Toronto-based Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. last week signed a photonics partnership agreement with the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Catalonia, Spain, to stimulate innovation and expedite the commercialization of technologies that will make businesses in both regions more competitive globally. OCE and ICFO will build joint "industrial R&D collaborations and seek mutually beneficial trade and business opportunities," officials from both organizations said in a statement. The two regions will also explore educational opportunities, including the exchange of scientific expertise and personnel. "This is a tremendous opportunity to build powerful synergies in a priority technology sector -- the partnership has real potential to boost our respective economies," said OCE President and CEO Mark Romoff. OCE's five centers work in communications and information technology, earth and environmental technologies, energy, materials and manufacturing, and photonics.