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A recipe for success: federal funding turns up the heat for Culinary Research & Innovation

June 13, 2019

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced new federal funding this morning from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council’s (NSERC) College and Community Innovation (CCI) program that will spice up Red River College’s Culinary Research & Innovation (CRI) program.

The Technology Access Centre (TAC) grant will provide $1.75 million over five years, adding flavour to the program’s culinary research kitchen, a state-of-the-art facility set to open at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute later this summer.

“This funding empowers our Culinary Research & Innovation area to expand their already rich and advanced program,” said Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC. “Our researchers have the opportunity to help fill the gap between idea and full scale-up food centres in Western Canada, and continue to support food companies by providing access to the vast resources of researchers, instructors and students at the College.

The Culinary Research TAC will be Red River College’s third Technology Access Centre, joining the existing Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) and the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM).

The Culinary Research TAC will provide culinary-focused food research to food manufacturing and food services businesses. RRC’s team of chefs and food scientists will work with industry partners, as well as RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts instructors and students, to provide unique chef-created product prototypes ready for scale-up and commercialization. Food processing is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Manitoba.

Recent successes from CRI include a soy-free pea-based tempeh prototype, developed with recent Culinary Arts graduate Anna Borys using Manitoba plant-based proteins. The product won second place at the College’s third-annual Applied Research & Innovation Day.

Canada’s Technology Access Centres (TACs) are specialized applied research & development centres affiliated with publicly-funded colleges and cégeps. TACs are specialized applied research and development centres affiliated with Canadian colleges or cégeps. Learn more at

Ray Hoemsen appointed to National Research Council (NRC) Council

June 7, 2019

Ray Hoemsen at Applied Research & Innovation Day 2019

Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation, recently became one of six new appointments to the National Research Council (NRC) Council. The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced the new appointments on Thursday, June 6, 2019.

Hoemsen is the second Manitoban to be on the NRC Council in the last 11 years.

The NRC is the Government of Canada’s largest science and research organization, supporting Canadian industrial innovation, the advancement of knowledge and the development of technology. For more information, please visit their website.

Congratulations, Ray!

Saving money, saving the planet: RRC’s first Mitacs-funded project takes off at ACE Project Space

May 28, 2019

Matt Schaubroeck is in the business of making buildings smarter. The entrepreneur has teamed up with Red River College (RRC) to develop the software behind ioAirFlow, a product that’s been percolating for the past two years and is now being put into fruition at RRC’s ACE Project Space.

“Essentially, ioAirFlow is a data analysis tool,” says Schaubroeck. “We use big data to determine energy efficiency in commercial buildings.”

Matt Schaubroeck and Xinxin Wei work on the software behind ioAirFlow

ioAirFlow takes the concept of residential smart thermostats and applies it to commercial-industrial buildings. The goal is to make big buildings smarter and greener, with a technology that’s as accessible as possible.

The idea occurred to Schaubroeck when he was working on his MBA in a tech commercialization program. After meeting industry leaders and talking about his idea of a smart thermostat for commercial buildings, Schaubroeck realized there was a real need for the product.

“Everyone wants to save money on energy bills,” he says. “We want to save the planet at the same time.”

The big idea was there. Two years of research and development were in the books – including working with RRC’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) last year, heating up a trailer behind the Notre Dame Campus in order to track temperature and humidity.

Schaubroeck worked alongside Steve Lawrence, Coordinator of the ACE Project Space, on the research proposal. Lawrence is also working as the academic supervisor/advisor for the project.

Earlier this month, the time finally came to put the idea into action. That’s where the ACE Project Space and funding from Mitacs came in, making this the first Mitacs-funded project at RRC.

“We’re thrilled to be the first Mitacs-funded project at ACE Project Space. Mitacs presented themselves as a great option to allow us to get into a space like this,” says Schaubroeck. “It’s such a great opportunity. We wouldn’t be here without their help.”

Mitacs is a national not-for-profit research network that has traditionally funded applied research collaborations at Canadian universities. Last year they began funding colleges, and with former RRC research manager Brent Wennekes taking the lead for Mitacs in Manitoba, RRC was one of the first colleges to sign on as a Mitacs partner institution.

“Mitacs is very pleased to be able to support this partnership with ioAirFlow with funding for their talented research intern,” says Wennekes. “RRC has been a national college leader in applied research for many years, and ACE Project Space has established itself as a key player in Winnipeg’s start-up community. Our program is perfect for start-up companies and with ACE, you get not only talent, but office space as well!”

Along with Xinxin Wei, a Business Information Technology (BIT) student from RRC, and the third member of their team, Amanda San Filippo, Schaubroeck is now working on the software, crunching the numbers on the program’s back-end.

“The big problem with energy efficiency is you have to be an expert to use it. The front end of this system is going to make it as easy to understand as possible,” he says. “We’re working with building owners to understand what they care about and how it’s going to make a difference.”

While the whole team had to face the challenge of learning the complicated technical language of the software programming, Xinxin Wei had to face the additional challenges of honing his English language skills and navigating a new country. The international student has just finished his first year of the BIT program and is thrilled to be working on ioAirFlow.

“I don’t have any experience in Canada,” says Wei. “The most important part for me is working with a real Canadian employer. I’ve been learning how to work with others, and the whole experience is very great.”

The team hopes to have the program off the ground by this fall. For more information on ioAirFlow, please visit their website.

BETAC in the news: Journal of Commerce

February 13, 2019

Red River College’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) was in the news this week, with a mention in the Journal of Commerce by ConstructConnect. The article highlights BETAC’s partnership with SMT Research Ltd. to monitor the health of the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre as it was being built.

“SMT partnered with Red River College’s (RRC) Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) to monitor the structural health of the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC) as it was being built on the RRC Notre Dame campus in Winnipeg.

Structural health monitoring helps to ensure that new buildings are energy-efficient, durable and perform as expected.

BETAC and SMT installed a wide network of sensors throughout the building as it was under construction.

A total of seven different building envelope types were instrumented throughout the exterior building envelope, as well as the roof and green roof assemblies.

The effectiveness of the STTC’s building envelope, which helps protect its occupants from the extremes of Winnipeg’s climate, will continue to be monitored in real time.”

Read the full article here.

Call for Talent: Colleges and Institutes Canada 2019 Art Showcase

January 31, 2019

For the fifth year in a row, Colleges and Institutes Canada(CICan) is looking to showcase student talent on the walls of the association’s national office at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. For the 2019 Art Showcase, CICan invites students from colleges and institutes across the country to submit their artwork.

CICan will be selecting a winner from the following categories:

  • Printmaking
  • Textile/Mixed Media/Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Digital illustration/animation
  • Painting
  • Drawing

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2019. To learn more, please visit the CICan website.

Funding opportunity available to teach or conduct research in Latin America and the Caribbean

December 18, 2018

Application for the Faculty Mobility Program is now open for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Available through the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), the Faculty Mobility Program provides Canadian faculty from post-secondary institutions with short-term opportunities to teach or conduct research in eligible countries (CARICOM countries, Central America, Latin America, Mexico). It is available through the Government of Canada International Scholarships program.

The program aims to increase the number of institutional collaborations and student exchange agreements between Canadian and foreign institutions eligible under ELAP. These agreements are created between colleges, technical or vocational institutions and universities in Canada, Latin Americas and the Caribbean.

The deadline to apply is February 19, 2019. Please visit the Faculty Mobility Program website for more information.

RPI attends UN Climate Change Conference

December 13, 2018

Ray Hoemsen, executive director of Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI), was in Katowice, Poland earlier this week for the UN Climate Change Conference. Hoemsen attended as an observer with accreditation via the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, of which Red River College is a member and Hoemsen is a Director.

Red River College is committed to sustainability and the development of clean technologies. The conference was an ideal setting to raise awareness of RRC’s ongoing work in the field of clean technologies, and RPI’s capabilities related to climate change. The conference also presented opportunities to identify potential  research collaboration and partnerships with other academic institutions, non-government agencies and industry.

For more information on the conference, please visit the website.

Winnipeg Free Press features 15 years of RPI

December 6, 2018

The Winnipeg Free Press published a great article on Research Partnerships & Innovation in their 2018 Winter Education section.

Next year marks the 15-year anniversary of RPI at Red River College. From battery-operated transit buses, to energy efficient office towers, to creative uses for agricultural by-products, and many more exciting initiatives, RPI has had a busy and successful 15 years thanks to the contributions of talented staff, students, and industry and community partners.

The support of organizations such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC – IRAP), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Research Manitoba, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Strategic Innovation Fund (SFI), and the Province of Manitoba ensures RRC is able to continue doing groundbreaking work in a variety of fields. The success of RPI would not be possible without significant contributions from a community of supporters, and the College looks forward to even greater achievements in the years to come as the result of these partnerships.

Efforts will only grow with new partnerships, capabilities, and research centres – like the Innovation Centre, MotiveLab, Smart Factory, and Culinary Research Kitchen – cutting-edge technology labs that will enhance student learning and strengthen our industry partnerships.

See the article below, and visit the Winnipeg Free Press website for the full section.


RRC celebrates 15 years of Research Partnerships & Innovation

By Jennifer McFee

Winnipeg Free Press | Dec. 6, 2018

Red River College will celebrate a milestone year in 2019 by marking the 15-year anniversary of Research Partnerships & Innovation.

What is amazing about this milestone is how quickly RRC grew from a newcomer to research into one of the leading research colleges in the country. Just recently, RRC was once again recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 research colleges.

“Other than the establishment of the research enterprise at the college, I believe our first major accomplishment was the work we did with Manitoba Hydro to help them develop their downtown office, Manitoba Hydro Place,” said Ray Hoemsen, executive director of Research Partnerships & Innovation.

“We were involved with the prototyping and testing of the building envelope, which is the skin of the building. We have an almost 15-year partnership with Manitoba Hydro, which was recognized by NSERC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We received an NSERC synergy award for innovation because of our partnership with Manitoba Hydro.”

This project led to a major research program in sustainable infrastructure, which in turn led to the development of a Building Envelope Technology Access Centre.

As well, the college was a driving force in the development of a battery-powered all-electric transit bus in collaboration with Manitoba Hydro and multiple other stakeholders.

On the aerospace and manufacturing side, the college will soon have a Smart Factory coming on stream to provide another applied research space to build on the work done at the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing.

“We’re fortunate to have two technology access centres — one in aerospace and manufacturing and the other in building envelope technology,” Hoemsen said.

“Basically, there are 17 of these outside of Quebec and we have two of them. They’re intended to support regional clusters, so we’re supporting the aerospace and manufacturing sector in one and the building construction sector with the other.”

The Smart Factory will focus on emerging technology such as robotics, automation, additive manufacturing, high-speed robotic inspection and industrial networking. 

Looking beyond the 15 years of impressive achievements, the future looks bright for Research Partnerships & Innovation. 

Construction is already underway on the Innovation Centre, a new facility located in the Exchange District next to the existing Roblin Centre building. With an expected completion date of 2020, the $95-million Innovation Centre will be a hub where education and industry will intersect. The 100,000-square-foot facility will feature adaptable classrooms and “collision spaces” as well as a roundhouse auditorium to foster collaboration. 

The ACE Project Space is another area that offers an interactive environment for students, faculty, industry leaders and entrepreneurs to use cutting-edge technology to find solutions to real-world business challenges.

In addition, Red River College is adding several more new facilities that will bolster the potential of both students and industry. These include an extreme weather vehicle-testing facility called the MotiveLab.

“We’ve done a lot of work with the heavy vehicles sector, which is very important in Manitoba,” Hoemsen said. 

“The MotiveLab is a new specialized test facility that will be unique in Western Canada. It allows us to test vehicles on a year-round basis in a controlled environment. We can go from -40 C to 40 C within a chamber year-round.”

Construction has also begun on the Culinary Research Kitchen, which will offer state-of-the-art research kitchens plus an analytical and culturing lab, a specialized food photography room and collaborative spaces for working together. 

“It marries food science and the culinary arts,” Hoemsen said. “So basically you take ingredients that are good for you health-wise and make them appealing to consumers. We’ve been working with the producer groups to develop new recipes, which helps companies bring new products to market.”

Across the board, this hands-on approach to education results in benefits for students that extend beyond academic knowledge. 

“Research activity enables us to get some research infrastructure like facilities and equipment that can also be for teaching purposes. As a result, that benefits students who are taught using the latest and most current technology in education,” Hoemsen said.

“When they engage with a project, it helps with their skill development and work-integrated learning. It not only gives them technical skills but also soft skills that employers are looking for, like better communication and working as a team.”

For Hoemsen, it’s a source of pride that Red River College is highly ranked for its research capabilities. 

“It speaks to the collective effort of our students, instructors and research staff as well as the partners that we’re fortunate to work with,” Hoemsen said. 

“We’ve had over 500 research partners over the last 15 years and we couldn’t do it without them.”

To learn more about Red River College, visit

NSERC funding boosts Science of Early Child Development

November 14, 2018

Important research from the Science of Early Child Development (SECD) has received a funding boost from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).

SECD will receive $240,000 over two years for the research project “Science to Practice to Play: Transferring the Best of Early Child Development Evidence to Parents Through Integrated Health Equity Teams.”

“Through this NSERC grant, we now have the opportunity to put SECD to the test with NorWest Co-op Community Health Centre, located in the Inkster community area just moments from RRC’s Notre Dame campus,” said Jan Sanderson, research chair at RRC’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services. “The Nursing Department and the Research Team from Health Sciences and Community Services are very excited to be working right in the Inkster neighbourhood with an organization that is extremely committed to supporting families and improving the outcomes for young children in their community.”

Through a partnership between the College and NorWest Co-op, in collaboration with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Province of Manitoba, RRC researchers will deliver SECD training to a community health and social services team. The team will in turn develop and deliver consistent messages, skills and activities to parents of pre-school children in their Bright Start parent/child programs.

“With the collaboration of the WRHA and the provincial government, we hope to learn lessons that can be applied across Winnipeg and around the province,” said Sanderson. “As the project title – Science to Practice to Play – indicates, we will be examining the capacity of SECD as a training and planning tool that can transfer scientific evidence to health/social service professionals who will in turn convert it into engaging, educational activities to support parents – a child’s first and most important teacher. We plan to measure the impact of the intervention on the NorWest Co-op’s planning process, the impact on parents’ knowledge of early child development and their parent/child interactions, and the impact on the children’s development.”

Learn more about SECD here.

The Dust Stops Here: Dust Control Demonstration with Cypher Environmental

October 24, 2018

A new dust control product has been put to the test on an unpaved gravel compound at Red River College’s (RRC) Notre Dame Campus. Dust Stop Municipal Blend (DSMB) was created in 2016 by Winnipeg-based company Cypher Environmental as an eco-friendly solution to reduce fugitive dust on unpaved roads. The product is the result of a partnership with RRC, as students, faculty, and Cypher staff – many of whom are RRC grads – developed the product using the College’s expertise and facilities.

DSMB was applied to a large storage yard on campus, where heavy equipment is often moved in and out of a nearby building. It was important to limit the amount of dust exposure and tracking inside the building, to reduce contamination and damage to the valuable equipment inside. Despite a hot, dry summer and a cold, wet autumn, the yard has remained stable and dust-free since the application.

The product formula was produced in a joint Applied Research Project, with the help of NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) and IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program), and involved significant in-kind contribution from Cypher. The result was a great success, not only on-campus but worldwide: DSMB was commercialized in 2017 and is now sold and applied in more than 20 countries around the world.

About the product:

Dust Stop Municipal Blend is an environmentally-friendly, non-corrosive road treatment product that can be used to control excess dust and remove moisture from roadways. Comprised of sugars and starches, DSMB is an eco-friendly alternative to road salts such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride. Since the product is non-toxic, it poses no risks to roadside vegetation and the lack of toxic salts means it will not cause rust on cars. DSMB maintains the integrity of the material it’s added to, and is a cost-effective, non-corrosive, biodegradable and concentrated enough to be shipped globally. Find more information at