Hamilton's academic institutions partner with City to launch CityLAB
McMaster is partnering with the City of Hamilton as well as Mohawk College and Redeemer College to launch CityLAB, an innovation hub where students, city staff and community stakeholders will co-create solutions that support the city’s strategic priorities.
Following on a worldwide movement to create more meaningful learning experiences to engage young people, CityLAB Hamilton will offer post-secondary students the chance to collaborate, design, launch and test real projects that address issues confronting Hamilton (e.g.: climate change, healthy neighbourhoods, municipal excellence).
"Every day McMaster students, faculty and staff work to make Hamilton a better and more vibrant city," says University President Patrick Deane. "By partnering with the City and our sister institutions, CityLAB provides students with opportunities to tackle real issues and challenges facing Hamiltonians, and to work together towards a healthier, more inclusive and more successful Hamilton for everyone.”
Project benefits are numerous for the student participants, the academic institutions, the City of Hamilton and the broader community:
- Students gain new skills, a tangible connection to their city, and employment opportunities after graduation
- The schools are able to build new bridges across disciplines and work together for the benefit of the community
- City staff are exposed to new ideas that support strategic priorities and the overall sustainability and livability of Hamilton
“CityLAB Hamilton offers a win-win-win scenario to all players, and it ultimately benefits the community through innovative projects that advance the strategic priorities of the City," says Mayor Fred Eisenberger. "I am thrilled that Hamilton is the next city to harness this growing global trend of harnessing the brightest post-secondary minds to improve our city.”
The pilot program will run until December 2019, and the learning environment and innovation lab will be located at the former Canadian Football Hall of Fame building.
Since the formal signing of the CityLAB agreement between the City and institutions at the end of March 2017, next steps will see renovations at the Hall of Fame to meet current building standards and CityLAB space requirements. The innovation hub will have a fully accessible, open concept floor plan allowing for student lectures, project work and innovation workshops.
A CityLAB Project Manager has been hired. Patrick Byrne is currently on leave from his PhD studies in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster. Mr. Byrne brings extensive experience as an innovative experiential and interdisciplinary educator, previously serving at Sheridan College and for three years as the Program Coordinator for the McMaster Discovery Program, a non-credit, university-level course for adults in Hamilton who have experienced barriers to higher education.