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Key research component of the Beacon Project unveiled today at the 2005 Ontario Economic Summit

New Automotive Centre of Excellence will have a major impact on Ontario's research agenda

OSHAWA, Ont. - A key research component of the Beacon Project, the largest and most comprehensive automotive investment in Canadian history1, was unveiled today at the 2005 Ontario Economic Summit. As part of the project, an Automotive Centre of Excellence, to be created at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa, will significantly advance Ontario's research agenda and narrow the gap toward its commercialization.

"As the cornerstone of the Beacon Project, the creation of the new Automotive Centre of Excellence is a vital element in the province's automotive strategy. Our vision is to work closely with our founding partners - the Government of Ontario and General Motors of Canada, Ltd., to unite the best of the automotive sector with one clear objective - to enhance our competitiveness globally," said Dr. Gary Polonsky, president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College.

Scheduled to open in December 2007, the Automotive Centre of Excellence will feature a climatic wind tunnel, as well as other key research facilities. "This facility is being designed to facilitate the commercialization of academic research in automotive design and engineering, and to respond dynamically to the needs of the automotive industry, including engineering support functions such as design, rapid prototyping, fabrication, testing and analysis," noted Polonsky, who was joined by General Motors of Canada, Ltd., President and CEO Michael Grimaldi.

"In addition to our GM partners, our students and faculty will have access to this state-of-the-art facility," added Polonsky. This fall, UOIT introduced Canada's only Automotive Engineering degree and enrolment exceeded a projected 60 students, reaching 72 first-year students. A graduate program in Mechanical Engineering is pending approval, and a graduate program in Automotive Engineering is under development. UOIT has attracted top faculty who have expertise in automotive research and will continue to bring leading experts in this field to UOIT.

Durham College has maintained a long-standing relationship with General Motors through training GM employees at its subsidiary corporation known as the Productivity Improvement Centre. Through the creation of the Automotive Centre of Excellence, UOIT's partnership with GM will focus on taking research to the next level.

"The vitality of the automotive industry matters to each and every one of us. The province has responded through its path-breaking Automotive Investment Strategy, and so has GM with its landmark investment in the Beacon Project. At UOIT, we take our responsibility just as seriously and we intend to deliver on it," added Polonsky.

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About the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
As the province's newest university, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology provides a unique combination of academic knowledge, vibrant student life, leading-edge research, and hands-on skills. As Ontario's first laptop-based university, UOIT offers career-focused undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business and information technology, sciences, engineering, nursing, social science, and education. The university is committed to research excellence and has attracted significant research grants and awards including a Tier 1 Research Chair. Sharing facilities and selected services with Durham College, UOIT has attracted over 3,000 students since its inception in 2003. To find out more, visit or call 905.721.8668.


About Durham College
For 38 years, Durham College has been committed to providing job-focused programs, accomplished professors, quality-driven innovation, student success and superior accountability. Our college has ranked first in provincial indicators for student satisfaction in the GTA for six years running, and at an 89.7 per cent grad employment rate, we have the highest ranking of the six GTA colleges. We've got over 5,800 full-time and 23,000 part-time students enrolled in just under 100 programs, as well as about 2,000 apprentices. For more information, visit our website at, or call 905.721.2000.


1Industry Canada, website:

For a copy of remarks by Dr. Gary Polonsky, click:

About Ontario Tech University
A modern, forwarding-thinking university, Ontario Tech advances the discovery and application of knowledge to accelerate economic growth, regional development and social innovation. We inspire and equip our students and our graduates to make a positive impact in a tech-focused world. For us, it’s not only about developing the next tech breakthrough. Understanding and integrating the social and ethical implications of technology differentiates us as university. Learn more at

Media contact
Heather Middleton
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
905.721.8668 ext. 2197