northern College Research Ethics Board (REB) is established to fulfill the ethical responsibilities concerning research involving human participants in accordance with the standards developed by the Tri-Councils (Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)] and contained in the TCPS2. The Tri-Councils only provide funding to researchers and institutions that are compliant with this Policy.

Human Research Ethics Approval Process

The REB is built upon the guiding core ethical principles as discussed by the TCPS2, of respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice. The application of these core principles is intended to maintain the balance between the necessary protection of participants and researchers and the legitimate requirements of research. It is the responsibility of Northern College’s REB to ensure that research involving human subjects is conducted in an ethical manner as stated in the TCPS2.

Research Involving Animals

All proposed use of animals at Northern College falls under the jurisdiction of the Animal Care Committee (ACC). The ACC reports through the Dean of Sciences, to the Vice President of Academic and Student Success, and fulfills the roles and responsibilities laid down by the CCAC. Any proposed applied or other research projects with animal subjects will also fall under the ACC jurisdiction and must be approved by the ACC as well as any other persons required by the CCAC prior to being undertaken.

Animal Research Ethics Approval Process

All research must align with the Animal Care and Use Policy #1. Any individual(s) wishing to conduct research involving animals within the context of, or associated with, Northern College, whether locally or in other jurisdictions or countries are required to oblige. It is the responsibility of Northern College’s ACC to ensure that research involving animal subjects is conducted in an ethical manner as stated by the CCAC.



Entrepreneurship is learning how to work with local industries and partnerships to test, validate and bring new products and/or services to the markets. Students and staff are welcomed to bring forth new innovative ideas to explore options where help can be accessed. We provide resources and qualified personnel to transform your dreams of being your own boss into the real thing.

To foster the spirit of entrepreneurship we rise to the challenge using different pillars. The outcome will hopefully be a successful business and sustainable enterprise. Those considering starting their own business can speak with us to get direction and support. We work with a network of local, regional, provincial and now global partners who together can provide entrepreneurship education, market research, access to capital, and business advice and mentor ship.

Entrepreneurial Support at Northern College

Visit us at our awareness booth, follow us on social media, read our newsletter and most importantly come visit us to explore your entrepreneurial aspirations.  Starting your own business can be a viable option.

Attend one of our workshops, events or experiential activities to obtain tools and knowledge needed to stimulate creativity, ideation, product/service development, business modelling and customer validation.  One-on-one mentoring opportunities are also available.

Work with our mentors to develop your Business Model Canvas (BMC), delve into ideation (product development, prototyping, etc.), explore funding opportunities, receive market validation and seek exposure to various partners willing to assist in propelling your new business.We will prepare you as an entrepreneur to venture into the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem within the community and beyond.  We have a network of local partners that can help support and fund expansion of your new business (ex. commercialization) and assist through further mentorship along your path to success.


Success Stories

The Innovation Hub helps students, alumni, faculty, and other staff at Northern College’s four campuses get a head start in business. We help with idea generation, business model design, and business development, while also connecting our clients with our network of business partners who can help with other steps in the business start-up and growth process.

Here are some of the businesses we’ve helped get started:

Urban Nish

Urban Nish is an Aboriginal owned and operated apparel company co-founded by Rex Knapaysweet and Willy Metat of Fort Albany First Nation. They are committed to ensuring a positive experience for all of their clients and partners by providing a combination of great customer service and top quality products at affordable prices. A portion of their profits are donated to causes that share their core values and vision. Their products are available for purchase online as well as at the Northern College bookstore in Timmins.

Mine Safety Solutions

Mine Safety Solutions is dedicated to creating innovative safety equipment for use in the mining and industrial fields. Its goal is to help mining and industry organizations achieve the highest of safety standards in the workplace, thereby reducing the number and severity of workplace injuries and protecting the well-beings of workers in Canada and beyond. While MSS focuses primarily on the mining industry, its products and services impact other sectors, including construction, manufacturing, mechanical, and many more.

Storring Engineering & Design Services Inc.

Storring Engineering & Design Services Inc. is a licensed, PEO certified engineering company that offers professional engineering services to the manufacturing, forestry, mining, aerospace and medical sectors. It is an innovative engineering firm providing core expertise in mechanical engineering and product development services. Their scope of services include strength/stress analysis, mechanism design, fluid flow modeling, electro-mechanical integration, vibration analysis, drafting, additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, and coordinate measurement machine (CMM) services.

Handy Hydrant

Handy Hydrant is very easy to transport and handle. For instance, if we have rural areas to go to, it comes with a pack so the other fellows can take the pump and hoses… it is very easy to setup and adapts to the uneven grounds. Where there are no hydrants, Firefighters are forced to fill a portable pool; a process that wastes precious time and manpower. Until now! The Handy Hydrant is easy to use, third party tested and effective! And what started out as a tool for firefighters has evolved into a watering system that is used in agriculture, industry and commercial settings.

Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

The Innovation Hub applies and is eligible for funding through local industries, businesses, provincial and federal government agencies.

Northern College has met the eligibility requirements of the following agencies:

To learn more about how we are able to assist with obtaining funding opportunities for either Applied Research or working together to validate your business idea the following is examples of funding available:


Eligible applicants are available in two levels.

  • Level 1
    • Up to $5,000 to be used within 3 months.
    • Grant can be used for domestic travel costs to develop new industry partnerships.
  • Level 2
    • Up to $25,000 to be used within 12 months.
    • Level 2 grant can be used for activities aimed at creating new industry partnerships and student-industry training opportunities.

These grants are intended to foster the development of new research partnerships by supporting short-term research and development projects aimed at addressing a company-specific problem.
Engage Grants support well-defined research projects undertaken by eligible university and college researchers and their industrial partners. Engage grants can be combined with a VIP 1 grant. The Engage grant details:

  • A maximum grant of $25,000
  • Up to 6 months
  • Industry partner must participate throughout every step of process
  • Industry partner must contribute in-kind services
  • Limited to 2 engage Grants per year

Applied Research and Development Grants is a collaboration between Canadian colleges and a business/industry partner. The object of this grant is provide companies access to knowledge and expertise available at a company and to provide hands-on training of technical skill to college students.

  • Grants up to $75,000 per year eligible industry partners must:
    • actively participate
    • Minimum 2 years in operation
    • Minimum 2 full-time employees
  • Contribute half the amount of grant of which:
    • 25% must be in cash
    • 25% in-kind services
  • Grants between $75,000 and $150,000 per year eligible industry partners must:
    • Actively participate
    • Contribute amount equal to amount of grant, of which:
      • 40% must be in cash
      • 60% in-kind services

The VIP program helps eligible Ontario companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships between Ontario’s industry and publicly funded post-secondary institutions. VIP projects are intended to generate economic benefit for companies in Ontario (including job creation/retention, new revenue generation, investment attraction, cost savings, value chain development), in the short-to-medium term (e.g. within three years of project completion).

  • VIP
    • OCE Funding: Between $20,000 and $150,000 to the post-secondary institution
    • Research Partner: Principal investigator or applied research officer
    • Industry Partner: For-profit, incorporate in Ontario for minimum two years
    • Project: Utilizes unique skills/resources of post-secondary institution to meet industry innovation and commercialization needs
    • Project duration: Six months to 24 months
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