Industry Connections

Why partner with a research institute?

Partnering with Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) at the University of Waterloo is an investment in the future. It’s about the generation of new knowledge and the creation of top talent. It’s about innovation which can be commercialized.

We have a rich history of partnership. From large corporations and government agencies to small spin-off companies and the 3,500 employers who hire our coop students every term. Combined with an intelligent, entrepreneurial community, WIN is the "partner-of-choice" to develop new ideas, source highly qualified talent, transfer technology and start innovative new projects in nanotechnology.

WIN has 100+ faculty members. All have advanced research laboratories filled with smart and passionate students looking for research project opportunities.

Browse over to our people profiles and find out what our faculty members and their graduate students are fabricating in Smart & Functional Materials, integrating with Connected Devices, powering tomorrow with Next Generation Energy Systems, and making advancements in Therapeutics & Theranostics.

You will find everything you need (biographies, research, publications) to learn about our members and their interests. You may contact a researcher directly or ask WIN to make an introduction.

Collaborating with a researcher is about building a working relationship: determining research capacity and flexibility, applying to funding programs, and gaining access to a wider network of collaborators to build “solutions” to real-world problems.

Our business development office is open every day of the year driven by the mandate to build industry-academic partnerships. Whether collaborating with a single researcher or engaging a million-dollar research centre, WIN fosters collaboration based on the needs of industry and professionally manages relationships to make economic sense.

"Inventor-owned" intellectual property policy

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) members own their Intellectual Property (IP)—not the university. This makes it easy to do business with Waterloo.

A pioneer in commercial friendly partnering, the University of Waterloo is a leader in university spin-off companies in Canada. Our "inventor-owned" intellectual property policy has made it easy for researchers to partner with investors and industry to commercialize ideas and patents. Many of the country’s best high-tech companies trace their roots to Waterloo, including Blackberry, Dalsa and OpenText.

It is easy to do business with Waterloo: easy to find researchers with a commercial perspective, easy to build proposals and easy to move IP from the bench to the market place.

Read more about the University of Waterloo Intellectual Property Policy.


In Canada, industrial research funding can be leveraged through government “matching” programs.

Research funding

Many partners have benefited by leveraging their sponsorship money through federal and provincial research funding programs. In some cases, for every $1 provided by a company, the funding programs will match up to two times the sponsorship in order to maximize the research opportunity. Visit the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) partnerships opportunities.

Commercialization funding

Industry partners can potentially access government commercialization programs to fund the development of pre-production prototypes, demonstration projects, and market studies based on University of Waterloo technology platforms. Some of these programs require a matching contribution from an industry partner (cash and/or in-kind) and others require no matching contribution at all. Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) can assist you in navigating through the various programs and requirements.

Government and not-for-profit opportunities

Waterloo Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Partnering with Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) also builds on a wider network. There exists a cooperative and collaborative spirit through our joint programs with other departments, our affiliations with key research institutes and our role in economic development within Waterloo Region—otherwise known as Canada’s Technology Triangle (CTT).

This is the right place to partner. The Waterloo Region is one of the hottest regions in Canada to found a company, develop technology and access talent. Waterloo was voted one of the Top Intelligent Communities in the World, specifically for building a knowledge-based workforce, encouraging innovation, deploying broadband and bridging the digital divide.

You will find an “ecosystem” of communities, universities and venture capitalists supporting a pervasive entrepreneurial culture.

The University of Waterloo’s Research + Technology Park

The David Johnston Research + Technology Park is one of the newest research parks in Canada and is uniquely located on the University of Waterloo’s North Campus. Designed to accommodate 1.2 million square feet of office space on 120-acres (49 hectares), the Research Park will house thousands of researchers, create new technology jobs, and generate billions of dollars in economic impact.

The Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre (AC) is a world-renowned, award-winning network of facilities dedicated to developing and commercializing technology startups.

The AC provides an essential combination of in-house mentorship, educational programming, facilities, networking, and access to funding and facility services with a goal of building successful companies. Their in-depth programming, unique accountability model, and long-term view (up to three years) distinguishes them from other accelerators and incubators within the Canadian commercialization landscape.

The AC helps entrepreneurs move from start-up to scale-up, accelerates their time to market, and helps them attract customers, investment and revenue.


Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs who wanted to raise the profile of the Waterloo Region tech community. Their vision: more tech talent, a globally-recognized tech sector and better support for companies.

Today, Communitech is an industry-led innovation centre that supports, fosters and celebrates a community of nearly 1,000 tech companies. We support companies at all stages of growth and development—from startups to rapidly-growing mid-sized companies and large global players—and we have fun doing it.

Waterloo EDC

Waterloo EDC is an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded primarily by the Region of Waterloo, the Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge and the townships of Wilmot, Woolwich, Wellesley and North Dumfries. Waterloo EDC is the first point of contact for companies of all sectors wishing to locate, relocate or expand in the Waterloo Region.

Waterloo EDC will foster, support and help deliver a coordinated and integrated approach to economic development in Waterloo Region. Waterloo EDC’s vision is to be locally rooted, internationally competitive and globally renowned through achievement of four strategic goals of being the premier location for innovation and entrepreneurship; being the most competitive location for new and expanding companies and institutions; being a resilient, engaged and dynamic economic ecosystem; and being a community of choice for talented people.