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Monday, December 13, 2004

  • Accelerator centre breaks ground
  • Brochure surveys health research
  • Making bits of Canadian culture
Chris Redmond

Santa Lucia

[Blue on blue]

Architect's drawing of the planned Accelerator Centre building.

Accelerator centre breaks ground -- from the UW media relations office

The official groundbreaking of the community-based Accelerator Centre was celebrated Friday at an event hosted by the anchor tenant of the north campus research and technology park, Sybase Inc.

Special announcements included the second major tenant for the multi-tenant space within the Accelerator Centre building -- a branch of law firm Miller Thompson LLP -- and an introduction to the Accelerator Centre's board of directors.

As the first tenant of the Multi-Tenant Facility, the Accelerator Centre is a key feature of the Research Park and will encourage the growth of high-tech firms, acting as a catalyst for the creation of new products and services.

"The Accelerator Centre will be a bricks and mortar home for ideas and innovation. We are delighted to be able to offer key services to the best and brightest minds in the region, helping them bring new ideas to market," said UW president David Johnston. It will provide a fertile environment, he said, to commercialize the innovative work done in universities and colleges, hospitals and laboratories, and in private sector research facilities.

It is intended that the Accelerator Centre, approximately 22,700 square feet, will provide a broad range of services, at below-market rental rates, including IP management consultation, mentoring, access to professional service providers, community networking events and investor matchmaking with innovators. Common services, including office and meeting space, administrative services etc. will be available to clients, who will be encouraged to commercialize their ideas and ultimately lease space in other areas of the Research Park.

Developing the Multi-Tenant Facility, where the Accelerator Centre will be housed, is to be done by an experienced property management firm, the Cora Group. "The Cora Group's excitement at having been being selected as the developer of choice for the Accelerator Centre is surpassed only by the pleasure of getting this project off the ground," said Adrian Conrad, vice-president of Cora. "This groundbreaking ceremony signifies commencement of construction of an exceptional facility that will, in all likelihood, be the birthplace of many future Titans of Technology in Waterloo Region."

Computing Help and Information Place reduced hours today through December 23: closing at 4:30 daily.

Debian Interest Group 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Pension and benefits committee Tuesday 8:30 to noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Engineering alumni pub night in Vaughan, Tuesday 6 p.m., Sam & Pete's, 70 Interchange Way.

Mature students end-of-term lunch Wednesday, December 15, 12 noon, South Campus Hall, information ext. 2429.

Relationships seminar: "Seven Things That I Have Learned", by psychologist John Theis, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Wednesday 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 301.

Modern Languages carol sing led by Jake Willms, Wednesday 12:15, all welcome.

Winter term fees due December 17 by cheque or December 30 by bank payment, details online.

Waterloo Siskins hockey (Teddy Bear Toss charity game), outing by UW Recreation Committee, Friday 7:30, Waterloo Recreation Centre, information online.

The establishment of the Accelerator Centre as the anchor tenant has led to the announcement of Miller Thomson LLP as the second occupant of the multi-tenant space. "Miller Thomson LLP has been a part of this community for almost 150 years and, as the complexion of the local market has changed, Miller Thomson has changed to meet the evolving needs of our clients," said Jud Whiteside, chairman of the firm, which currently has its Waterloo Region offices in downtown Kitchener. "With that perspective, we see our relocation to the Accelerator Centre as much more than a transition to new office space. It really reflects the direction we are moving as a firm and the great potential we see in the future."

Whiteside added: "Miller Thomson LLP, as a national firm, is strongly committed to Waterloo Region and very supportive of the growing high-tech sector in this region. We enjoy meeting the unique challenges our emerging business clients present and have developed tailored legal services focused on intellectual property protection, patent and trade-mark advice, venture financing, tax strategies, business structuring and mergers and acquisitions."

With more than 350 lawyers from Toronto to Whitehorse, the firm offers a complete range of business law, advocacy and personal legal services to corporations, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, governments, not-for-profit organizations and individuals.

The operation of the Accelerator Centre is the responsibility of a not-for-profit corporation with a board of directors made up of federal and provincial government, associations, institutional and private sector organizations. Partners in the research park include UW, the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, Waterloo Region, the City of Waterloo, Communitech, and Canada's Technology Triangle.

Brochure surveys health research

Tobacco control, medical imaging, cell aging, heart rehabilitation -- UW offers "the full spectrum of research" in health-related areas, says the latest brochure produced by the university's research office.

[Health Promotion & Disease Prevention] Like previous brochures on research in automotive areas, research in the fine arts, and humanities and social sciences research, this six-page glossy offering (left) is designed to give a quick overview of research in "health promotion and disease prevention" for the public and potential sponsors. "Improving the health and wellness of Canadians," it says, "forms the basis for prominent programs of research and innovation at the University of Waterloo."

It lists dozens of researchers by name, with a quick label on the expertise of individuals in health studies and gerontology, electrical and computer engineering, biology, psychology, optometry, kinesiology, statistics and actuarial science, geography, chemistry, applied mathematics, systems design engineering, political science, mechanical engineering, history, recreation and leisure studies -- even English, where faculty member Catherine Schryer has been working on "communication in educating health-care workers".

There are brief descriptions of several projects, and there are comments from some key people, including Roy Cameron, director of the Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, and Dominic Covvey, who heads the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics.

Says the brochure: "Within the framework of Canada's new vision for health research, the University of Waterloo has an innovative prescription for wellness and disease prevention. Innovations draw on strengths in health and wellness activities, information technology and basic science.

"Our researchers have achieved excellence in evaluating health status and the statistical analysis of data, illness and injury prevention, and the systematic and molecular basis of disease states, drug design and discovery. Add to that cognitive neuroscience, sight enhancement studies at the renowned School of Optometry and improving the quality of life through strong basic and applied programs.

"Spanning the spectrum from cell to society, there's expertise in developing population-based interventions to improve behaviour and sustain physical and social environments necessary for a healthy society. Research emphasizes the entire lifespan, with a special focus on the aging population. There's a multi-disciplinary approach to new knowledge in health and its application in clinical and community settings."

Pictures give another look at UW health research: a student working with someone in a wheelchair, an eye examination in progress, and a demonstration with model skulls and bones in a kinesiology lab.

Making bits of Canadian culture -- from a 'spotlight' on the UW research office web site

Phil Graham conducts social scientific, humanities and technical research aimed at effectively digitizing Canadian cultural material. He also promotes widespread participation in cultural production by repurposing materials that have been inactive or inaccessible.

He moved from the University of Queensland, Australia, to become holder of the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Communication and Technology. His research is aimed at offering Canadians and Canada's cultural production industries easy, affordable and legal access to a digital treasure trove of national and international cultural material. He is also building a base of highly skilled workers for multimedia content production.

[Graham with a handful of data] The research program centres on developing innovative, effective ways of bringing together different groups of people and technologies involved in the design and production of multimedia content. This complex process involves people with field-specific skills and a range of specialized technologies for producing cultural materials such as music, text and still and moving images.

Graham (right) heads the newly created Canadian Centre for Cultural Innovation, which provides a focal point for researchers involved in understanding cultural management, communication, multimedia literacies, e-commerce and intellectual property issues that have changed or emerged because of new media environments.

They are building an online database of cultural materials to engage Canadian artists, promote economic development and provide a robust research infrastructure to meet the needs of multimedia producers and consumers alike. The public will be able to access these materials through the database, called the CCCI Digital Depot, beginning in 2005.

The first major digitization project being undertaken is the Hockey Hall of Fame's archive of multimedia materials dating back to the mid-19th century.

Recognized as an international leader in the research and analysis of the knowledge economy, policy discourse and political economy of communication, Graham is also a long-term professional in the creative industries. His program is enriching the literature on such topics while bringing a distinctly Canadian perspective to issues crucial to the future of the new economy.


Communications and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
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(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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