UNB Research

UNB research administration staff honoured for contributions to innovation ecosystem

Author: UNB Research

Posted on Jun 18, 2024

Category: Partnerships , Innovation & Commercialization , Accolades , Research Services

Three current and former University of New Brunswick (UNB) research administrators have been recognized for their contributions to Springboard Atlantic and its support for research and innovation in the region. The celebrations occurred as Springboard marked its 20th anniversary of working in the region.

Hart Devitt, director of research and innovation partnerships, has been a part of Springboard Atlantic since its early days. He joined UNB’s Office of Research Services in 2008 after a decade working at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He has led the office’s industry, government and community partnership activities since.

“Hart has been a part of Springboard for more than three-quarters of its existence and has helped build and shape the network into what it is today,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB’s vice-president research.

“Some of his major contributions have been his steadfast belief in the research excellence found in Atlantic Canada, and his unwavering commitment to working with our researchers and partners to bring that research into the world. His can-do attitude and extensive knowledge continue to be invaluable to not only UNB, but to the Springboard network.”

Tania Jones is Springboard Atlantic’s manager of finance and corporate operations. Until recently, she did double-duty, allocating part of her time as a research financial administrator in UNB’s Office of Research Services. Tania is well-known and respected in both organizations for her comprehensive process and accounting expertise.

“I can say without hesitation that Tania is deserving of recognition and celebration,” said Michael Maguire, chair of the Springboard Atlantic board of directors. “Tania's consistently competent and professional management of Springboard Atlantic's finances has set the organization up for continued success and growth. She is highly valued for her talent. Tania's excellence in managing our finances is the secret ingredient that keeps us all on track and that ensures a continued, high level of trust in Springboard.”

Dr. David Foord is now an associate professor of management at UNB. However, some two and a half decades ago, his UNB career started when he became its director of intellectual property.

In that role, he came into contact with colleagues from across the region, a small group of whom came together with a shared vision for collaboration. Foord was instrumental in helping create the Springboard Atlantic network, writing the original business plan for the network that would be supported by ACOA.

“David Foord has been a significant contributor to the Atlantic innovation ecosystem through the development of Springboard's network of researcher-industry liaison professionals,” said Chris Mathis, vice-president of Viable Solutions and past president and CEO of Springboard.
“His tireless efforts have helped sustain and support the network’s many benefits, including transitioning the talent, knowhow and formal intellectual property out of our postsecondary institutions for economic benefit. This kind of dedication and passion to the region is worthy of recognition.”

Two others were honoured at the event: Duncan McSporran is the co-founder and COO of Kognitiv Spark, and a key supporter of industry partnerships such as the one that helped establish the SPECTRAL Lab at UNB, was celebrated for his contributions. Dr. Francis LeBlanc, associate vice-president of research and dean of the faculty of graduate studies and research at the Université de Moncton, was also recognized for his work.

The Springboard Atlantic Network was established in 2004, when a small group of employees from a few universities came together with a vision for a collaborative approach to research mobilization and commercialization.

Today, the network includes industry engagement professionals from its 19 postsecondary member institutions across the Atlantic region, and is supported by these institutions as well as by the Government of Canada’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Through Springboard, member institutions exchange insight and access support for research commercialization opportunities, helping them increase the positive impact of research and innovation on Canada’s communities, industries, and economy.