McMaster University getting $28.4-million auto, aerospace research centre

McMaster University in Hamilton , Ont., is building a $28.4-million automotive and aerospace research centre, and the federal government and private sector are covering nearly the entire cost.

The federal government is giving the school $10 million through FedDev Ontario while industry partners, including Ford, Honda, Stellantis and MHI—RJ Aviation Group, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, will kick in $16.8 million.

What will be known as iHub, is located at the McMaster Innovation Park. There, university researchers and industry experts will use state-of-the-art facilities to support manufacturers and automotive and aerospace suppliers to develop, test and incorporate the latest technologies required for the production of next-generation electric and autonomous vehicles, and energy-efficient and intelligent aircrafts, the federal government said in a statement.

The project is expected to support more than 230 companies, spanning the automotive corridor from Windsor to Oshawa, the government said. It will also facilitate the commercialization of 100 new products or services and create up to 170 direct jobs, the government said.

“This investment from FedDev Ontario will help iHub achieve great things by connecting our manufacturers and [businesses],” David Farrar, president of McMaster University, said in a statement.

Five McMaster engineers – Ali Emadi, Saeid Habibi, Mark Lawford, Ravi Selvaganapathy and Stephen Veldhuis – are leading the initiative.

“This funding will allow us to step up our game and support the ecosystem in Southern Ontario in an unprecedented way,” Emadi said in a post on the school’s website. “It will allow a wide range of automotive and aerospace companies … to bring innovative solutions to the market faster and position Canada as a global leader.”

The federal government said the project will enhance Ontario’s position “as a global destination to develop, test and commercialize hybrid, electric and autonomous vehicles and intelligent aircraft technologies while accelerating the path to net zero emissions.”

iHub aims to provide access to expertise and resources in electrification in southern Ontario to support the shift to electrification, “encouraging investments in expertise to be made domestically,” FedDev said.

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