Lakehead University partnering with other universities to create a Northern and rural innovation cluster

Photo of Ellen MacKay

Ellen MacKay

May 5, 2023 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lakehead University is partnering with Laurentian, Nipissing and Trent universities to create a Northern and rural innovation cluster focused on critical minerals, cleantech, and electric vehicles. 

Laurentian is leading the initiative, which the Government of Ontario prompted in 2022 by releasing the Critical Minerals Strategy to identify essential components required to transform the province into a leading producer of critical minerals. 

One of the six pillars in the strategy focuses on the network necessary to foster collaboration between industry and academia, a network that would support innovation from early-stage discovery to validation and prototyping to scale up and commercialization. 

In late April, Intellectual Property Ontario announced that it would provide $2 million in funding for seven projects proposed by 10 postsecondary institutions across the province. 

“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.”



– 30 –





Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8110 ext. 8372 or


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 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit