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Past Winner
2021 NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation

Synergy Award for Innovation

Cynthia Goh

Synergy Award for Innovation

Category: Small and Medium-Sized Companies

University of Toronto
Vive Crop Protection

For over a decade, the thriving partnership between the University of Toronto’s Dr. Cynthia Goh and Vive Crop Protection, a developer of leading agricultural products, has resulted in breakthrough science that has enabled the precision delivery of pesticides to enhance production while reducing environmental impact. The success of their partnership has led to seven products currently available in the agricultural market that are used on well over a million acres around the world.

In 2004, the Goh research group discovered a simple approach to making nanoparticles based on her fundamental research on the control of polymer structures in solution. This breakthrough means that now a wide range of nanomaterials—metals, alloys, oxides, quantum dots, photocatalysts and more—can be produced in water and under regular temperature and pressure conditions.

Vive Crop Protection saw the potential for Goh’s innovation to develop new products that aligned with its “precision chemistry” approach, which aims to make existing chemical and biological active ingredients better, more effective and more targeted. The company launched its first product incorporating Goh’s research in 2017, and its success made Vive one of the fastest growing companies in Canada by 2020. Since then, the partners have created 34 additional patents accomplished jointly. The collaboration has also proven to be an inspiration for innovation: Goh has guided the early phases of over 140 student-led start-ups using her success with Vive Crop Protection as a model.

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