Overview and FAQs

Information for Companies

Tap into Dalhousie’s brain power

Our team can help your company:

  • Build the right research team for your needs.
  • Facilitate the development of research, service, and license agreements with Dalhousie researchers to maximize the value of your company’s R&D budget. 
  • Connect with highly qualified Dalhousie students if you’re looking to add new talent to your team.

We're knowledgeable, approachable, and committed to building lasting and mutually benifical relationships. Learn more about the OCIE team here.

On this page, we cover:

Overview: Research Strengths and Applications

Innovation thrives at Dalhousie — a university with over 200 years of history and a commitment to growing the Atlantic Canadian economy.

As a member of Canada’s U15 group, Dalhousie is a top Canadian research university that conducts over $181-million in research annually. With partnerships around the world, our research community boasts the talent and creativity needed to address real-world problems.

The Dal research community is especially well-positioned to help companies working in the following areas:

  • Sustainable Ocean 
  • Healthy People, Healthy Communities, Healthy Populations
  • Clean Tech, Energy, The Environment
  • Culture, Society, Community Development
  • Food Security 
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Big Data

Browse our collection of success stories to learn more about commercialization and tech transfer activity at Dal.

Sustainable Ocean 

The ocean is integral to Canada’s economy, culture, transportation and sustenance. Dalhousie has established itself as a world leader in ocean research, and from innovative tracking of marine species to ocean governance, our ocean researchers drive breakthrough discoveries every day. Dalhousie’s multidisciplinary approach and involvement in international research projects like the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI); Ocean Tracking Network (OTN); Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR), and others allows Dalhousie researchers to contribute to the most pressing ocean challenges of our time.

Research in this area includes:

  • Changing climate effects on the ocean
  • Sustainable aquaculture and agro-ecosystems
  • Sensors, analytics and autonomous vehicles
  • Ocean engineering, networks, communications, materials and tidal energy
  • Marine and environmental law, policy and governance
  • Cultural and social development of coastal landscapes and communities
  • Marine risk evaluation

Healthy People, Healthy Communities, Healthy Populations

From world-leading vaccine research to the investigation of the social, cultural and environmental determinants of health and wellness, Dalhousie’s approach to health research is grounded in an understanding that the health of individuals, communities and populations are interconnected and interdependent. Dalhousie is the major training centre in the Maritimes for life sciences, health professions, and health law and policy research personnel. Researchers in this area span several faculties at Dal and collaborate across provincial health departments, hospitals, research institutes and research foundations too.

Research in this area includes:

  • Infection, immunity, inflammation and vaccinology 
  • Genomics, bioinformatics and health 
  • Community, population, and Indigenous health and well-being
  • Primary and continuing care transformation
  • Mental health, resilience, and health equity
  • Chronic disease prevention, treatment and management across the lifespan
  • Body function and mobility
  • Neuroscience and brain function
  • Health data analytics, artifical intelligence and technologies
  • Critical health, health law, health policy and bioethics

*Many Dal researchers have cross-appointments in one of two (or both) regional teaching hospitals (The QEII Health Sciences Centre and the IWK Health Centre).

Clean Tech, Energy, The Environment

Managing and developing new and renewable energy resources while minimizing their environmental impact is one of our world’s most pressing challenges. Dalhousie is a national and international leader in advanced materials and clean technology research, with world-renowned researchers developing products that improve performance, productivity and efficiency while at the same time reducing costs, energy consumption and waste.

Research in this area includes:

  • Renewable energy generation, storage and fuels 
  • Energy security
  • Clean water, clean soil, clean air
  • Clean and NextGen materials
  • Sensors, artifical intelligence and data streams
  • Social and biophysical dimensions of resource and environmental sustainability  

Culture, Society, Community Development

How does social justice define what we do? What can we do to amplify marginalized voices? How can digital media be harnessed to create community? These are just some of the questions being tackled by Dalhousie researchers, as they use their research to inform our most pressing conversations about culture and community. The interdisciplinary nature of this area engages all faculties across the university.

Research in this area includes:

  • Culture and identity
  • Ethics and social justice
  • Reconciliation and Indigenous peoples
  • Governance, security and global affairs
  • Building diverse, sustainable, responsible, smart organizations and communities
  • Artificial intelligence, privacy, ethics, and social impact
  • Immigration and migration settlement and integration
  • Development of Indigenous and rural communities

Food Security

Access to sustainable, secure food resources poses challenges and creates instability around the globe. Dalhousie researchers are creating solutions that emerge from a deep understanding of local food issues, which can also provide potential solutions for global food challenges.

Research in this area includes:

  • Sustainable aquaculture and agro-ecosystems
  • Applied molecular biology, genomics and biotechnology
  • Marine biodiversity and wild catch fisheries
  • Bio-products and bio-resources
  • Agri-food economics, business, trade and marketing
  • International development, agriculture, and food technology
  • Food policy, access and distribution

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dalhousie’s strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship facilitate opportunities for collaboration between companies and university researchers and help drive the commercialization of research.

Research in this area includes:

  • Technical leadership and innovation management
  • Software design for rapid innovation
  • Disrupting through innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable and social entrepreneurship
  • Business law 

Big Data

Dalhousie’s expertise in the collection, use, analysis and interpretation of big data enables new opportunities for research, analysis and insight across all of the research strengths at the university. 

Research in this area includes:

  • Data science
  • Machine learning, analytics and big data
  • Information systems, cloud and web-scale computing
  • Data-driven decision- and policy-making; social, behavioral, and business analytics; and the management of data 
  • Law, technology, and ethical use of data

You can learn more about the university’s research strengths on Dal’s Research and Innovation website.


Working with the Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE)

Our team facilitates all of the university’s industrial research and service transactions with the private sector, and we aim to make those as transparent and frictionless as possible.

We work hard to understand your company’s:

  • culture and goals
  • timelines and R&D requirements
  • challenges and opportunities
  • existing products, services and processes

Your company’s needs shape a tailored and mutually beneficial approach research collaboration opportunities with Dalhousie.

You can count on our team to:

  • work on behalf of the researchers and you to establish a successful partnership.
  • assign you a specific OCIE manager to maintain consistency in communication as it relates to your project.
  • help, where possible, to identify relevant funding sources that can support your company’s partnership with the university.

You may be interested to learn more about the processes we follow for different kinds of partnership agreements. That information can be found under the Resources section.

Contact us if you want to take the next step toward a university-industry partnership.


Frequently Asked Questions

Find a glossary of subject matter terms here.

Why partner with Dalhousie on research and service projects?

We’re one of Canada’s Top 15 research-intensive universities (i.e. a member of Canada's U15 group). Our researchers include prominent faculty and driven students who are at the forefront of their respective fields, leading the way in areas like ocean science and technology, renewable energy, medical research and more.

University innovations can help companies become more competitive and/or efficient, while researchers can introduce companies to the latest discoveries, methods, and up-and-coming research talent.

Browsing our collection of success stories can give you a sense of the value that partnering with Dalhousie can add to your business operations.  

My company wants to pursue a research collaboration. How do we get started?

We're eager to hear from you! 

Assuming you don’t have a researcher/team in mind for a collaboration already, we’ll start by meeting with you to discuss your goals, learn about your company, and determine how a Dalhousie research team might help.

If you’re looking for a more general overview of research at Dal, we can also arrange to deliver a presentation to your company at a time that works for you.

Contact us — we’re here to help.  

My company has a research collaboration in mind and we’ve identified a Dalhousie researcher we’d like to work with. What do we do now?

We'll be happy to introduce you to the researcher and set up an initial meeting. 

The OCIE team is involved in the development of any and all types of research-related industry partnership agreements with Dalhousie researchers.

I already know a researcher and we’ve discussed a potential partnership. What happens now?

We're here to help. If you're still in the initial discussion stages of a collaboration, you can bring OCIE in when you want to share more sensitive information with researchers through a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). We can also help with the next steps of building a collaborative research relationship.

In addition, we can provide ongoing advice throughout your conversations. Either way, OCIE will be prepared to support your company and our researcher through to the next steps should you both decide to formalize a partnership.

What kind of companies typically partner with Dalhousie on research?

Our research partners fit into the following categories:

  • Small-medium size enterprises (SMEs)
  • Startup companies
  • Large corporations
  • Multinational corporations
  • Businesses based locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally

There is no company too small or large for a research partnership with Dalhousie.

Is it possible to seek a Dalhousie research team’s expertise for testing purposes only?

Our faculty and certain staff can enter into service agreements with companies that require the use of specialized equipment and the help of qualified personnel to conduct tests. Service agreements cover partnerships where the creation of intellectual property is not the ultimate goal of the collaboration.

My company has a modest R&D budget. Are there funding programs available that support industry-university research partnerships?

Yes, there are a number of funding programs available in Canada. Read our Funding Programs section to explore those options or contact us to set up a meeting with a member of our team.

My company would like to hire a summer research student/intern. Does your office help with that?

It depends on the level of research experience, skill, and training that you’re looking to add to your team.

There are multiple opportunities through both Dalhousie's co-op programs and Mitacs. We'd be happy to assist you in helping to determine the correct Dalhousie resource for your company.