Days after announcing it would be opening a new innovation centre in the heart of Kanata North, Carleton University is doubling down on its presence in the tech park, unveiling a multimillion-dollar partnership with tech leader BlackBerry QNX.

The local university has signed a five-year, $21-million deal with the telecom giant in order to gain access to its extensive network of embedded software technology and connected systems expertise.

Carleton students and researchers will have access to the technology through the school’s new embedded operating system software research lab in the Advanced Research and Innovation in Smart Environments (ARISE) building on Carleton’s campus.

BlackBerry’s technology can be used in multiple applications including in the automotive sector, medical devices, robotics and automation.

The partnership will also provide 600 BlackBerry QNX software development seat licences on an annual basis to students in Carleton’s School of Computer Science and Faculty of Engineering and Design programs – providing them with even better hands-on training.

“As a Carleton University graduate and active alumnus, I know first-hand the passion that exists within the student body and faculty community to go beyond the classroom and foster the skills that will allow graduates to make an impact from day one of their working careers,” John Wall, senior vice-president and co-head, BlackBerry Technology Solutions, said in a statement. “With our new partnership, we’ve created a unique experiential learning environment that is designed to do just that, providing students with the foundational tools and technologies that will enable them to solve real industry problems upon graduation.”

The partnership follows Carleton’s announcement that it will be taking up 2,000 square feet of space at Hub350 – Kanata North’s new innovation ecosystem facility designed for industry, finance and academic partners to connect and collaborate.

Construction on the university’s space – which will include meeting rooms, a café and a garden terrace – is set to begin in June, with a move-in date expected in late August.

Carleton University is the second academic institution to establish a presence in the tech community after the University of Ottawa opened a satellite campus in November 2018.

The presence of the two universities is good news for the more than 540 companies located in the area. Many are in tight competition to find the next generation of top talent – a search that will only get easier with a direct connection to the city’s top post-secondary institutions, says Victoria McGlone, chief operating officer at the Kanata North Business Association.

“Partnerships with world-leading institutions like Carleton University is crucial to the growth and success of our member companies,” says McGlone. “We are thrilled to officially welcome Carleton to the park.”

The university’s presence in the Kanata North community will also provide better access to co-op placements, strategic partnerships and learning opportunities for the school’s current and future students, she adds.

“We are confident that Carleton’s presence in Kanata North will play a key role in connecting their students and research faculties with real-world technology companies, innovating on a global stage.”

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