George Brown food research lab receives $1.75M for product development innovation 

FIRSt researcher holding up a beaker

George Brown College is proud to announce that the Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt) has received additional Technology Access Centre (TAC) funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). This renewed TAC funding for FIRSt represents an investment of $1.75 million over five years.  

FIRSt will expand its research and development efforts, furthering its mission to help food and beverage businesses test and develop their products. In supporting the food and beverage sector's growth in Toronto and beyond, FIRSt and its researchers help to enable innovators to contribute to our country's economy, creating jobs, and providing benefits across their supply and value chains. 

“With renewed TAC funding from NSERC, we’ll be able to provide meaningful research experiences to a diverse and growing number of GBC students and serve more small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with our expert innovation services,” says Dan Reilly, Director of FIRSt. 

“Ontario’s food and beverage industry is constantly growing and changing, but companies need to be able to innovate quickly and cost-effectively to remain competitive and sustainable. That’s where FIRSt can help.” 

FIRSt was launched as a TAC in 2012 in direct response to the market gap for affordable and accessible commercialization services in the food and beverage sector. Over the past decade, FIRSt has worked with over 500 partners, 70 per cent of these being private sector SMEs, to develop and improve over 1,400 products. 

“As a long-time leader in hospitality and culinary training, George Brown sees food and beverage innovation as a major priority area for today and for future competitiveness and job creation across the sector,” says Dr. Gervan Fearon, President of George Brown College. “From its hands-on student learning to its industry-guided service offerings, FIRSt provides a vital and otherwise under-served component for the success of Ontario’s food and beverage sector. With this renewal, George Brown is strongly positioned to support industry innovation in Toronto and beyond.” 

About FIRSt  

FIRSt is a Technology Access Centre that supports the food and beverage sector with scientific R&D services from our lab at George Brown College. We work with our clients to troubleshoot product development challenges and help them bring new ideas to market. Learn more.   

About the TAC Program

The Technology Access Centres (TAC) program is run by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. These TACs are specialized centres of expertise intended to provide timely research and innovation support to a college’s community organizations from the private, public, health care or not-for-profit sectors.