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Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

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Upcoming webinar: Learn about the future of Canada’s transportation industry

March 23, 2021

How can Canada respond to the future demand for electric and alternative fuel vehicles? How will the relevant workforce be transformed to meet this demand?

Red River College is proud to lead the first of several Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery webinars to discuss topics like these.

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, April 8 at noon to learn how Canada can make the change to electric and alternative fuel vehicles. A group of expert panelists will explore the future of research, industry trends, and consumer perspectives and discuss what is needed for the new economy.

Register now at www.resilientcolleges.ca/webinars

Participate in the discussion on social media using the following hashtags: #C2R2 #ResilientRecovery #BuildBackBetter #CdnEnv #EconDev

Webinar Panelists

  • Jojo Delos Reyes from Red River College, Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre
  • Clara Clairman from Plug N’ Drive
  • John DeBoer of Siemens Future Grid and eMobility Solutions
  • Jim Stanford from The Centre for Future Work

About Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2)

Red River College is proud to be a founding member of C2R2, a group of climate-action leading colleges, Cégeps, institutions, and polytechnics from across Canada who have joined forces to educate a post-pandemic workforce to support a new climate-focused economic recovery. Learn more about how we work together to lead the transition to a clean economy.

RRC works with Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery to help build Canada back better

March 4, 2021

Red River College is proud to be a founding member of Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2), a group of climate-action leading colleges, Cégeps, institutions, and polytechnics from across Canada who have joined forces to educate a post-pandemic workforce to support a new climate-focused economic recovery.

C2R2 champions projects across Canada to:

  • support a recovery that delivers good jobs
  • positively impact for the environment, and
  • address socio-economic inequality.

By working together, colleges can help lead the transition to a clean economy. With a vision to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, colleges are positioned to quickly develop thousands of training and research opportunities to help Canadians access good jobs, support the transition to the low carbon economy, and foster inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Alignment with current research programs

Through the leadership of Research Partnerships & Innovation, RRC has existing research programs that align with the coalition’s focus goals, such as RRC’s extensive electric vehicle applied research experience – particularly cold-weather performance, battery-pack redesign, redevelopment, and secondary use.

RRC’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) provides relevant industry training and applied research. BETAC has an array of specialized equipment that can enable and support energy efficient buildings.

C2R2 is working together to support the rapid development and deployment of new curriculum and research initiatives to support resilience in our towns and cities across Canada.

Follow along with C2R2 at resilientcolleges.ca.

Red River College wins global award for applied research and innovation

December 11, 2020

Red River College has once again secured its position as a world leader in applied research. In a virtual ceremony held at the end of November, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) awarded the College a Silver medal in the Applied Research & Innovation Category, for contributions led by the Research Partnerships & Innovation department.

“As Manitoba’s only polytechnic, we are partnering with industry and leading the way in applied research – to be recognized on a global stage is an incredible honour,” says Fred Meier, president & CEO, RRC.

RRC’s applied research is driven by demand and supports many important areas of Manitoba’s economy, while boosting development and opportunity in many emerging areas – from agricultural and culinary research, to manufacturing and aerospace, to applied computer technology and health sciences. Students benefit by working hands-on with industry on projects that solve real-world problems.

The WFCP Awards of Excellence honour higher standards in applied education institutions. WFCP last honoured RRC in 2018 with a Silver award in this category, at a ceremony in Melbourne, Australia.

China’s Wuxi Institute of Technology (WXIT) won Gold in this category, while RRC tied with another Canadian college, College La Cité, for Silver. China’s Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College (JAHVC) took the Bronze. The awards took place in a virtual ceremony, due to the cancellation of this year’s WFCP World Congress.

Red River College awarded $300,000 in Mitacs research grants; fastest growing college in Canada 2019-20

November 5, 2020

Red River College is now one of the fastest growing research colleges in Canada thanks to two new grants totaling $300,000 awarded by Mitacs earlier last month.

“Red River College is proud to be a leading Canadian institution in applied research,” said Fred Meier, RRC President and CEO. “We continue to expand our research efforts into new and emerging areas of technology – such as AI and machine learning – and through collaboration with businesses across Manitoba and our ACE Project Space.”

“These partnerships with Mitacs help support more opportunities for our students to use their hands on training and skills to think creatively for their clients, to problem solve and implement innovative solutions, and drive industry forward.”

Mitacs fosters growth and innovation opportunities for companies and communities, while supporting applied learning for students across all industry sectors and academic disciplines – making Canadian colleges and polytechnics a natural fit their support.

Red River College is now one of the fastest growing colleges for Mitacs in Canada, and these two initiatives alone will engage 17 RRC student interns in innovative industry research.

The first Mitacs grant – one of the largest – awarded to any college in Canada – is an $180,000 partnership with RRC and IT operations optimization startup, Optimiz. With the support of Mitacs, 12 students from the Business Information Technology (BIT) program will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning explore new approaches and technology applications to monitor the health of IT systems. This important work will allow for quicker and more effective implementations of AIOps systems, and will result in cost savings to Canadian businesses.

“In today’s ever-changing world, many businesses must quickly adapt to our new norm and over the last six months, digital accessibility has quickly become an essential need in order for them to effectively sustain their business offering,” said Tom McIlwham, Chief Strategy Officer, Optimiz.

“We identified Red River College as an excellent source of enthusiastic and highly qualified students to help us build out our solution for AIOps monitoring and management needs, and Mitacs has provided guidance and expertise to assist us through the funding process. We are very pleased to be collaborating with Mitacs and RRC on this exciting initiative, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to make this win-win-win scenario a reality.”

The second is a $120K joint partnership with RRC, the University of Manitoba (UM) and the Arctic Research Foundation (ARF). With support from the Mitacs Accelerate internship, five students from RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) Department will use their skills to gather data from the Canadian Arctic to create a user-friendly, free, centralized database that will serve governments, universities, Indigenous communities and researchers from around the world, for the first time.

“RRC’s ACE Project space has established itself as a key player in Winnipeg’s start-up community, and with their cross institutional research relationships with the University of Manitoba and others, non-academic partners can receive end-to-end support for their product development with funding from Mitacs,” said Brent Wennekes, Director, Business Development, Mitacs Canada.

“Red River College has been a trailblazer for applied research at the college level and remains a national leader. Mitacs is so pleased to be able to support their researchers, students, and community partners with our Accelerate program.”

Manitoba has been the fastest growing province for Mitacs over the last two years, with over 420 internship units applied for last year alone, equaling over $6 million in research awards to Manitoba institutions.

Collaboration with KAP and UM is ready to roll: Mini Training Tractor revealed

July 16, 2020

A collaboration between the University of Manitoba (UM), Red River College (RRC) and Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) driven by the need for an agricultural safety training tool, has produced a unique vehicle that will help predict, teach and demonstrate tractor roll overs.

The Mini Roll Over Training Tractor (Mini ROTT) was demonstrated at the UM’s Glenlea Research Station on July 16. Approximately the size of an average lawn tractor but with the appearance of a traditional tractor, the radio-controlled Mini ROTT will be used for teaching and demonstration of roll overs and activities that will enhance students’ and farmers’ understanding of farm safety practices.

“Keystone Agricultural Producers is proud to be a part of the roll over training tractor (ROTT) project through our Manitoba Farm Safety Program,” says Bill Campbell, President, KAP. “We look forward to using this innovative tool to further promote the need for safety awareness and training across our sector to reduce the risk of serious injury in the operation of tractors and large equipment on farms across the province. The partnership we have forged with the University of Manitoba and Red River College shows the importance of our industry to this province and showcases some of the brightest minds and ingenuity we have here in Manitoba.”

The project was initiated by the UM’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences to supplement hands-on safety workshops developed for diploma students and farmers.  The UM teamed up with KAP’s Manitoba Farm Safety Program staff to explore the concept of a remote-controlled tractor as an interactive training tool for teaching roll over prevention strategies.

“The Faculty, especially the farm safety training leaders in our School of Agriculture, are keenly engaged in farm safety training, both for our students and for our wider agricultural community,” says Martin Scanlon, Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, UM. “We were excited to partner with Keystone Agricultural Producers and Red River College to create this novel training tool that will assist the University of Manitoba in delivering potentially life-saving knowledge to the next generation of Manitoba producers. This project underlines the high value and mutual benefit of collaboration with talented industry partners and other educational institutions.”

UM and KAP then engaged with RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM) and Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) for the fabrication process. The research staff at TACAM designed and built the tractor, with support from the VTEC team on the electronics and systems control components.

“Working with Keystone Agricultural Producers and the University of Manitoba on the roll over training tractor (ROTT) is the perfect demonstration of the value of applied research: providing tangible solutions to real-world problems,” says Fred Meier, President & CEO, RRC. “The ROTT highlights the skill and expertise of our TACAM and VTEC teams, and now that we’ve created this first product we’re excited to explore similar projects in the future. We’re proud to play a role in farm safety awareness and supporting the agriculture industry in Manitoba.”

Going forward, the Mini ROTT will be housed at the Glenlea Research Station and utilized for farm safety training for post-secondary students and Manitoba farmers. The Manitoba Farm Safety Program and UM staff plan to collaborate on expanded tractor training and develop programs aimed at creating a safer agri-food industry.

Funding for the project came from a variety of sources, including the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Endowment Fund, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through Red River College’s TACAM and VTEC-Innovation Enhancement grants, and Keystone Agricultural Producers.

Ray Hoemsen Retirement

June 16, 2020

After nearly 35 years of working in the academic technology transfer and applied research world, Ray Hoemsen has retired from Red River College, as of May 22, 2020.

Ray has led RRC’s research enterprise, Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI), since it was first established in 2004. Through his leadership, the College has seen tremendous growth as one of the most significant research colleges in Western Canada, and one of the few to be awarded three Technology Access Centres. His many years of experience were a great asset not only to the College, but to RRC’s vast network of partners, collaborators and clients.

From culinary research, building efficiency technology, social and health sciences, manufacturing and aerospace, electric vehicle technology and more, Ray fostered an abundant research hub at RRC that continues to grow. His leadership has empowered RPI to keep evolving to meet the needs of Manitoba’s diverse industry, and to empower future generations of students and researchers to gain the hands-on experience needed to create ground-breaking results to better serve our community and economy.

NSERC launches funding opportunity for Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19

April 15, 2020

NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) has launched a funding opportunity for applied research rapid response to COVID-19.

The grant will provide up to $75,000.00 for one year and will use some of the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) framework and application form. Applications are expected to respond to one of the following:

  • Assisting industry with production challenges to address COVID-19 (e.g., prototyping, enhanced production processes, repurposing of existing manufacturing infrastructure for production of new products, data analytics relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, etc.).
  • Contributing to the solution of community innovation challenges (health, social, policy) of immediate relevance to the COVID 19 outbreak (e.g. impact of social isolation on vulnerable populations, implementation of community social distancing policies, addressing mental health impacts of COVID-19, changing scope of policies and regulations, etc.).

Applications will be accepted in the NSERC Online system until June 1, pending availability of funds.

For more details, please visit: www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Innovate-Innover/CCI-COVID_eng.asp

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.”

Prairie Research Kitchen featured in the Winnipeg Free Press

January 15, 2020

Red River College’s new Prairie Research Kitchen was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press with a full-page spread and interviews with research professionals Mavis McRae and Heather Hill.

The article highlighted the Kitchen’s modern, beautiful workspace and the innovative work our research chefs and scientists are doing alongside Culinary Arts instructors and students, with clients from across Manitoba.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Complete with a board room with an amazing view for tasting and focus groups, Mavis McRae, the research professional for culinary research & innovation and head of the lab, said culinary arts students will get a whole new training opportunity in the science of food that was not previously available.

Already the lab is working on about 10 projects at a time with new a couple of new ones being pitched every week by industry partners and research scientists.”

Please click here to read the full article.

Attention researchers! New Innovation Proof-of-Concept Grant available from Research Manitoba

January 14, 2020

Research Manitoba has launched a new Innovation Proof-of-Concept Grant that aims to strengthen Manitoba-based research innovation and development projects by filling a funding gap in the Manitoba innovation ecosystem. Through two independent streams, this program provides support for innovation and commercialization research that is not otherwise accessible. This program helps fund activities directly related to process validation and proof-of-concept research. The program is targeted towards research in: Bioscience, ICT, Advanced Manufacturing, and Infrastructure and Transportation Industries and Technologies.

The two funding streams are:

Stream 1: Manitoba-Based Consortium supports local collaboration that is addressing a company specific discovery or innovation towards market usability. This stream allows academics to use their world-class knowledge, facilities, and highly qualified personnel (HQP) to close the knowledge gaps identified during the industry partner’s innovation development.

Stream 2: Manitoba Post-Secondary Researchers supports the advancement of discoveries or innovations within an academic setting, which may result in products or technologies, towards market usability.

More information on the grant can be found in the Program Guide or on the Research Manitoba Innovation and Strategic Partnerships website. The application form is also now available on Research Manitoba’s Grants Management System (GMS). The 2020 competition will be open until March 31, 2021.