Within the scope of the election campaign, it was necessary to take the pulse of the various candidates in the riding of Orford in preparation for the upcoming election, and to assess the political support for financial commitment for the flagship project, an applied research centre for the rubber industry, in Magog. This is what Mr. Arbour and Mr. Robichaud set out to do. Several meetings have been held in recent months between Mr. Paul Arbour, Director of the Valley, Mr. Claude Robichaud, Chairman of the Board, and key stakeholders within the various levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal) as well as private sector funders, to promote the project to develop a Research Centre. All Elastomer Valley member companies and others strongly support this ambitious project. Companies will also provide major financial support.

This ambitious project will enable the first Elastomer Research Centre in Canada to be established in Magog. The other major centre is located in Akron, Ohio, in the United States. The Research Centre will address the numerous needs and challenges facing firms in the elastomer and polymer sectors, helping to develop technologies that will improve productivity and profitability for our firms. In this way, Quebec firms will be able to stand out and increase added value for their products. The first clients will be members of the Valley, but the doors will be open for other collaborative initiatives.

This project is part of the Innovation axis of the Elastomer Valley’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. It should be remembered that a feasibility study was conducted in 2016 by the firm Deloitte, which clearly demonstrated the need and viability for this centre. The firm also indicated that only 33% of the firms working in the elastomer sector include employees focussing on R&D. For many others, one of the major challenges to the implementation of a project like this is certainly the development of new eco-friendly technologies to reduce the environmental footprint. In addition, the Centre will provide a variety of services such as formula development, testing, problem solving, diagnostics and much more.

The project delivery could be announced in the spring of 2019.