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Fanshawe opens new biotechnology facility


Federal and provincial government partners, community partners, faculty and students celebrated the grand opening of the new Centre for Advanced Research and Innovation in Biotechnology (CARIB) on Oct.9.

Angela McInnes | Interrobang | News | October 19th, 2018

Fanshawe unveiled its new Centre for Advanced Research and Innovation in Biotechnology (CARIB) during a grand opening ceremony on Oct. 9 at its main campus.

A media release on the event said that CARIB was funded through a $4 million investment from the federal government as part of the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund and a $2.2 million investment from the Government of Ontario. Fanshawe contributed $2.8 million toward the project.

The updated facility now has 13,0000 square feet of new biology, chemistry, instrumentation and physics teaching labs with improved furniture, flooring and air exchange systems.

“It’s great,” said Nicoletta Ioannou, a student of the honours Bachelor of Applied Technology - Biotechnology program. “These facilities are a lot cleaner, and they’re a lot more organized. Things are exactly where they’re supposed to be where previously things were a little more scattered, so this is a much better setup.”

The new facility now has industry- specific spaces, allowing for local partners to conduct their own research. These areas will be closed off to students, but the biosafety level two industry lab is connected to a tissue culture room that leads to the academic space.

The hope is that students will have the opportunity to blend with future employers.

“This is the first time we’ve had industry spaces,” said Fanshawe’s lab operations manager Joel Van Bynen. “It’s part of the new innovation research and innovation culture that we’re trying to develop at Fanshawe. The food handling, or food processing industry in this region is incredible, and the opportunities for the students in these programs is incredible because of our proximity to this heartland of agri-processing.”

In attendance were members of the Federal and Provincial government, including MPs Peter Fragiskatos and Kate Young, who is also Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility; MPP Jeff Yurek; the Honourable Kristy Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

In her speech, Duncan said that the project was the result of the Federal government’s increased interest in national research.

“We had a historic budget for research in Canada this year,” Duncan said. “It was the largest investment in basic fundamental research. It was the largest investment in applied research. This is exciting for Canada.”

Duncan said that CARIB will advance biotechnology, chemistry, environmental technology programs, state of the art labs and expertise to promote more commercialization.

She said the investment would drive economic prosperity throughout the London region by creating new jobs and producing highly qualified personnel.

Speaking on the municipal level, Fragiskatos agreed, saying that the joint classroom and industry spaces would ultimately foster networking between students and workplaces.

“We have such a strong agri-food sector here in London,” Fragiskatos said. “You’ve taken that into account and you see that there’s a possibility there for Fanshawe to partner with industry, to build and to grow jobs and support our young people.”
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