16th December 2011 Ottawa, Canada

Arnold Falls for Quebec

Another Bilingual blog from our Montreal Science & Innovation Officer, Nicolina Farella:

It all started last March, when I received a phone call from Arnold Black. Arnold wears two hats. On one hand, he is Project Manager for C-Tech innovation (R&D company in the clean technology sector), and he also holds the position of Technology Transfer Manager at the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge and Transfer Network (ES – KTN). The ES KTN is one of the 15 knowledge transfer networks between universities and companies and is funded by the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Arnold only knew Quebec by reputation, through his international collaboration with IREQ (Quebec Electric Research Institute – HQ) research team for a FP7 funded program. Moreover, he was familiar with the Science and Innovation Network because he had worked with us in Japan on waste valorisation projects. Since I was leaving for London a few weeks after our first phone call, we thought it would be timely to meet in person!

In London, we enjoyed the hospitality granted us by the Quebec General Delegation Office, which warmly offered their offices for a meeting. Our discussion was enthusiastic and we identified many areas where we could build UK-Quebec bridges in the clean technology sector. Following our discussion over a sandwich, we could mutually benefit by sharing the expertise of both Quebec and the UK in clean technology. And lunch, we found ourselves ready to put our plans into action… which I intended to do upon my return in Montreal by introducing the idea to my consulate team.

My team was very receptive to the idea of working with ES KTN, and we put together a full schedule of meetings for Arnold’s visit. Manon Desrosiers (Public Affairs officer) supervised the program planning to which all British Consulate staff contributed: Patrick Holdich (Consul General), Jeremy Mackenzie Lee (Investment Officer), Caroline Henderson (Investment Associate), Natasha Gagnon (Trade Associate) and myself.


On the first day, Arnold visited IREQ’s laboratories in Varenne. Although he has been working with them for many years, it was his first actual visit. He thinks that the facilities and research projects are at the cutting edge of science. The lithium-ion battery research for the electric vehicle is very promising. Afterwards, a visit at TM4 in Boucherville allowed us to identify useful technology applicable to the UK automobile sector. The wheel-motor has suitable applications for electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as having a significant potential as an energy generator for hydraulic and wind turbines.

The Tuesday visits were key for Arnold to meet with three fast growing companies. Pyrogenesis has elaborated a plasma technology to transform waste into energy. This technology is appropriate for the naval sector and Arnold sees a fit for the UK. Gedden offers a ready-made solution for small carbon emitters to reduce their CO2 emissions and sell the carbon credit on voluntary carbon markets.  Finally, Bioterre transforms farm waste into inert residue – thanks to a low temperature anaerobic process.  For the aforementioned companies, Arnold will be looking for potential R&D partners within the UK. The visits were supplemented by a round table session with stakeholders interested in the environmental and public policy. We had an informal discussion on various incentives to foster innovation in the clean technology sector. We also discussed similar and different approaches in our respective regions.

On Wednesday, Arnold met with the Global Cleantech Clusters Association (GCCA) for its first meeting. We learned about the different regional approaches to support innovation in environmental technology.  We compared the environmental and innovation policy of both the UK and Quebec during our informal lunch with Louis-Gilles Francoeur – journalist for Le Devoir – who is known for publishing articles on environmental issues. After a few other networking sessions where Arnold met with key stakeholders from the cleantech world, he delivered a speech on the KTN strategy in support of technology transfers from research centres, to start-ups, and to established companies. For lunch, a meeting with Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal allowed us to set up the basis for future collaboration: sustainable rail transportation being a case in point. We also had a meeting with a new venture capital investor, who is interested by British technological innovations in the energy sector. To end the week, a reception at the Residence of the Consul General was a perfect opportunity to meet with the Consulate’s partners in areas such as aerospace, culture and politics… What a nice way to end a colourful and productive program!


Here’s a short video of these and other recent SIN activities out of the Montreal Consulate General:


1 comment on “Arnold Falls for Quebec

  1. I like it, thanks Nicolina. Very balanced about the really diverse opportunities the Environmental Sustainabily Knowledge Transfer Network can help people with in Canada – UK.

    In my current condition I hold very fond memories of last overseas trip. personal email to follow soon.

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About Nicole Arbour

Based in the National Capital, I cover the federal S&T sector, national S&T organisations, as well as local industry and academic partners. I manage the UK’s Science & Innovation Network…

Based in the National Capital, I cover the federal S&T sector, national S&T organisations, as well as local industry and academic partners. I manage the UK’s Science & Innovation Network in Canada, and our contribution towards the wider Canada-UK relationship. This year my focus will be working towards the delivery of the Canada-UK Joint Declaration and the Canada-UK Joint Innovation Statement. In my spare time I like to cook and spend quality time with my family. Find me on Twitter @narbour