When it opens this fall, the Productivity and Innovation Centre (PIC) will be the place where Alberta organizations will come to be more innovative, productive and, ultimately, competitive.
Home to many of NAIT's applied research centres and technology adoption, product and business innovation solutions, the building will embody the polytechnic’s long-standing relationship with industry.
“NAIT works with industry partners in their pursuit to be globally competitive,” says Dr. Glenn Feltham, president and CEO. “We know that when industry succeeds, so do we all. NAIT’s industry solutions benefit all Albertans by creating a strong and prosperous economy. This is fundamental to our vision.”
Inside the building
As NAIT’s front door to industry, PIC will provide an environment where clients, partners and staff can collaborate under one roof.
A number of NAIT’s existing industry solutions, which are currently dispersed across different locations, will move into the centre later this year.
Other services will remain in their current location, including the Boreal Research Institute. With all, an integrated approach will ensure the needs of clients and partners are put first.
Fountain Tire CEO Brent Hesje says NAIT’s industry solutions helped the company adapt and implement new technologies.
“The productivity education that our people received helped Fountain Tire improve operating costs, enhance our competitiveness and improve our overall productivity,” Hesje says. The former NAIT board chair now sits on the industry advisory council for PIC.
Funding for PIC was made possible from the Government of Canada, which committed $34.98 million through its Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
A design in keeping with a polytechnic environment
Nearing completion at the eastern edge of Main Campus, the new building is clad in concrete, steel and glass to reflect a modern, innovative architectural style.
“We selected materials that were not only clean and modern, but also spoke to some of the technologies found inside the building,” says Peter Osborne, partner at GEC architecture, the firm that designed the building.
For example, the steel panels in the building’s atrium and concrete panels on the exterior were produced using some of the same machines found inside the centre.
This technology will be housed in a large and open wing, along with other state-of-the-art equipment that supports technology adoption and product innovation services to help Alberta businesses compete globally.
The building’s second wing, a four-storey tower, will provide:
- spaces for analytical research
- flexible spaces for client training and business innovation services
- client workspaces
- offices spaces
- café and rooftop patio
“It was really important that the architecture reflects the polytechnic environment,” Osborne adds. “That was a big part of the building’s story in our minds.”
NAIT's Industry Solutions
- Technology adoption: NAIT works with organizations on the adoption of new and innovative technologies, including, computer-integrated manufacturing, programmable logic controllers, industrial automation, robotics, automation and control, leading-edge software and digital solutions.
- Product innovation: NAIT helps organizations imagine, develop and test new products and improve existing products through access to leading-edge lab and testing facilities, research and the support of a dedicated team of experts.
- Business innovation: NAIT’s productivity solutions – education, training and consulting – support innovative ways of thinking and working.
- Industry-driven applied research: NAIT helps organizations solve problems that matter to them, and to Alberta. PIC will be home to the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability and the Centre for Sensors and System Integration, and will provide future space for applied research focused on construction, water technologies, distributed energy, advanced manufacturing and effective resource management.