FREDERICTON (CNB) – The provincial and federal governments are working with municipal partners to support New Brunswick’s growing knowledge sector with the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Learning and Technologies (CEALT) in Fredericton.

Finance Minister Greg Byrne; National Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield, who is also the minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Atlantic Gateway; Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside; Doug Motty, executive director, Enterprise Fredericton; and Christian Couturier, director-general, National Research Council Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT), attended the announcement at the NRC-IIT facility on the University of New Brunswick (UNB) campus today.

“This centre of excellence will anchor New Brunswick’s advanced learning sector, generating new jobs and ground-breaking technology solutions for global markets,” said Byrne. “New Brunswick is already home to a growing number of leading-edge e-learning firms, online universities and an innovative research community at UNB and NRC-IIT. This organization will bring these groups together and help this sector to grow even more.”

CEALT will be managed by an interim executive director and is mandated to create business opportunities and an environment for advanced learning companies to collaborate with research groups.

CEALT will consist of partnership labs along with a research and networking centre to support the advanced learning technology cluster. These partnerships are expected to stimulate regional growth in such sectors as defence, health and energy.

“Our government recognizes the importance of investing in research and development and innovation to strengthen our capacity for world-leading research, improve commercialization, accelerate private-sector investment, enhance the ability of Canadian firms to participate in global markets, and create a more competitive business environment,” said Ashfield. “The CEALT will benefit the Fredericton and rural regions of the province of New Brunswick by supporting research and development, capacity generation and infrastructure development and providing opportunities for new graduates and companies.”

CEALT will be housed in a new 4,050-sq.-m (45,000 sq.-ft.) building to be constructed in the Fredericton Knowledge Park. This business park is targeted to companies based in research and development and the application of information technology, advanced learning, biotechnology, health care, forestry and engineering.

The building will provide office space and a collaborative environment to advanced learning firms including CAE, a world leader in modelling, simulation and training solutions for civil and defence markets.

Construction, expected to total $6.2 million, will be funded by an interest-free loan of $4.5 million from the provincial government; $1.75 million non-repayable contribution from the ACOA; and a  $600,000 non-repayable contribution from the Fredericton Knowledge Park.The City of Fredericton is contributing $750,000 to support operational costs during the start-up.

“We are pleased to support the establishment of this centre of excellence in our knowledge park,” said Woodside “Fredericton is home to more than 70 per cent of the province’s knowledge industry, and the support we are providing will help add to our reputation as one of the world’s most intelligent communities.”

In addition to contributing the interim executive director, NRC-IIT is providing infrastructure and technical expertise to support the project.

Enterprise Fredericton and UNB are contributing a combined $750,000 toward operating costs during the start-up.

“CEALT will be the catalyst for business innovation, commercialization, growth and wealth creation in the Fredericton region,” said Motty. “The knowledge park and Enterprise Fredericton are excited about the future opportunities associated with the CEALT.