New research and development program helps Canadian companies compete globally

WINDSOR, ON, April 20 /CNW/ - The launch of a new federally-funded national internship program will help Canadian companies compete in today's global marketplace through advanced research and development. Connect Canada, a $5 million, five-year program was launched at an event hosted by Connect Canada supporter, Chrysler Canada at the University of Windsor-Chrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC).

In its five years of funding, Connect Canada expects to place 750 graduate students at companies across Canada in all economic sectors. For a small investment, companies will be able to hire a dedicated graduate-level student intern to investigate research issues relevant to their business needs. Interns will gain valuable industry experience while working on R&D projects that enhance their graduate studies.

Connect Canada is funded by the Government of Canada through the Industrial Research and Development Internship (IRDI) program from 2011-2016. A unique partnership between AUTO21 Inc. and the University of Windsor's Centre for Career Education will operate Connect Canada. Connect Canada was awarded the $5 million grant following a federal competition for IRDI service providers.

"Regardless of the economic sector, Canadian companies are competing around the world," said Dr. Peter Frise, AUTO21 Scientific Director and CEO. "In the short term, Connect Canada is helping companies develop the knowledge and technology that enables them to act competitively, and in the long term, the program provides excellent training opportunities for graduate students who will eventually be key contributors to the Canadian economy."

"We are grateful for the trust that the IRDI program has placed in the University of Windsor and AUTO21 for this important national program," said President Alan Wildeman, University of Windsor. "Connect Canada has recognized the great contributions that graduate students doing leading edge research can bring to industry. For communities across the country, including the Windsor region, this program will strengthen partnerships with industries and put graduate students at the forefront of creating innovations that can lead to value."

About fifty companies have already pledged support for nearly 500 placements with Connect Canada, including Chrysler Canada, who will hire Connect Canada interns to complete automotive research placements.

"The automotive industry drives Canada's economy more than any other manufacturing sector and generates 1 in 7 Canadian jobs," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, Chrysler Canada. "Thanks to Connect Canada, graduate students who do an internship at the ARDC will be gaining valuable experience at the forefront of technical innovations that aim to improve quality, cost and the environment."

AUTO21 Inc. oversees the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), Canada's automotive research and development program. Through the AUTO21 NCE, AUTO21 Inc. has managed nearly $60 million in Government of Canada funding and another $44 million in private and public-sector investments in automotive R&D. A recent economic impact study estimated AUTO21 NCE research projects have generated more than $1.1 billion in social and economic benefits to Canada.

The University of Windsor's Centre for Career Education contributes to the holistic education of students and complements academic programs of study by supporting a wide range of career-related programs and resources with an emphasis on excellence in learning from experience. In addition, the Centre for Career Education offers a wide variety of resources, activities and events that assist students with career development matters ranging from career exploration and planning to job search strategies.



SOURCE University of Windsor

For further information:

Stephanie Campeau
Director of Public Affairs
& Communications
AUTO21 Inc.
Tel: 519.253.3000, ext. 4129
Cell: 519.890.6830
    Lori Lewis
Manager, News Service
University of Windsor
Tel: 519.253.3000, ext. 3241
Cell: 519.564.9908
    Lou Ann Gosselin
Head of Communications
Chrysler Canada
Tel: 519-973-2253
Cell: 519-984-2600



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