St. FX and CBU Receive Innovation Fund Grants

March 28, 2013

Two Nova Scotia universities are becoming greener and one will pilot new software to make information sharing easier, while reducing operating costs.

The province today, March 28, announced Innovation Fund projects for St. Francis Xavier University that will help it save an estimated $400,000 a year, after energy audits on 11 buildings last year.

At Cape Breton University, an Innovation Fund project will test leading-edge SAP technology to manage administration systems and develop a student information system template other universities could adopt. Other projects will evaluate clean energy options and help review workflow.

“The Innovation Fund, essentially, has two goals: helping universities find innovative ways to maintain excellence in learning and reducing costs,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Maurice Smith, on behalf of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett. “The projects being announced today do both.”

Nova Scotia’s 10 universities, like most Canadian schools, face demographic and economic challenges that means they need to do things differently. Conserving energy, exploring new ways of doing business and building greater collaboration makes sense.

“If our graduates are to help Nova Scotia achieve prosperity that we have not seen for generations, they have to think outside of the box. The universities are showing them how to do that,” said Mr. Smith. “That’s why the province is investing in universities, in students and in the future.”

“We are very pleased to have the province partner with the university to improve our energy performance and improve the environmental comfort for building occupants,” said Leon MacLellan, director of facilities management at St. FX.

“The St. FX sustainability committee has made great strides in achieving energy reductions in numerous buildings, and this project will enable further success and campus engagement,” Rachel Mitchell, student union vice-president and former environmental officer with the committee. “We are extremely thankful for this opportunity and look forward to the positive impact on the environment and within the University.”

The four St. FX and CBU Innovation Fund projects cost more than $4 million. Two Acadia University projects announced today total $3.4 million. Earlier this week, Premier Darrell Dexter announced six Innovation Fund projects worth $3 million and 10 others were announced in Halifax on Wednesday for another $3.1 million.

With these projects, the province has delivered $15 million from the Innovation Fund to Nova Scotian universities since 2012. Another $10 million will be invested in 2013-14, in addition to $314 million in university operating grants next year.