City, Lambton College announce Sarnia Civic Lab Partnership

Lambton College NOVA Chemicals Health and Research Centre in Sarnia. (Photo by Lambton College)

Lambton College will increase its focus on Sarnia projects with Monday’s announcement of a formalized research partnership.

The Sarnia Civic Lab Partnership was introduced during a virtual event after city council’s approval of a Memorandum of Understanding.

The city will share its priorities and the college’s research and innovation team will help with important and urgent needs.

College President Judith Morris said the partnership is a long time coming, adding students and faculty are excited to get started.

“It’s not just technology-focused, it’s social sciences, community services and business, and it’s really extensive,” said Morris. “It will have a huge impact, certainly across the city and across the research area. What’s really cool about this is that, not only is it collaborative, but it opens up a true wealth of opportunities for our students. They’re going to have opportunities to participate in the research projects, and they’ll meet potential employers.”

The college has already received about 24 proposals from the city on potential research projects. They include everything from how to improve upon attendance at local events, organic waste management and related technologies, and the assessment and evaluation of supply chains.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the parties have had a long-standing working relationship that should have been formalized a long time ago.

“I think that you’ll see this agreement become a model for other places,” said Bradley. “The question that I’ve been asking myself all week is why weren’t we doing this earlier, why weren’t we trying to take this resource to its highest level as often happens in communities with universities. We’re going to achieve the same goal here. We’ve got this huge consulting team in our own midst, of brilliant young people in particular. They can give us so much back in a sense of wisdom, research and development.”

Bradley expects the costs to be minimal, especially compared to dealing with the private sector.

Any project costs will come from operational budgets, or with help from the federal or provincial governments.