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Ontario’s advanced network hosts leaders in research, education and innovation at the 2011 ORION Summit

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(TORONTO) – Join distinguished Canadian and global leaders and innovators as they gather at the 2011 ORION Summit to discuss new and innovative technologies that are transforming the way we conduct research, collaborate, teach and learn.

Innovation Needs a Backbone is the theme of this year’s annual ORION Summit, taking place April 18 and 19 at the MaRS Centre in downtown Toronto.

Opening the ORION Summit is Peter Nowak, award-winning journalist specializing in technology and its effect on culture. He is also author of the 2010 book, Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Created Technology as We Know It. Nowak will be discussing how much of the technology we enjoy today, from cold medicine to Google, can be traced back to the military, pornography and the fast food industry.

Kicking off the second day of the Summit is Daneal Charney, author and Gen Y “guru” who develops unconventional ways to integrate the next generation of leaders. Charney’s keynote, Gen Y Calling: 3 Strategies to Harness the Most Underutilized Generation Ever, will discuss why young workers feel worlds apart from their employers, and how to use this knowledge to coax them into higher productivity and engagement.

Dr. Gilles Patry, the fourth President the CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, will be giving a keynote presentation over lunch on the 19th. Dr. Patry will give the national perspective on research and innovation funding and speak about how Canada ranks globally in driving innovation. He will also touch on the topic of research commercialization and linking centres of excellence with post-secondary institutions and businesses.

Breakout sessions will cover exciting topics such as: colleges and applied research, digital media commercialization, supercomputing, new technologies for teaching and learning in the K-12 classroom, and Ontario’s strategy for commercializing innovation, as well cloud-based email for research and education, online and virtual learning environments, and using cloud-based services for research.

A few sessions will focus on services that ORION offers its connected institutions. These sessions will present a discussion on the experiences of early adopters with these new services. Furthermore, Summit delegates can enjoy an overview of ORION’s 100G network upgrade that is currently being deployed, in the session Size Does Matter: 100G and What You Can Do with It.

Closing keynote, Dr. Aled Edwards, Chief Executive of the Structural Genomics Consortium will be discussing the newly formed “open access” business space and how it is creating new opportunities for commercialization, specifically relating to Ontario as a cultural and business force in the drug discovery sector.

This year’s Summit has been made possible with the help of ORION’s host partner MaRS and Gold sponsors CANARIE, Canada’s advanced research and innovation network, and Rogers. Other sponsors include: Alcatel-Lucent, Colleges Ontario and Cisco at the Silver level; Cogent Communications, Ciena, RIM, Radiant, Bell, Compute/Calcul Canada, SHARCNET, HPCVL and SciNet at the Bronze level.