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If you are interested in learning more about applied research collaborative opportunities at Seneca College, please contact for assistance.

Vanessa Williamson, Dean, Applied Research & Innovation

Vanessa brings a wealth of experience in applied research, cross-sector partnerships and research commercialization to the Applied Research and Innovation office. Throughout her career, she has led strategic partnerships with universities, hospitals, and small and mid-sized companies assisting these organizations to leverage the resources of colleges and government funding to innovate, develop products and create jobs. Vanessa joins Seneca from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) where she was the Regional Director (Central ON) of Business Development and Commercialization since 2013. She previously worked as the Executive Director at the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII). In both of these roles Vanessa has worked extensively with applied research leaders across the Ontario college sector gaining an in-depth understanding of applied research practices at Ontario's colleges. In addition, Vanessa brings extensive experience from the university sector from her time at the University of Guelph and the University of Prince Edward Island along with private sector experience in the pharmaceutical sector at NPS Pharmaceuticals. Vanessa holds a B.Sc., Chemistry and Biochemistry from University of Guelph, an M.Sc., Medical Science from McMaster University, and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business, Western University.  

As Seneca’s Dean, Applied Research and Innovation, Vanessa has responsibility for a range of applied research and innovation initiatives including: engaging students, faculty, staff and employers in applied research, securing and managing funding, administering research policies, providing effective support services, fostering public and private sector partnerships and promoting Seneca’s applied research capabilities and services to the broader community.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 77901
A: Markham Campus, 10th Floor, room M1010

Purnima Tyagi, Director, Business Development

Dr. Purnima Tyagi is the Director Business Development, Applied Research & Innovation at Seneca College. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient identification, development, and securing of external client-partners. Dr. Tyagi also oversees and fosters externally funded applied research projects. She conducts strategic analyses and outreach activities with local industry to determine applied R&D needs. Dr. Tyagi plays a critical role in selecting new applied research opportunities and developing funding proposals and building applied research capacity in Seneca College. Dr. Tyagi has extensive experience in business development and research commercialization. Throughout her career, she has contributed significantly to developing strategic partnerships with Universities, hospitals, and small and mid-sized companies; assisting these companies to leverage the resources of colleges and government funding to develop their products and create jobs.

Her most recent role was as the Innovation Program Manager (Health) at Centennial College where she built and led Centennial's digital health portfolio. It is under her leadership that Centennial College developed the prestigious Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technologies Access Centre in Healthcare (WIMTACH). Dr. Tyagi has also held roles in the applied research portfolio at Durham College and George Brown College. She has experience in managing multiple grants and initiatives, including Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Innovation Enhancement, Federal Development Technology Development Program, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Industrial Research Assistance Program for colleges and College Ontario Network of Industry Innovation. 

Dr. Tyagi has a PhD in Plant Bio Technology. She has 15 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals, and has over 30 conference and paper presentations and a chapter to her credit.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 77904
A: Markham Campus, Room 1012

Atani Gopalasingam, Budget and Accounts Officer

As the Budget and Accounts Officer at Applied Research and Innovation, Atani is responsible for project accounting and financial reporting of applied research projects funded by government grants. Atani is responsible for project budget planning, claims submission, and financial reporting duties relating to the department as well as externally funded 'research-related projects or initiatives' that are managed by the Office of Applied Research & Innovation. Atani has a Bachelor’s Degree in Administrative Studies (Honours) with a specialization in Human Resources Management.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 77906
A: Markham Campus, 10th Floor

Ralph Lisak, PhD, PMP, Research Project Manager – FASET

Ralph provides Project Management expertise to Applied Research projects at Seneca. He primarily focuses on the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Technology (FASET) where he works with Seneca students, faculty members and industry partners on developing and bringing to completion applied research projects. He also dedicates his time to supporting industry partners in their grant application process required to secure project funding. Ralph brings over 20 years of managerial and project experience in hi-tech industries and academia where he had successfully led many projects with significant levels of complexity, uncertainty, and risk. Ralph holds a Ph.D. in Microelectronics and PMP designation and is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). He volunteers his time at PMI Lakeshore Chapter.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 33023
A: Seneca@York Campus, Room T1025/ Markham Campus, 10th Floor

Dawn Mercer, PhD, Research Coordinator – CDOT

As the ARI Research Coordinator for CDOT, Dawn coordinates several research grants, and supports CDOT faculty and students in their research and project activities and in budget administration – searching out suitable industry partners and additional funding sources. CDOT R&D projects involve ongoing, close collaboration with industry partners. These projects include health related applications for mobile devices and several interactive and 3D projects for various platforms for the open Web. CDOT collaboration with the Inclusive Design Institute focuses on design and development of Web technologies for people with diverse disabilities. The current focus is on accessible development of the mobile version of BigBlueButton, an open source Web based video conferencing tool made especially for the education sector. Other important projects at CDOT include developing software adaptations for a variety of ARM devices including Raspberry Pi and the emerging technology - high capacity ARM servers. Dawn has been involved in facilitating many successful grant applications. Although Dawn’s early academic studies were in the health sciences, her Ph.D from OISE University of Toronto, specialized in the effective use of technology in education and interface design where she learned to speak the language of programmers.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 33086 / 77902
F: 416-650-9169
A: Seneca@York Campus, Room T1025

Tina Perricone, Project Manager – FCAD

Tina supports faculty engagement and applied research project activities in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Design (FCAD). She previously managed the $2.3-million multi-year NSERC Innovation Enhancement grant ‘Innovation through Simulation: Enhancing Canada's Next Generation of Pilots’ - 16 projects with a primary fous in aviation training. Tina’s responsibilities included management of industry partner relationships, planning project budgets, project reporting, reconciling research expenditures, researcher contracts, and progress tracking. Her work experience includes project management, research accounting, recruitment and selection, event planning and coordination, marketing coordination and social media. Tina holds a diploma in Creative Advertising from the Ontario College of Art & Design and completed an Advanced Project Management Certificate at Seneca. She is currently working on her PMP designation.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 77917
A: Seneca@York Campus

Geraldine Lyn-Piluso, Ed. D., Research Coordinator – FAAHS

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 55594
A: King Campus, Room GH1129

Kimberley Minott, ARI & Research Ethics Board (REB) Coordinator

Kimberley is responsible for performing a wide variety of administrative duties in support of the department. She is accountable for overall administrative support for the Office of Applied Research & Innovation (ARI), and serves as one of the first lines of contact for ARI to staff, faculty, students, and the external community. Kimberley is also responsible for coordinating the functions associated with Seneca’s Research Ethics Board (REB). She has a BSc in Environmental Biology from the University of the West Indies and completed a Liberal Arts diploma from Seneca in 2013.

T: 416-491-5050 ext. 77900
A: Markham Campus, 10th Floor