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In the room: a 360-degree look at Waterloo’s R&D centres

360-degree tours of eight research labs working on technological, advanced manufacturing and automotive applications in Waterloo.

Waterloo’s international reputation is built on tech talent and tech companies, for good reason. This is one of North America’s most exciting emerging tech hubs.

However, it is possible that our community’s greatest comparative global advantage is research. In a measure of pure research output, we compete with far larger tech hubs like Austin, Pittsburgh and Columbus. If you look at research output on a per capita basis, we easily outpace even the largest and most renowned research communities in North America, including the Bay Area and Boston.

Where is this research happening?

At our three post-secondary institutes – the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. In total, Waterloo has about 150 different research centres, groups and institutes working in a broad array of areas, from robotics and artificial intelligence to theoretical physics and food processing.

Take an immersive look at eight of Waterloo’s R&D centres:

Waterloo RoboHub

A state-of-the-art robotics research, testing and training facility, the Waterloo RoboHub enables innovative research on multi-robot and human-robot teams with its unique fleet of fixed-base, wheeled, humanoid, aerial and magnetically-levitated robots. The RoboHub’s core research team has forged a wide range of local, national and international collaborations in academia and industry, bringing together researchers, universities and robotics companies from around the world.

Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Recycling Technologies Centre

Building on Conestoga College’s unique strengths in engineering and information technology, the Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Recycling Technologies Centre (SMART Centre) focuses on two main industry requirements within applied research: high-performance manufacturing and ICT-enabled manufacturing. The Centre provides a critical resource for local manufacturers, helping achieve performance improvements that will advance them into the next generation of manufacturing.

Autonomous Vehicle Research and Intelligence Lab

A 10-bay research and development workspace, the Autonomous Vehicle Research and Intelligence Lab (AVRIL) is involved in creating mobility solutions in automated driving, vehicle connectivity and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). AVRIL builds on the research leadership of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), which is among the largest university-based automotive research centres in Canada.

The Institute for Quantum Computing

Located at the University of Waterloo, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) is a world-leading quantum research centre advancing the field of quantum information in the pursuit of powerful new quantum technologies that will drive future economies. Transformative Quantum Technologies (TQT), a collaborative research initiative run through IQC, works with early adopters, industry and other stakeholders to develop and deploy impactful quantum devices.

IQC forms one part of Waterloo’s globally unique quantum ecosystem, where you’ll find leading quantum commercialization, experimentation and theoretical research centres within a few kilometres of each other.

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Speaking of Waterloo’s quantum ecosystem, Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest independent theoretical physics research hub. A leading centre of research, training and educational outreach, Perimeter is advancing our understanding of the universe at the most fundamental level, stimulating the breakthroughs that could transform our future.

Lazaridis School of Business & Economics

One of the most prestigious and selective business schools in Canada, the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University develops leaders with skills in management and economics for a rapidly changing and complex global environment. Named for BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis, the School puts a particular emphasis on technology management, effectively supplying Waterloo’s dynamic tech ecosystem with the talent needed to grow and scale.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab

Launched in 2018, the Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab (VARLab) at Conestoga College specializes in creating unique training solutions for industry partners, developing new academic learning experiences and exploring new technology and trends in virtual and augmented reality.

Institute for Food Processing Technology

Unlike any facility in Canada, the Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT) meets the needs of the food and beverage manufacturing industry by providing education, training, research and technical expertise. The Institute includes a pilot plant with bakery, beverage and fresh vegetable lines, as well as cleaning and sanitation equipment – all for student training – and a food testing laboratory.

For more in-depth information about Waterloo research capacity, talent and ecosystem, please download our Economic Guide.

Want to learn more?

Waterloo has more than one hundred research centres, groups and institutes working on everything from nanoscale materials to cybersecurity to artificial intelligence. Want to figure out which one you could work with?