Queen’s University has officially joined the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) adding its unique research, technology development and demonstration facilities to the 10-member network.

The SOWC works with private sector and academic partners to advance innovative water technologies to commercialization by providing funding and access to real-world facilities.

“The partnerships we have with post-secondary institutions play a vital role in our goal to support development of innovative water technologies,” says Brenda Lucas, SOWC Executive Director. “We are pleased about Queen’s University joining SOWC and excited to be able to broaden our capacity with the addition of the school’s facilities and researchers.”

Queen’s footprint in water technology research includes more than 50 faculty researchers, most of whom are part of The Water Research Centre at Queen’s.

“The Water Research Centre represents researchers from many disciplines across campus,” says Director Dr. Kent Novakowski. “Our diversity of membership represents an ideal environment for collaboration and we are excited to explore the partnerships afforded by the SOWC.”

Several of Queen’s unique facilities will expand SOWC’s current offerings. They include Canada’s largest academic coastal engineering lab, an internationally-recognized field station for ecology research, as well as more than 30 recent private sector collaborators in water technology, demonstration and commercialization.

“Our membership with the SOWC presents Queen’s researchers with new opportunities for funding and partnerships with industry, and access to highly specialized infrastructure,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research).

SOWC reduces the barriers to commercializing promising technologies in water treatment, conservation and monitoring by matching private sector innovators with academic collaborators. The partners can then apply for funding to demonstrate new water technologies and gain access to a wide range of special testing and development facilities managed by consortium members.

“An important component to moving technology into the marketplace is connecting industry with researchers who can help in the development, testing and demonstration,” says Lucas.

“As a member in SOWC, we are also very pleased to make available to the consortium members, and their partners, access to the world-class research and research facilities at Queen’s,” says Dr. Liss. “We look forward to collaborating on innovative technologies, with academic and industrial partners, to solve water challenges and advance marketable solutions.”


Queen’s Coastal Engineering Laboratory, which is the largest university hydraulics laboratory in the country. The facility includes several laboratories across campus as well as an off-campus stormwater pond. This infrastructure provides researchers with the technology required to study coastal engineering, natural channel design, sediment transport and solid-liquid pipeline flow. One of the unique aspects of this laboratory is a 1,860 square-metre facility dedicated to coastal engineering problems. This space has three 61-metre long wave flumes and one 30.5-metre long wave flume, a coastal models basin, an oscillating water tunnel and closed pipelines. This infrastructure enables researchers to tackle a broad range of water issues including river engineering, lake dynamics, water supply systems and landslides.

The university is also home to the Queen’s University Biological Station, an internationally-recognized ecology research facility located on the shores of Lake Opinicon, one of the lakes of the Rideau Canal. Spanning more than 3,200 hectares, the field station is made up of 32 buildings, six small lakes and extensive shoreline. The facility has a fleet of boats, reference collections, audiovisual equipment, computer rooms and optical and electronic equipment including an automated weather station. It is geared towards multi-disciplinary field work and is used by researchers from across the globe and by the University for teaching and research purposes.

Most recently Queen’s University, in conjunction with CMC Microsystems, launched the Kingston Nano-Fabrication Lab. Built in 2015, this state-of-the-art facility supports the prototyping of micro and nanoscale devices in the MEMs, microfluidics and microelectronics verticals. The laboratory is geared towards research into water sensors and water quality lab-on-chip technologies which require highly flexible, low-scale fabrication platforms for early proof-of-concept manufacturing and first prototypes.

In addition to the school’s water-focused facilities and laboratories, Queen’s University is partnered with several facilities specifically equipped to assist broad-based technology commercialization. These include Innovation Park at Queen’s, a regional technology convergence centre hosting technology startup companies, economic development facilities and business service offices.

“SOWC is looking forward to working alongside Queen’s University and its other partners to continue leveraging SOWC’s unique capacity as a platform for water innovation.”