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New lab at UNB will support growth in aerospace ecosystem

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jan 18, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton

The University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) applied research leadership provides innovative insight and solutions to organizations around the province and throughout the region. Now, a new research lab will further help the region’s aerospace ecosystem reach new heights.

Aerospace is one of the most research-intensive and export-focused manufacturing industries, employing thousands of highly qualified people in every region across the country. By strategically investing in the aerospace sector, the federal government is supporting an innovative industry and a key driver of Canada’s economy.

New lab will help small and medium-sized businesses in the aerospace industry

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, minister of official languages and minister responsible for ACOA, announced an investment of $823,125 toward the Spatial Computing Education, Training & Research Laboratory (SPECTRAL) at UNB. The announcement took place at Fredericton-based Kognitiv Spark, a global leader in spatial computing technology. Kognitiv Spark is investing $150,000 in the project as well as a $410,000 in-kind contribution.

“Spatial computing is an exciting area full of rich, emerging potential for the aerospace ecosystem and beyond,” said Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of UNB. “We are grateful for ACOA’s support of our vision of collaboratively advancing research and innovation in this domain and training tomorrow’s experts through student learning opportunities.”

UNB’s SPECTRAL builds on years of expertise and partnership in human-computer interaction, as well as a desire to grow the aerospace ecosystem. It will support SMEs and other aerospace industry clients by providing access to world-class research and development and supporting a digitized aerospace supply chain as well as new educational and training programs in the spatial computing field. The project will create a pipeline of highly qualified personnel with training in industry-relevant spatial computing and help local companies maximize opportunities in the global aerospace supply chain.

Since 2016, SPECTRAL industry partner Kognitiv Spark Inc. has worked closely with global partners to guide mixed reality solution development, with an emphasis on user-centered development.

“Today’s announcement is truly exciting and will have a positive impact across not just the Atlantic region, but Canada and the wider aerospace industry,” said Duncan McSporran, COO and VP of defence and public sector at Kognitiv Spark. “This is the next step in a collaboration that highlights some of the amazing opportunities for technical and academic leadership in spatial computing that exist here in New Brunswick.”

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to help businesses grow, reach new markets, drive innovation and contribute to Atlantic Canada’s economic success.

“We are committed to driving economic growth in Atlantic Canada,” said Minister Petitpas Taylor. “The University of New Brunswick’s Spatial Computing Education, Training & Research Laboratory will help maximize opportunities in the spatial computing industry and meet growing demand in the global aerospace sector, benefitting our economy for years to come.”

ACOA’s contribution is through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation.