TORONTO, ONTARIO, May 22, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Canadian companies specializing in everything from natural resources to information technology are turning to researchers at local colleges to grow their businesses and create high-quality jobs, because R&D and innovation happen at all levels-from the academic labs all the way to the shop floor.

Funding from the Government of Canada is helping colleges across the country support business innovation at more than 300 companies. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, today announced a $15.3 million investment through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in support of 17 applied research projects at colleges, cegeps and polytechnics.

“Canada’s colleges, cegeps and polytechnics play an important role as we forge ahead with Canada’s innovation agenda,” said Minister of State Goodyear. “Innovation needs to be a central focus-from the research laboratory to the production floor. It is the key to maintaining our country’s position as a global economic leader.”

Minister of State Goodyear announced the recipients of the CFI’s new College-Industry Innovation Fund at George Brown College, where he celebrated a project in green building technologies worth close to $1 million. The project will allow the college to provide students and small and medium-sized enterprises with increased opportunities to pursue applied research projects, boosting regional economic development and graduate job-readiness.

“Canadian colleges are lending their expertise to local companies, helping them to compete and grow,” said Dr. Gilles G. Patry, President and CEO of the CFI. “The CFI is ensuring that colleges have in place specialized facilities to support their role as important hubs of economic growth and job creation.”

“These investments provide colleges with access to the people, resources and tools they need to be at the forefront of innovation,” said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. “The ultimate goal is to create sustainable partnerships that will help sharpen our innovative edge and have a positive impact on the bottom line of our country and industry.”

The CFI’s College-Industry Innovation Fund recognizes the role that applied research plays in supporting Canadian business. The CFI supports the spectrum of research activities, from fundamental discovery-driven research to applied research, along with private-sector innovation.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI is helping to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers, to support private-sector innovation and to create high-quality jobs that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information, visit innovation.ca.