SUDBURY -- The federal government has announced $1.98 million in funding for Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie to encourage innovation and tech development.

FedNor funding will be used to expand the university's School of Computer Science and Technology, creating 23 construction-related jobs and help maintain nine full-time and 15 part-time positions.

Sault MP Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor, announced the funding Tuesday.

“Our government is proud to support Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, which is home to more than 1,700 full-time students," Sheehan is quoted as saying in a news release.

"The upgraded computer lab will provide regional employers with highly qualified computer science personnel who can apply data analytics to improve decision-making, use software engineering to enhance cybersecurity, and transform processes with the application of new technologies that have the potential to increase profitability and efficiency.”

Asima Vezina, president and vice-chancellor of Algoma University, said the funding will benefit faculty, students and private industry.

“In addition to the educational benefits, the computer lab will enable us to increase our enrolment by more than 626 students by 2024 and lead to the hiring of seven faculty," Vezina said. "In turn, our growth will contribute to the vitality of the regional economy.”

The upgraded lab will increase programming and research opportunities for students and faculty. In addition, it will include two innovation and collaboration zones designed "to ensure creativity, project innovation, product development and idea incubation," the release said.

"The expansion will also offer sufficient workspace for interactive display integration to encourage continuous collaboration and idea-sharing among students, faculty, researchers and industry partners."