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Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

Awards

Anna Borys wins CEM Co-op Student of the Year Award for placement with Prairie Research Kitchen

January 31, 2020

When Anna Borys signed up for the Culinary Arts program at Red River College’s School of Hospitality, she wasn’t sure where it would take her – she just knew she didn’t want to work in a restaurant.

“I went into culinary school knowing I didn’t want to work in food services,” she says. “But I didn’t know what else was out there.”

Having worked for her family’s glass business for 10 years before going back to school, Anna had developed a taste for the nine-to-five lifestyle – a schedule the fast-paced service industry doesn’t always allow.

This confusion about her future left her in a bit of a pickle, until she started her co-op work placement with RRC’s Culinary Research team, which operates out of the Prairie Research Kitchen on the 11th floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI). Anna credits her co-op placement with determining her career path.

Anna first encountered the Culinary Research team while cooking her way through Culinary School. The team would often pop up in her labs and classrooms – working with instructors and making presentations to students about the work they do with clients in the food development industry.

“When they told us they work on developing recipes and that they were looking for co-op students, I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do,” says Anna.

Now, after successfully completing her co-op placement, Anna has started working full-time with the Research team.

One of her first projects was working on a new consumer food product called Bump – a ground beef/plant protein blend aimed at the flexitarian market – with James Battershill from Juno Food Labs. Anna developed a delicious Bump kofta kebab recipe that’s a hit with the client (and everyone else who’s tasted it).

“Working on the Bump kofta is definitely a highlight for me,” says Anna. “It’s one of the first recipes I worked on, and the client now uses it as a sample. It’s quick, delicious, and shows how versatile the product is.”

Anna’s food photography highlights a pie whipped up in the Prairie Research Kitchen

An avid photographer, Anna started an Instagram account to document what two years of the RRC Culinary Arts program is like. She says one of the most rewarding aspects of her co-op is taking food photos for clients like James, who often end up using them for their own marketing purposes.

Anna’s hard work is now being rewarded, as she was recently named the Co-operative Education Manitoba (CEM) Co-op Student of the Year Award for 2019.

“This award shows how important this industry is,” she says. “It’s up and coming. The Culinary Research program is pretty new at Red River College, so this recognition is huge for the research program.”

She’s also no stranger to winning awards – Anna took home the second-place prize at last year’s Applied Research & Innovation Day for her soy-free tempeh project, which she developed alongside the Culinary Research team. She’ll also graduate at the top of her class at next week’s convocation ceremony and is preparing to apply for the National Co-Op Student Award.

Anna at Applied Research & Innovation Day 2019

Despite her success, Anna is quick to credit the amazing team she worked with for helping her get where she is.

“I really don’t feel like this is my award,” she says. “It’s our award. This wouldn’t have happened without Mavis, Heather, and Kyle from Culinary Research – this showcases our teamwork. I don’t want to take credit, it’s our credit.”

Now her co-op experience has come full circle, as she’s helping to mentor the next wave of Culinary Arts students who are working in the Prairie Research Kitchen. She continues to be an advocate of the co-op process and shares her experience regularly with students.

“The co-op program is the reason for my career path,” she says. “This award, my success – this all has to do with my co-op and working with Culinary Research.”

Third-annual ARI Day shows future is bright for women in STEM

June 4, 2019

Red River College’s third-annual Applied Research & Innovation Day was a great success, with innovative student research projects running the gamut from smart technology, to plant-based proteins, to advancements in health and social sciences.

The event also demonstrated the future is bright for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) – as women researchers took home the first, second, and third place prizes, as well as the people’s choice award. Here’s a look at their award-winning projects:

First Place:

Natural Language Processing – Chatbot

Student: Victoria McNab
School: Business and Applied Arts
Referred by: Randall Peters, Instructor – Business Information Technology

“This project aims to process millions of historical chat records, to develop an industry specific, assistive chatbot trained on this data using an offline environment, with no access to cloud computing resources. Rapid RTC provides online chat services to their customers, along with receptionist support. My goal is to use machine learning, and Natural Language Processing techniques to help the receptionists build better customer relationships by extracting the topics being discussed and analyzing the sentiment of the discussions. Using unsupervised machine learning, I applied the Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm to model the topics being discussed. In parallel, I applied statistical analysis techniques to manually determine topics, which gave me a result set to evaluate models against.”

 

Second Place:

Manitoba Soy-Free Tempeh

Student: Anna Borys
School/Program/Class: Culinary Arts
Referred by: Mavis McRae – Culinary Research and Innovation

“Tempeh is traditionally made from hulled soy beans, the purpose of the project is to create a non-soy tempeh, using a different source of pulses. Initially, we used traditional methods to making a yellow pea tempeh, however resulted in substandard product. To get a product that more closely resembles a more traditional tempeh, we altered cooking and culture variables. Although no clients were initially incorporated into this project, the work is applicable to companies such as Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers Association, Best Cooking Pulses, AGT, or Prairie Fava. Further work to optimize product to commercial standards would be required.”

 

Third Place:

Acid-based Cleaning Solution for Animal Barns and Related Areas

Student(s): Erum Naz
School/Program/Class: Health Sciences and Community Services
Referred by: Said Hassan, Instructor

“This project involved developing an acid based cleaning solution for use in animal barns and related areas. This project was conducted for our client Precision Chemicals a Manitoba company which is primarily in the business of developing innovative solutions to farming problems. Precision Chemicals markets an alkaline barn cleaning solution, Bioshredder. However, the company wanted to also market an acid base solution. This project started by investigating various emulsifying and foaming agents. The project then proceeded by making various formulations and trying them in simulated real life environment. Eventually a product meeting the client’s specifications was developed and is being tried in the field.”

 

People’s Choice:

Reducing Post-Stroke Depression

Student(s): Samantha Eveleigh
School/Program/Class: Research and Scholarship in Nursing
Referred by: Meagan Chorney, Patrick Griffith

“Depression after stroke is considered a primary complication and can lead to decreased health outcomes. Despite this, there are limited studies that describe the individual’s experience with depression. With my lived experience of surviving a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 18, my hope is to bridge the gap of knowledge and bring alive what is learned in theory.

Recovery from a stroke reveals depression in both immediate and long-term phases that may require intervention that could be led by nurses. Support to manage symptoms of depression can be led by nurses who are specialized in neurosurgery by leading a follow up after discharge either by telephone or by face-to-face interactions.”

The top three winners were all NSERC-supported projects, while Victoria McNab’s Natural Language Processing Chatbot also received support through IRAP.

College recognized with global award in Applied Research

October 12, 2018

Red River College (RRC) has once again been recognized as a global leader in applied research and innovation at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence in Melbourne, Australia held on October 9. RRC was awarded silver in the Applied Research and Innovation category for contributions led by Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI), which was formally established in 2004.

“We’re honoured to receive this award from WFCP. It’s a wonderful celebration of the outstanding work our staff and students do every day,” said RRC President & CEO Paul Vogt. “As RPI enters its 15thyear of operation, this award is a great way to both recognize the achievements we’ve made and to motivate us to continue reaching for greatness.”

The WFCP Awards of Excellence honour higher standards in applied education institutions. WFCP last honoured RRC in 2014 with a bronze award at a ceremony in Beijing, China.

“This award is another significant achievement for Applied Research at Red River College,” said Ray Hoemsen, director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC. “For nearly 15 years we’ve been dedicated to working with partners to meet the needs of our community and to support community-based economic development. Receiving global recognition for these partnerships speaks to the outstanding quality of the research initiatives that happen at the College.”

Two other Canadian institutions were honoured in the same category – Niagara College was awarded the gold, while Mohawk College took the bronze.

RRC concentrates on four major areas of Applied Research: Advanced Design & Manufacturing, Clean Technology, Digital Technology, and Health, Nutrition & Social Sciences. This award recognizes RRC students, faculty, and staff for several notable projects, including the development of an all-electric transit bus now being sold across North America, delivery of the Science of Early Child Development, and the engagement of International Business students from more than 30 countries to produce Business and Market Intelligence reports for Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The College continues to expand to support market needs in applied research. A new Culinary Research Centre that will empower researchers, faculty and students to collaborate with industry to create new products is currently under construction, while a vehicle test facility called the MotiveLab – that features a climatic chamber that reaches temperature highs of +50 C or lows of –40 C, no matter the outdoor temperature – is set to open at the Notre Dame Campus later this year.

RRC students win national award for innovative concepts to advance the e-vehicle industry

May 8, 2018

Imagine a world where your vehicle drives itself, connects to the Internet, and charges just like your phone.

That’s how Joel Turner, a student in Red River College’s Electronic Engineering Technology program, describes the concept that won his group first place in the 2018 Electric Mobility Canada Kia Student Competition.

This is the first time an RRC team has won the competition, and the second time the College has entered.

“The benefits to our team’s solution are countless. The best of them are reduced air pollution, reduced vehicle maintenance cost, and better learning by having available data,” says Turner, who worked on the project with teammates from RRC’s Electronics Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology and Business Administration programs. Read More →

RRC Nursing Students Celebrate Big Win at International Skills Competition

November 21, 2017


A pair of Red River College (RRC) Nursing students have returned home with some new hardware and a greater sense of pride in their work. Elyse Griffith (2nd year) and Rachel Rubin (3rd year) took first place amongst international student competitors, earning a Silver medal overall, in the 7th annual International Nursing Competition held in Shanghai, China. Read More →

College Receives Provincial Sustainability Award

May 10, 2017

Left to right: Rob Spewak (Building Envelope Technology Access Centre Manager), Jose Delos Reyes (Research Manager), Neil Cooke (Dean, Teaching Excellence, Innovation and Research), Ray Hoemsen (Executive Director, Research Partnerships & Innovation), Cathy Cox (Manitoba Minister for Sustainable Development), Mark Hoddenbagh (Red River College VP Strategic Development).

Red River College today received a Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Award at the provincial Legislature during an event hosted by provincial Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox.
Read More →

RRC ranked top Prairie research college

November 16, 2016

Top row: Rob Spewak, RRC BETAC Manager; Lloyd Kuczek, VP with Manitoba Hydro; Jose Delos Reyes, RRC Research Manager. Bottom row: Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science; Ray Hoemsen, RRC Research Director; David Johnston, Governor General of Canada; Neil Cooke, Dean, Teaching Excellence, Innovation and Research, RRC; Mario Pinto, President of NSERC. Credit: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall, OSGG

Top row: Rob Spewak, RRC BETAC Manager; Lloyd Kuczek, VP with Manitoba Hydro; Jose Delos Reyes, RRC Research Manager. Bottom row: Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science; Ray Hoemsen, RRC Research Director; David Johnston, Governor General of Canada; Neil Cooke, Dean, Teaching Excellence, Innovation and Research, RRC; Mario Pinto, President of NSERC. Credit: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall, OSGG

Red River College is #1 on the Prairies in research, according to the latest Top 50 ranking of Canadian research colleges.
It’s not the first time RRC has been recognized as a leading college research institution, having ranked previously in Research Infosources’s top ten for three years running, and having earlier this year received the prestigious Synergy Award for Innovation from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Governor General of Canada.
“We definitely appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts, but the true value of this recognition is realized when we further spread the word that Red River College serves as a critical partner in innovation for so many organizations,” says Paul Vogt, RRC’s president and CEO.
“As we continue to make substantial investments in applied research and learning resources, we see increasing interest from industry partners for us to help them solve problems, innovate, and produce graduates with the advanced technology training needed for today’s globally-competitive environment.”
The College’s swath of research resources continued to expand this year when RRC received $5.9-million in federal funding – the largest influx of research dollars in the College’s history – from NSERC and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). This new investment allowed the College to boost innovation capacity in Manitoba’s vehicle technology and food development sectors.
“It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come in such a short period of time, and to witness the positive impact our work has had on so many projects throughout our province,” says Ray Hoemsen, executive director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC.
The College has been involved in a number of notable projects, such as the all-electric transit bus (developed in conjunction with New Flyer, Manitoba Hydro, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the province, and others), and Manitoba Hydro’s downtown office building, where RRC tested and evaluated advanced designs and building products that helped make the structure one of the most energy efficient in North America.
“We’ve had a number of high-profile projects which really help raise awareness of our capabilities,” says Hoemsen. “But there is so much more going on beneath the surface, especially in areas like early child development, international business intelligence, clean water technology, and in the area of startup/entrepreneur support.”
Some of the latest research being pioneered at the College relates to the development of MotiveLab, which will feature a 3,000-square foot environmental chamber (large enough to fit a bus) that allows local industry to test products in all manner of environmental conditions.
The College has also recently emerged as a key player in culinary research, having helped Manitoba food producers and distributors create new products and develop innovative uses for locally grown food in healthy menu items.
“From the food we eat, to the transit buses on our road, to the office buildings that we work in, our research has expanded to a point where we are seeing more and more tangible results that will give Manitoba industry a competitive advantage on a global scale,” says Vogt.“It’s something all of us can be proud of.”