SIRT Centre Set To Become Ontario's First Digital Media Technology Access Centre

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, announced the funding decisions this morning for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) College-Community Innovation program. Sheridan College is the recipient of a $1.75 million award to create a Technology Access Centre (TAC) in Ontario focused on helping small-to-medium-sized (SME) digital media companies with applied research, testing, consulting, and training services that boost innovation.

The new TAC will build on Sheridan’s existing Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) located at Pinewood Toronto Studios. Since its inception in 2009, SIRT has been funded to conduct applied research through NSERC, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. Funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation has also allowed SIRT to focus on professional development and the building of production capacity through a pilot training program in collaboration with industry associations and guilds including the International Cinematographers Guild (I.A.T.S.E. 667), FilmOntario, ACTRA –Toronto, and Directors Guild of Canada- Ontario. SIRT has also been significantly supported through matching contributions from private sector companies.

The new NSERC funding will transition SIRT into a TAC, expanding it to include more robust and specialized services sought particularly by SMEs within the film, television, and interactive digital media sectors. Services will include testing, benchmarking, consulting, seminars and workshops, and referrals. The funds are dedicated for operational expenses for five years with the possibility of renewal. A recognized leader in applied digital arts education, Sheridan is one of three institutions across Canada awarded TAC funding this year.

“Sheridan is grateful to NSERC for their continued support of our applied research and innovation work, particularly in the realm of digital media,” said Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, Sheridan College President and CEO. “We are absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to transition our successful SIRT Centre into a dynamic Technology Access Centre that more directly meets the needs of the screen-based SME community while continuing to build on our existing partnerships.”

The Minister also awarded Sheridan, in partnership with York University, approximately $430,000 over three years as part of the College-University Idea to Innovation Fund. These funds will support joint research into 3D high frame rate movie making.

“I am very pleased that Sheridan College, one of Canada’s outstanding technological institutions, is once again partnering with the federal government for the benefit of students and our economy,” said Terence Young, Member of Parliament for Oakville. “I am also pleased with the continuing support from my government for Sheridan students.”

This announcement follows a significant recent award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which will provide $800,000 in infrastructure, with a further $400,000 contribution from industry partners. This critical equipment will put SIRT and the new TAC at the leading edge of applied research and innovation for Ontario’s vital digital media sector.

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