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Research Partnerships & Innovation

Get Smart(er): College-Industry Innovation Fund grant to enhance RRC’s Smart Factory

July 27, 2021

Researchers and students will gain new opportunities for learning and to innovate at Red River College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), and in turn, support Manitoba industry to access, test and integrate emerging technologies.

RRC is one of 15 colleges and cégeps announced this week by the Federal Government receiving a College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) grant through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure projects. The grant supports the enhancement of TACAM’s Smart Factory, an applied research space, experiential learning facility, and technology demonstration site.

The Smart Factory enhancement enables the College to grow its capabilities to support Manitoba industry in aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors, by expanding metals additive manufacturing capabilities, application-based robotics, composite manufacturing capabilities, and industrial network infrastructure. For example, application-based systems for post-production grinding and finishing as well as mobile factory robots and autonomous ground vehicles to facilitate material handling, can help industry boost their productivity by reducing laborious manual tasks.

Through applied research projects at Smart Factory, enterprises of all sizes can work with RRC researchers and students to find solutions to business-specific as well as larger industry challenges.

“Investments in applied research are critical in helping the College continue to support industry with opportunities to evaluate and integrate emerging technologies, improving their productivity and competitive edge,” says Simon Potter, Director of Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College. “They are also paramount to enriching our learning environment, exposing students to leading-edge technology and providing industry experience, in preparation for the workforce.”

Students in the Aerospace Manufacturing Technology program will have access to new technologies at the Smart Factory and Stevenson Aviation Campus to participate in capstone projects, classroom training, and direct engagement in industry research projects

Over time, knowledge generated collaboratively by industry, researchers and students will inform training and academic curricula, ensuring the next generation of RRC grads are not only  job-ready for their future careers, but ahead of the curve.

“Bringing industry partners together with researchers and students in spaces equipped with technology’s latest tools is a recipe for innovation and economic growth. This investment will enable bright ideas to be tested, applied and developed into new businesses in labs that have collaboration and partnerships at their core. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is proud to contribute to Canada’s future by supporting our extraordinary colleges, institutes and cégeps,” says Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Investments in RRC’s Smart Factory open up opportunities to support the province’s advanced manufacturing (AM) agenda through the Advanced Manufacturing Coalition as well as RRC’s aerospace roadmap, helping maintain Manitoba’s position as one of Canada’s AM hubs.

The College, alongside local and national partners, will fill identified gaps to enhance the capacity of RRC to respond to industry’s need for innovation support and workforce development.

CFI grants support applied research projects at Canadian colleges and cégeps, by providing funding for facilities, equipment and infrastructure. These investments allow colleges to expand their capabilities and advance innovation in their region and Canada-wide. The CFI funding awarded will foster and further strengthen industry partnerships, providing Canadian businesses access to technology, knowledge and expertise to stay future-focused.

The almost $900,000 CFI grant to enhance the Smart Factory marks a major contribution to the larger $2.5M project of expanding TACAM research facilities at RRC’s Notre Dame and Stevenson Aviation Campuses.