Long-Term University Ties Good For Business

By Sarah O’Neill

Thanks to better access to specialized expertise and equipment, R&D collaborations with academic partners generate benefits that include finding solutions to specific problems and making businesses more attractive to global investors.

Howard Goodfellow, President of the process control technology company Tenova Goodfellow Inc., has experienced that first hand through his relationship with University of Toronto mechanical engineer Murray Thomson. Goodfellow initially hired Dr. Thomson as an NSERC Industrial R&D Fellow in 1994 and has maintained the working relationship ever since Dr. Thomson returned to his academic roots at the university two years later.

“Hiring Dr. Thomson, with NSERC‘s support, was our first important step toward becoming a technology company,” recalls Goodfellow. “But I was supportive of his move back to the university because it gave us access to the kind of early stage research that we need in order to remain competitive, but cannot afford as a small company. Through NSERC industrial scholarships, we also get a window on the highly skilled students trained in his lab and have hired several of them.”

Goodfellow says the partnership really paid off when his company was going through the process of becoming part of a larger global enterprise. Tenova, an advanced technology business based in Italy, is a $26 billion company that employs about 53,000 people worldwide.

“Our relationship with Dr. Thomson and the university,” says Goodfellow, “was key to Tenova’s decision to designate us as its global centre of excellence in process optimization and combustion R&D. It really set us apart from other companies in the Tenova group competing for the same mandate.”

Tenova Goodfellow Inc. has sustained its relationship with Dr. Thomson to this day and, as a result, business has flourished. In fact, since 1994, Tenova Goodfellow Inc. has expanded five-fold to a staff of 25, having successfully transitioned from a modest consulting firm to a world-leading provider of technology solutions for optimizing steel-making processes.

This article was reposted from NSERC’s In Partnership e-bulletin – subscribe to our In Partnership e-bulletin to learn more about research partnerships. Sarah O’Neill is the Research Partnerships and Promotions Officer at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Ontario regional office.  Sarah can connect you with the information you need to know regarding NSERC’s partnership opportunities.

Sarah O’Neill is the Communications and Promotions Officer at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Ontario regional office.  Sarah can connect you with the information you need to know regarding NSERC’s partnership opportunities.

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