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Loyalist College has taken a leadership role in the bioeconomy sector through a series of innovative partnerships.


Could food “waste” be used in natural beauty products? What are the opportunities for horticulture in deep space exploration? What secrets does the genome hold for the future of farming? As industry becomes increasingly concerned with sustainable development, Loyalist College is working to answer these questions through applied research in the bioeconomy.

Over the last five years, Loyalist College has transformed itself into a destination for applied research, rooted in strong relationships with community and industry partners. Located in Belleville, Ont., between major producer markets in Toronto, Ottawa, and Kingston, the College has aligned its programming with the evolution of the local agriculture and manufacturing sectors as they pursue renewable resourcing — from vertical farming and sustainable building supplies to circular food economics and new cosmetic formulations.

“At Loyalist College, we are deeply connected to our industry and community partners and know that we have an important role to play in driving regional economic growth and development,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of Loyalist College. “The innovative partnerships and synergies we are developing across natural products and the bioeconomy will benefit regional employers while also providing Loyalist students with unparalleled work-integrated learning opportunities. It has been truly remarkable to see the many ways in which our students and employees are lending their talents to our growing network of partners and demonstrating how being small gives us the power to do big things.” 

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Tapping into the regional innovation network

Loyalist College’s Applied Research and Innovation Office has launched a series of partnerships to bring new sustainable products and processes to market — driving a new generation of social and economic development in the process.

Case in point: Canadian natural beauty company Afiya Beauty hoped to address one of its customer’s top requests — an all-natural product that helps fade skin discolouration. Traditionally, skin care companies rely on harsh de-pigmenting agents to treat dark spots. Afiya worked with Loyalist College and GreenCentre Canada, dynamic partners in applied research and industry, for formulation expertise. Afiya is now testing and formulating new products to create a de-pigmenting cream that meets customer demands and matches its all-natural ethos.

At Loyalist College, we are deeply connected to our industry and community partners and know that we have an important role to play in driving regional economic growth and development.

Leveraging each other’s expertise

With its mission to support sustainable chemistry and advanced material startups, GreenCentre Canada is the perfect ally for the College. Together, their focus is offering support for small- and medium-sized enterprises and multinationals who wish to transform their products, processes, and services. 

“The idea is to enhance the service offerings that Loyalist College and GreenCentre have to support companies that are developing new sustainable technologies, specifically in the bioproducts sector,” says Fatme Dahcheh, GreenCentre Canada’s Director of Business Development.

Alongside GreenCentre Canada, Loyalist College’s Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis have used GreenCentre Canada’s CONNECT program to help seven companies grow and develop their technologies and products.

“Loyalist College has been fantastic to work with,” says Dahcheh. “Both organizations want to support innovative companies who are developing sustainable technologies, so we’re able to really leverage each other’s expertise and funding opportunities.”

Launching big ideas locally and beyond

Nowhere is this opportunity to connect local strengths with global challenges more evident than in Loyalist’s innovative new partnership with Ontario Genomics and Canadore College, which will mobilize DNA information to create advances in natural product development and research.

“Loyalist College is a very avant-garde college,” says Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO of Ontario Genomics. “We’ve been working with Loyalist and Canadore to unify genomics-based applied research, education, and training across the province. Loyalist is really working at the forefront of these emerging and game-changing technologies.”

As with all the College’s applied research partnerships, the goal is to help drive industry evolution while providing students with exceptional work-integrated learning experiences. 

Students in programs including Culinary Skills and Management, Cannabis Applied Science, Horticulture, and more can help solve real-world problems that small businesses are grappling with.

At the intersection of industry demand and research potential, these “local to global” partnerships represent the key to how Loyalist College is unlocking the future of Canada’s bioeconomy. 

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