News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB launches new supports for industry innovation, research partnerships

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on May 20, 2021

Category: myUNB , UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

The University of New Brunswick has announced a new initiative supporting innovation, commercialization and partnership activities thanks to support from the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and also made possible with leveraging support from The Molson Foundation.

The Fulcrum Initiative is part of the institution’s ongoing implementation of UNB Toward 2030, a strategic vision that includes an emphasis on intensifying the positive impact of UNB research for New Brunswick’s communities, industries and government partners.

Led by the UNB vice-president (research), the Fulcrum Initiative will see a reorientation of research partnership activities to facilitate industry, government and community engagement, as well as a new focus on areas supporting strategic economic growth potential.

“The goals we’ve set are an ambitious call to action, but they are also a recognition of the incredible talent we know is here at UNB, both in our researchers and in our staff,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB’s vice-president (research). “This initiative will help support and develop our ability to get more of that innovative capacity to our industry and community partners, where it can best contribute to our province’s growth, wellbeing and economy.”

The Fulcrum Initiative’s first identified priority focus is advanced manufacturing and will incorporate expertise at UNB including 3D metal printing, new materials development and testing, offsite and digitally enabled construction, contract and intellectual property law, business and many other areas.

The initiative also includes new staff and resources to better facilitate industry engagement with this cluster of resources, and more generally with UNB research. To enable increased capacity while maintaining existing supports, the initiative has been supported by $271,250 through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

“Supporting innovation, fostering collaborative partnerships, creating connections and new opportunities – these are the things that move industry and the economy forward,” said Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (ACOA). “That’s why the Government of Canada, through ACOA, is pleased to support UNB’s Fulcrum Initiative and help grow the region’s innovation ecosystem.”

Each priority area will have a lead attached to it, providing a single point of contact at UNB who can connect an industry or community partner’s project needs to appropriate UNB expertise and resources. The group is actively exploring off-campus office space in Fredericton and Saint John to provide easier access.

UNB also introduced Bernadette Fernandes as the Fulcrum Initiative’s new principal for advanced manufacturing. Ms. Fernandes brings three decades of experience supporting and building innovative projects, a commitment to developing engaging and fruitful relationships between academia, industry and government, and an extensive network of connections. In 2011, she founded The Varanda Network, an economic development company largely focused on bringing these three groups together.

“I’m very proud to be leading the charge on this new approach, accompanied by a terrific existing team, and now joined by Bernadette,” said Hart Devitt, Fulcrum lead and director of UNB’s research and innovation partnerships group. “Our new vision will enable us to connect even more directly with our partners, making sure they can access the UNB research resources they need to succeed.”

The Fulcrum Initiative was officially launched at an online event on May 20 and new resources are already in place to support new industry, government and community partners.

More information about the Fulcrum Initiative, the team and opportunities to leverage UNB research expertise for your organization or project can be found at

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