LOOKNorth is a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) under the Government of Canada`s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program; it is hosted by C‑CORE and is dedicated to remote sensing innovation. LOOKNorth networks Canadian remote sensing innovators and provides a bridge to commercial markets through a combination of remote sensing technology and demonstration expertise, project management support, continuous engagement with end users to understand market needs, and business development support.
In addition to fostering innovation in remote sensing technologies and applications, LOOKNorth is working with Canada’s leading satellite SMEs to define and successfully execute missions relevant to industry and communities, with Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) to support Canada’s UAS sector and advance beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, and with stakeholders in Canada’s Northern Communities to help build capacity in remote sensing technologies/services.
Established in 2011 with an initial five-year funding commitment of $7.1 million from the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada`s NCE program, in 2015 LOOKNorth was awarded extended funding for an additional four years. To date, the Centre has leveraged NCE's initial investment to attract an additional $21M, enabling it to support 48 technology SMEs and 12 universities in 35 projects. This investment has helped commercialize 24 new technologies, and is forecast to generate over $80M in direct and indirect economic activity, as well as 660 person-years of continued, re-oriented or new positions in Canada’s remote monitoring solutions industry.
During LOOKNorth’s Phase One (2011-2015) the Centre worked with end users in the oil & gas, mining, hydro-power and transportation sectors to identify their monitoring needs. Through a nation-wide call for proposal process, the Centre identified Canadian remote sensing technologies that could provide solutions, created a partner network of SMEs and academic researchers, and initiated demonstration projects to promote their solutions.
LOOKNorth’s Extension Phase focuses on commercialization of the partner network’s monitoring solutions and delivery of remote sensing services, particularly for the resource sector and the Arctic. Where necessary and requested, the Centre provides business development services to support SME commercialization, as well as access to the LOOKNorth commercialization platform for automated data fusion and service delivery.
Reports of early SME follow-on sales are nearing $3M. Investment in the SMEs is considerably more; SMEs are reporting that involvement in the LOOKNorth network has resulted in approximately $40M additional equity/partner investment to date.