The MaRS Discovery District in Ontario, Canada is one of the largest technology, medical and science innovation hubs in the world. Founded as a non-profit back in 2000, MaRS is a 1.5 million square foot complex right in the center of downtown Toronto. MaRS houses dozens of cutting-edge startups and tech companies, including offices for Cisco, Siemens, Microsoft–and now Autodesk has committed to taking over 60,000 square feet of the district’s West Tower. Autodesk has also committed to working closely with MaRS Cleantech, the center’s venture services group, to provide robust software solutions to their neighboring startups.
In addition to taking over the entire second and third floors of the tower, Autodesk is expected to open a street-level location that will focus on the future of making things. This ground-level location will serve as both an event space and public design center that will allow the community to explore and interact with some of the new technologies that Autodesk has had a hand in developing. All together their new Canadian residence will be the largest Autodesk footprint that the company occupies globally.
“I am delighted to welcome Autodesk to its new home at MaRS. Autodesk’s 3D design leadership is evident in products and services around the world and across a broad range of industries, from advanced manufacturing to entertainment, from life sciences discovery to urban development. This capability is at the core of breakthrough innovation and will be incredibly valuable to our community. In addition, Autodesk has been an important partner of MaRS for many years. We know that amazing things will come from this expanded collaboration,” said the CEO of MaRS, Ilse Treurnicht.
The MaRS district is located in the center of Toronto’s Discovery District, which boasts a highly concentrated assortment of hospitals, research centers, tech companies and borders the University of Toronto. While the area used to primarily focus on medical sciences, recently it has grown to include diverse industries in the manufacturing, media, consumer products and product life-cycle management sectors. Autodesk sees their move to MaRS as a strategic one that will make them a part of Canada’s rapidly growing technology and medical research communities.
“We’re thrilled to be moving to MaRS to be in close proximity to leading research groups and incredible talent. MaRS is the heart of Toronto’s innovation scene where discoveries are translated into practical application, from the first use of insulin in the early 20th century to advances in stem cells and regenerative medicine today. Our new space will also be open to give creators in the community access to a collaborative environment. We intend to be a greater part of the community, enabling the next generation of makers and doers to push their crafts into new and unexpected directions with our design tools,” explained Gordon Kurtenbach, senior director of research at Autodesk.
The award winning Autodesk Research division, who will be moving to the new location as well, has already had a presence in Toronto for fifteen years and is currently working on developing scalable smart infrastructure and has been closely working with several Canadian companies to help solve their design challenges. Recently University of Toronto researchers worked closely with Autodesk to develop a new low-cost, 3D printed prosthetic limb socket. Autodesk software was also used to construct North America’s very first fully digital hospital, Toronto’s Humber River Hospital. Additionally, Autodesk’s Toronto office was the pioneering team that developed their popular SketchBook painting and drawing application.
As part of MaRS, Autodesk will be in a unique position to work with an even wider range of industries, businesses and researchers than ever before. The hope is that they will work together to develop new manufacturing solutions, further developing the Internet of Things and advancing smartphone technology and products.
“Collaboration is at the heart of many incredible Ontario success stories. We are so pleased to welcome Autodesk to the MaRS Discovery District and look forward to seeing the exciting partnerships fostered by their close proximity to much of Ontario’s best research and innovation talent. I would like to personally welcome Autodesk and wish them all the best as they embark on this exciting new phase,” said Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, Reza Moridi.
Autodesk will also be collaborating with the MaRS startup support group MaRS Cleantech to act as a business mentor and offer free access to Autodesk’s design and visualization software solutions. At a value of over $100,000 per company, this collaboration is going to be huge for often cash-poor startups and new businesses. What are your thoughts on this move by Autodesk? Let us know in the Autodesk MaRS forum thread on 3DPB.com.