Pioneering partnership model in the McMaster innovation ecosystem
February 13, 2017
McMaster University’s innovative (or groundbreaking?) experimental co-location between an academic research centre and a rapidly growing startup company has begun to yield successes.
The university’s Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC, which is a research centre in the Faculty of Engineering, shares space with its founding industry partner Cinnos Mission Critical Inc. at the McMaster Innovation Park. CIRC’s team of researchers and students are focused on developing cutting-edge technologies for data centres. Cinnos is a technology start-up forged in the McMaster Innovation Ecosystem, and designs and sells appliances for rapid, low cost, and highly efficient deployment of scalable data centre facilities.
Breaking with the traditional industry-academic research paradigm, Cinnos and McMaster decided to collocate their resources by forming CIRC. The space is designed such that researchers and students at CIRC mingle freely with Cinnos entrepreneurs, enabling a close alignment between the market opportunities and customer needs of the industry with research and technology. This seamless collaboration between the two organizations has already brought tremendously successful products into the market place, such as the Cinnos flagship Smart MCX, the world`s first data centre in a box, as well as the Smart MC-M, a modular, data-driven, intelligent monitoring system for computing facilities.
“CIRC is founded on a pioneering model of university-industry collaboration,” says Suvojit Ghosh, the centre’s co-founder and Executive Director. “It magnifies the impact of research, through accelerated translation of research for both economic and societal benefits, in a competitive real-world environment. Further, our students not only get a deep and meaningful research experience, but they also learn about the importance of the customer needs and market opportunities in defining and driving that research. These are things that could not happen if CIRC and Cinnos did not share the same space and similar visions.”
“Thanks to our innovative model, Cinnos proprietary MCX has sales both in Canada and internationally in less than 18 months from our inception. In addition, we have recently raised over $2M in financing to fund our global expansion. We simply could not have achieved this feat without the world-class team of CIRC and the strong and unwavering support from McMaster University and the Faculty of Engineering”, said Hussam Haroun, CEO and co-founder of Cinnos, and among the architects of CIRC.
With ambitions to be a global leader in the data centre industry, Cinnos envisioned a strong R&D program from its inception. This manifested in six projects that are designed to transform archaic and wasteful practices in the data centre industry. They were architected in a close collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University. The projects are funded through over $3M committed by Cinnos, and augmented by grants from multiple Government agencies.