What does research have to do with economic development?
The main function of a university is the creation and transfer of knowledge to its students. However, there are many ways that universities influence the growth and stability of their local areas and the global community. UOIT is no exception and strives to have additional impact, as part of its mission.
Universities are good for their local communities because they stimulate economic growth by bringing new customers for everything from real estate to aesthetics to restaurants. Universities offer the community access to cultural events, such as sporting events, art shows and talks, and adult interest courses. Research contributes to local economic impact by making UOIT an attractive institution to international scholars and students, allowing the community to grow and increases in cultural richness.
A major contribution that Universities make to the global community is highly qualified people. University graduates join the workforce and society and contribute their knowledge to their jobs, contributing to economic development. They also contribute to the neighbourhoods and cities and towns they live in, potentially having an impact on society. Research intensiveness at UOIT enhances the student experience, allowing the graduates to leave UOIT with knowledge of cutting edge methods and innovations they can apply to their everyday lives.
The direct goal of curiosity-based research is not economic development; however, there is the potential for much of the research done at UOIT to be used to enable external organizations to improve or change their products and practices for the better. There are two main ways that this happens: through collaborative research programs and through the adoption of research outcomes by the external agency.
UOIT has many collaborative research programs with businesses and not-for-profit organizations. In this sort of program, faculty and students from UOIT work closely with the external partner on a project that either solves a problem for the partner or has the potential to create a new technology or approach. If the research program succeeds, the partner can then integrate the outcome into its activities, leading to economic or social development. For specific examples of this sort of research program, watch here.
Sometimes, commercially useful inventions are developed in the process of curiosity-based research. In this case, UOIT has an office, the Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization that will assist in commercialization of the technology. This can consist of either licensing the technology to an existing firm or facilitating the creation of a start-up company). In each case, the transfer of technology from the University setting to a commercial venue allows for economic growth through business development.