Trent, Lakehead, Laurentian, Nipissing Universities Sign MOU to Enhance Impact of Research, Commercialization Activity

Four universities to leverage shared resources, facilities, expertise, and enrich postsecondary contributions to economic development in Ontario  

Friday, August 25, 2023, Thunder Bay

Four Ontario universities – Trent University, Laurentian University, Lakehead University, and Nipissing University – have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focused on enhancing collaboration and resource sharing on research and innovation initiatives to, ultimately, drive economic development in the province.

“Trent is thrilled to be part of this partnership with universities that are keenly aware of the emerging and untapped opportunities in connecting different parts of Ontario,” said Christopher Rooney, senior director, Research & Innovation at Trent University. “We know that by working together we can realize more benefits from postsecondary research and innovation. We’ll be able to share expertise and resources more efficiently and effectively in a way that boosts overall research and commercialization endeavours.”

The MOU outlines four key areas for collaboration: research and commercialization support, knowledge sharing, access to professional expertise and advanced facilities, and ecosystem partnerships. 

In particular, the four universities will be focusing efforts and attention on projects related to intellectual property and entrepreneurship, research data management and security, policy development, course/curriculum development, networking and joint symposia, and government relations, such as engaging with provincial and federal ministries and funding agencies.

To date, the four universities have partnered to establish the Northern and Rural Innovation Cluster focused on critical minerals, cleantech, and battery electric technologies with funding from Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON). The provincial agency is providing a total of $294,000 to the pilot project which has seen an industry liaison officer hired to support the four universities in commercialization efforts related to the cluster’s primary research topics.

“This is a great example of the kind of initiatives that this MOU will drive,” said Director Rooney. “The funding from IP Ontario goes further with the four universities working together to invest the funding in a way that brings expertise, resources, and programming to each campus but all towards a unified goal. The initiative will help educate and train students and identify more opportunities for collaboration.” 

Director of Research and Innovation at Laurentian University, Gisele Roberts, adds that “having previously collaborated with Lakehead, Nipissing, and Trent as members of a commercialization network, we are excited to renew discussions with these partners to explore opportunities for resource sharing. This will leverage the expertise within our institutions to maximize the research and commercialization impacts of our universities and allow us to quickly adapt to rapidly changing research policy requirements.”

“Lakehead University is excited to see increased intellectual property literacy within the institutions and ecosystems, improved connectivity between stakeholders, and enhanced economic development through collaboration,” said Ellen MacKay, Lakehead University’s Director of Innovation Development.

“Lakehead is well positioned for this partnership as we have research and development strength in critical minerals through the hiring of two new research chairs in critical mineral processing and exploration, and the continued work from the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration.”

“Nipissing University is pleased to once again collaborate with Laurentian, Trent, and Lakehead to advance research and innovation programs across the province,” said Dr. Barbi Law,  Interim Associate Vice-President of Research, Innovation, and Graduate Studies. “Sharing knowledge and resources between our institutions will lay the groundwork for building more partnerships and will enhance our overall innovation efforts.”

About Lakehead University

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 9,000 students in THE’s 2023 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit

About Laurentian University (Akinomaagegamik)

Laurentian University serves over 8,000 students on its campus in Sudbury, Ontario, and is one of two bilingual universities in the province of Ontario. Committed to its bilingual, tri-cultural mandate, Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education.

About Nipissing University

Nipissing University received its charter as an independent University in 1992, and was created to address the specific needs of Northern Ontario. The university’s strategic priorities regarding the student experience as well as academic and research excellence is grounded in this commitment. As a proud, primarily undergraduate university with a reputation for excellence in teacher education, arts, science, and professional programs, Nipissing consistently ranks among the top undergraduate universities in the country for student satisfaction, student support services, residence life and mental health services. 

About Trent University

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.




For more information contact:

Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, Lakehead University,

Jean-Paul Rains, Director, Communications & Digital Strategy, Laurentian University, 

Carly Johnston, Communications Officer, Nipissing University, (705) 474-3450 ext. 4035 or

Clay Pearn, Communications & Media Relations Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6188 or