Representing CANADA'S
in Higher Education

CUCCIO undertakes initiatives with a purpose for members and with national and international stakeholders.


Simon Fraser University
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Celebrating This Year's Finalists

Innovation Award

University of Northern British Columbia: To enhance business continuity through the application of Docker containerization technology.
2017 Award Recipient

UNBC Award Winners Innovation

The 2017 Innovation Award was awarded to the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) for its project to enhance business continuity through the application of Docker containerization technology.   UNBC’s containerization project took the process of configuring servers and software from months to a few minutes.  Enabling ITS at UNBC to deliver value to their customers faster and at the same time improving UNBC’s position with respect to business continuity readiness the implementation of Docker containerization helps to prepare UNBC for a future where cloud computing will be ubiquitous and access to these services will be need to be provisioned rapidly and effectively.  

Innovation Award Finalists

Simon Fraser University:  The Official SFU App Suite
Providing students, faculty and staff with a suite of apps endorsed and supported by the university community, the Official SFU App Suite is comprised of four apps (SFU snap for campus experience, SFU Vault for access to storage and files, goSFU for access to courses, enrollment, etc. and Canvas for access to learning tools and services) all available for Android and iOS. 

University of Calgary:  Secure Compute
Calgary’s Secure Computing Program creates a unified virtual research environment to enable researchers to manage their entire project data lifecycle (collect, store, analyze, share, collaborate, and preserve information) through one secure environment, with a specific attention paid to restricted and confidential research data, such as personal health information.

Collaboration Award

University of Alberta: ShareIT Project
2017 Award Recipient

UAlberta Award Winners Collaboration

The 2017 Collaboration Award was awarded to the University of Alberta’s ShareIT project. With executive sponsorship, matching funding from the ministry of Advanced Education through AAHEIT and in conjunction with Cybera, 18 of Alberta's 26 post-secondary institutions worked together to establish a framework for creating a shared services organization. With over 50 people involved in this initiative from across the Alberta post-secondary sector, Cybera, and the Government of Alberta ShareIT demonstrated the viability of a shared services organization and the benefits of increased collaboration across the Alberta higher ed sector through an ecosystem of similar resources, similar ideas and sharing of knowledge. For more information on this exciting initiative please see

Collaboration Award Finalists

Simon Fraser University Data Center: Installation of Cedar
In partnership with Compute Canada and regional partner WestGrid, a new, advanced research computing (ARC) system, Cedar is one of four national new supercomputers in Canada that will provide over 11,000 Canadian researchers with access to the latest technology in advanced research computing and expertise.

Led by Laurentian University, the Ontario Group’s Shared CISO
Under the governance of the eight founding institutions, this collaborative initiative develops frameworks, policies and resources to help address IT Security in Ontario higher education with the delivery and management of services and coordination of a shared Chief Information Security Officer. The shared CISO has provided a highly cost effective opportunity to provide essential security resources to a community of Ontario higher educational institutions and has established a collaborative network leveraging shared information and resources.

CUCCIO Community Award

Unlike the innovation and collaboration awards, this award honours a member institution or individual who has demonstrated a passion for CUCCIO’s principles of information-sharing, collaboration and knowledge creation throughout the community.

Rick Bunt Community Award

The 2017 CUCCIO Community Award was awarded to Rick Bunt, Retired CIO University of Saskatchewan and the first elected president of CUCCIO. Rick exemplifies these traits and characteristics through his commitment to CUCCIO since its inception. As a founding Board member and CUCCIO’s first elected President, Rick’s belief in the principles and value of information sharing and collaboration has never wavered.  His commitment to making collaboration happen, not only for his institution but for the Canadian higher ed IT community overall continues even in retirement. From participating on the founding Board of CUCCIO, to sitting as a member of both the Compute Canada and CANARIE Boards, to helping shape and drive a national conversation on Canada’s digital research infrastructure, Rick’s contributions to our community are too numerous to share in their entirety however CUCCIO was delighted to honor Rick’s many contributions with the presentation of the 2017 CUCCIO Community Award.



Celebrating This Year's Finalists - 2018

Innovation Award 2018

The University of British Columbia: Emerging Media Lab
2018 Award Recipient

UBC Emerging Media Lab Innovation 2018

The 2018 Innovation Award was awarded to the University of British Columbia’s Emerging Media Lab.  The Emerging Media Lab (EML) is an experimental space where faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines collaborate with industry and community. Its mission is to evolve learning by creating tools and techniques using emerging media including Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality.  At EML, all members regardless of their role are encouraged to collaborate and experiment with emerging technologies. In this space, faculty members become subject matter experts and students turn in into innovators who can find solutions for faculty members’ problems and answer their questions. EML provides an incubation venue for UBC community especially students outside their academic activities where they can experiment with emerging technologies such as VR, AR, XR, BCI, AI, etc. in order solve educational challenges and enhance learning and student engagement.  For more information on the Emerging Media Lab at UBC please see:

The 2018 Innovation Award Finalists

Simon Fraser University:  A New Network Data Architecture using Software Defined Architecture
Virtualization technologies have led to an explosion of private cloud services being offered in Simon Fraser University’s primary data centre, the SFU Data Centre.  This has driven an increased importance for responsive high-security networking, but the legacy network was large and complex, making it costly to secure and maintain.  The University required a new network solution to efficiently tackle the increasing demands. The creation of the SFU Data Centre in April 2017 offered the opportunity to implement a new Network Architecture using a modern network solution.  The architecture team made the decision to design and implement the new Architecture using Software Defined Networking (SDN) as the core networking technology in the SFU Data Centre. SFU faced and conquered the challenge of putting together a design that maintains the desired flexibility and agility without sacrificing security or operational efficiency.

For more information on this initiative please contact Randy Raine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT):  Artemis Cloud Implementation
The implementation of Artemis Cloud at McMaster Children’s Hospital and South Lake Regional Healthcare supports the acquisition, analysis, and redeployment of high frequency physiological data. This data, in combination with electronic medical record (EMR) data is made available to support a multitude of medical studies by the hospitals. A multi-tiered consent model allows a consenter to designate where the patient’s physiological data can be used.  Artemis Cloud is the next phase in a highly successful, award winning research project to make use of high frequency, high fidelity physiological big data in neonatal intensive care environments.  Artemis was developed in local (in hospital) settings and this phase develops the capability to utilize a cloud model, enabling utilization by multiple Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), independent of size or location.  For UOIT IT Services, it represents a highly visible, highly successful first foray into formal IT support for research, which we intend to leverage into a growth.

For more information please see:

Collaboration Award

Nova Scotia Higher Education IT Shared Services (HISS)
2018 Award Recipient

NS HISS Collaboration 2018

The 2018 Collaboration Award was awarded to Nova Scotia’s Higher-Ed IT Shared Services (HISS) initiative.   In 2014, Nova Scotia’s 10 universities and the Nova Scotia Community College agreed to work together to share IT services. Their vision for sharing was, and still is, guided by the principals of: achieving improved IT service delivery, avoiding and mitigating IT costs, and more effective use of IT resources. Supported through the province’s Excellence in Innovation Fund (EIF), an Executive Director was hired in 2015, and the Higher Ed IT Shared Services governance structure and management office were established. Over the next three years, this voluntary collaboration has focused on shared IT procurement, coordinated IT project management and implementation, and strategic planning and IT advisory across all member institutions. Financial and operational benefits for the members have been significant, and steadily increasing, with a strong foundation for future collaboration being solidified through this initiative. 

The 2018 Collaboration Award Finalists

Simon Fraser University: Development of SFU's One I.S. Strategy
With IT tightly woven into the fabric of everything at SFU, there was an obligation to plan the information systems journey.  By developing a coherent and integrated planning strategy, the value of current and future investments in information systems was maximized ensuring that SFU information systems and services were aligned with SFU’s vision and strategic priorities.

Beginning in the fall of 2016 with a University-wide client satisfaction survey and building off of the survey results, in-person follow-up meetings were held with over 50 unique stakeholder groups comprising several hundred participants to drill down and gain a better understanding of the “pain points” each group was currently experiencing. Several open-ended questions were also asked to understand future information system requirements.  The stakeholder consultation process concluded with a consultation summary document which formed the foundation of a strategic planning exercise to develop the One I.S. Strategic Plan built on the three pillars of SFU’s engagement strategy: research, students, and community and three additional information system specific pillars: administration, digitalization, and people. For more information please see:

University of Victoria:  Higher Ed IT Procurement Project
The Higher Ed IT procurement project is a collaborative procurement initiative which brings together representatives from across the higher education sector in British Columbia and is facilitated in partnership with BCNET, a shared IT services organization. Aimed at delivering IT-related services for 25 public, post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. With a focus on a joint procurement approach for a wide array of IT hardware, software and services and leveraging the sector’s combined volumes, purchasing power, and common interests the overall objective of the project was to provide value to the higher education sector in B.C.  By sourcing contracts that meet member requirements, leveraging the knowledge of the members and sharing learnings the resulting outcome could offer the best overall value, reduce or minimize administrative effort and at the same time ensure a competitive procurement process that is compliant with legislative and regulatory requirements.

CUCCIO Community Award

Unlike the innovation and collaboration awards, this award honours a member institution or individual who has demonstrated a passion for CUCCIO’s principles of information-sharing, collaboration and knowledge creation throughout the community.

Art Exner Community 2018

The 2018 CUCCIO Community Award was awarded to Art Exner, Associate Vice President, Information Technology (IT) Services, University of Regina.

Albeit in his usual understated way, Art Exner exemplifies a commitment and passion for this community through the various roles he has assumed in CUCCIO.  As an active member of CUCCIO Art is one of a handful members who have missed very few meetings.   Serving on the Board for two terms (a total of 6 years), Art was a member of the Governance and Nominations committee and helped to guide a review of the process to appoint the officers of the Board.   In 2014 Art assumed the role of CIO Liaison for the Information Security Special Interest Group (SIG) and plays an active role in providing guidance, direction and advice to the group.  In this role Art has helped shepherd a number of activities including access to an on-line security and education program, development of a soon to be released RFP for SSL certificates and most recently the adoption of an information sharing protocol for CUCCIO members.  In addition to his role with the Security SIG Art serves on the CIO Advisory Committee to CANARIE and the Compute Canada Cyber Security Task Force.


In support of our members and the interests of higher education in Canada, CUCCIO participates in select initiatives at the international level, including:

Coalition of Higher Education IT Associations: CUCCIO is a founding member of an international coalition of associations that share a similar mandate to our own. This coalition will further expand the sharing of information and best practices, and identify opportunities for collaboration at the international level. Other jurisdictions represented include but not limited to Australia, the United States, South Africa, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong.

As part of the international community CUCCIO is helping to develop a partnership with our counterpart organizations to advance international benchmarking as a means to provide international comparators for our members. Other participants include the United States, Italy, Australia, Germany and Italy.
In addition to helping member universities and their IT leaders and staff excel on campus, CUCCIO plays a role in helping to address IT in higher education issues on a national level through activities such as:

  • Participating and supporting the activities of the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure. The Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure is recognized by the participants as a primary vehicle through which participating organizations can discuss, act in concert, and work toward coordinated policies, responsibilities, strategies, and tactics aimed at improving our national digital research infrastructure in support of research, education, and innovation.
  • Incubating and supporting the on-going the development of the Canadian Access Federation (CAF), a trusted access management service for Canadian research and higher education communities. Operated by CANARIE (Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network), CUCCIO works with CANARIE to provide advice and guidance to support the growth and reach of the CAF.  For more information about the Canadian Access Federation, including how to join, please see the CANARIE website.
  • Actively providing a national voice for the issues facing and impacting IT in higher education. CUCCIO actively participates in advocacy efforts such the regular mandate renewal process for CANARIE; being invited to comment on matters relating to IT in higher education by Universities Canada; and partnering with other national IT and higher education-related organizations to author submissions to the Government of Canada on topics such as the digital economy strategy.
  • Routinely collaborating with other associations on areas of mutual interest or concern.  Examples include the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), the Association of Registrar's for Universities and Colleges (ARUCC).   

The CUCCIO Awards are designed to honour individuals, groups or institutions whose work exemplifies CUCCIO’s efforts to build and support Canada’s higher education IT community. The awards are presented each year at a gala evening in conjunction with our annual CANHEIT Conference and represent CUCCIO’s desire to promote IT innovation, collaboration and community across Canada's higher education sector.


  • Nominations for the CUCCIO Awards are invited from any CUCCIO member institution (or institutions).
  • For the Innovation and Collaboration awards, the nominated project or initiative will have been completed within the previous twelve months.      
  • While the nomination must come from a CUCCIO member, parties involved in the project or initiative need not all be CUCCIO members however the award will be presented to a CUCCIO member (or members).   
  • Self-nominations ("selfies") are acceptable.

The Selection Committee reserves the right to:

  • not award in a category if suitable nominations are not received; and,   
  • move a nomination to another category if applicable.

The Awards

The Innovation Award recognizes innovative IT projects or initiatives that have significantly advanced teaching, learning, research or administration within an institution or in the community. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Innovation in the application of existing technologies or the development of new ones;
  • The impact in terms of benefits achieved or planned;
  • Applicability to other Canadian higher education institutions and more specifically CUCCIO member institutions.

The Collaboration Award recognizes initiatives that promote collaboration within the higher education IT sector - between institutions, campuses, faculties or departments - through the development of new leading practices or new service models within institutions, between institutions or across the sector and leading to operational efficiencies or increased effectiveness. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Breadth and extent of the collaboration;
  • The impact in terms of benefits achieved or planned;
  • Applicability to other Canadian higher education institutions and more specifically CUCCIO member institutions.

The CUCCIO Community Award recognizes an individual, group or institution whose efforts exemplify CUCCIO’s desire to build, support and enrich the higher education IT community. Unlike the innovation and collaboration awards, this award will honour a member institution, individual or group who has demonstrated a passion for CUCCIO’s principles of  information-sharing, collaboration and knowledge creation throughout the CUCCIO community.

Nominations for the 2018 CUCCIO Awards is now closed. Nomination for the 2019 CUCCIO Awards will open early in 2019.

Celebrating This Year's Finalists

As you begin to think about a nomination for the 2019 CUCCIO Awards, we encourage you to read about our recent recipients and finalists. 

Click here to view the winning submissions from 2018.

Click here to view the winning submissions from 2017.

Click here to view the winning submissions from 2016.

Click here to view the winning submissions from 2015.