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Seneca Professor David Humphrey recognized for decade-long work with Mozilla

Toronto, February 18, 2015 – Seneca College Professor David Humphrey received from the Governor General a Synergy Award for Innovation from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The Synergy Awards for Innovation were launched 20 years ago by NSERC to recognize partnerships between universities and Canadian industry. In 2014, a category for colleges was added and Humphrey is the first representative from a college to receive the award.

Presented at a ceremony at the Governor General’s residence, Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, Humphrey was acknowledged for his long-standing work with research partner and industry leader Mozilla. Students at Seneca and the high-tech company have worked together for a decade to make its popular online browser Firefox more interactive, while giving students job-ready skills in Canada’s world-leading video game sector.

“We are proud to see Professor David Humphrey and Mozilla recognized for their long-standing and innovative partnership,” said David Agnew, Seneca College President. “Seneca is committed to providing students with experiential learning opportunities throughout their education including applied research partnerships, and David’s work has been outstanding.”

“There aren’t many models for what we do, so it is a real validation to have NSERC acknowledge the work we have been doing and the value it adds to the education of our students,” said Humphrey.

Mozilla’s open source platform has made it possible for hundreds of Seneca students to contribute their own ideas and code to help make Firefox more interactive in the online media and gaming space, including:

  • developing console-like features that make it possible for online gamers to navigate 3-D environments;
  • inventing a way for web media to dynamically generate sound effects;
  • producing animated graphics within Firefox;
  • making it possible to include subtitles and captions in web videos;
  • and developing a free open source web app, called Popcorn, which allows anyone to enhance, remix and share video or audio files on the web.

More than 10 Seneca graduates now work full-time for Mozilla and are mentoring the next generation of students at the College. The success of the partnership has helped Mozilla grow its Canadian staff significantly. Since 2005, Mozilla’s Toronto office has grown from two employees to more than 80.

This research partnership continues and with new projects focused on Mozilla’s Webmaker initiative, a set of web-based tools, curriculum, and an online social platform aimed at helping teachers and students connect, teach and learn the web.


With campuses across the Greater Toronto Area and in Peterborough, Seneca offers degrees, diplomas and certificates renowned for their quality and respected by employers. Combining the highest academic standards with practical, hands-on learning, expert teaching faculty and the latest technology ensures Seneca graduates are career-ready.

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For more information, please contact:
Emily Milic
Seneca College Media Relations
416-491-5050 ext. 77018