orange iconOperational Response Level: Restricted ›
Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

News

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.

Let the good times roll: Hudson Bagels brings big city bagels to Winnipeg

June 22, 2021

The concept behind the West Broadway bagel shop, Hudson Bagels, is something owners Jessica Wylychenko and Chris Silva had been joking about for several years. In their travels to larger cities, they always found themselves searching for the best bagel spot.

“Bagels weren’t something that we ate regularly. It was more so hunting down the best bagel Montreal or New York had to offer and experiencing the vibe of the shop,” says Jessica Wylychenko, owner of Hudson Bagels.

One Sunday while they were enjoying a coffee along Sherbrook Street, Chris and Jessica noticed a for lease sign on 79 Sherbrook. A couple days later, they toured the space and shortly thereafter signed a lease for August 1, 2020.

The duo already knew exactly how they wanted the space to feel but they faced one major obstacle: a product. With three months of renovations and a November 2020 opening date, they needed to scale-up their 16-bagel recipe to yield hundreds of bagels, and they needed to do it quickly.

In true Winnipeg fashion, through a series of conversations and introductions, Chris and Jessica stumbled upon the Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK).

“Similarly to how we came about finding the space for our shop, it felt very serendipitous discovering this mythical research kitchen on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute,” says Jessica.

The PRK’s research team put their culinary and baking knowledge to work by scaling-up the company’s recipe as well as developing a signature sourdough bagel. A few weeks into the project, Chris and Jessica paid a visit to the Research Kitchen to check in on the project and, of course, sample some bagels.

“After this meeting, we stopped doing our own trials in our home kitchen. We felt confident entering into a research service agreement and leaving things in the very capable hands of the PRK team and their student assistant.”

The PRK team included a Red River College professional baking student through the entire research project, providing valuable, hands-on experience that they can take back to the food industry. Students represent the growing need in the food service industry for cooks and bakers with enhanced skill sets to help businesses grow. PRK is helping to provide the training necessary for students to become tomorrows’ food professionals.

With PRK at work on finalizing the classic and sourdough bagel recipes, Chris and Jessica had more time to focus on the many other moving pieces of opening up a new business.

Once the recipes were finalized, PRK research chefs created an in-depth process manual, affectionately known as the “Bagel Bible,” by the Hudson Bagels team. In addition to creating a process manual, the PRK team paid a pre-opening visit to the shop to help advise on the equipment and kitchen layout that would work best for their space.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen team helped us put all the pieces of the puzzle together – they were very helpful and flexible. Without their help we would’ve been spinning our wheels to get our head baker ready in the space.”

Opening up a new business comes with its challenges, let alone opening up a business during a pandemic.

“Opening during the second wave of the pandemic was a bit wild, but it was completely worth it from seeing the joy on customers’ faces and the incredible response we’ve received from the community.” 

In addition to spreading joy one bagel at a time, Hudson Bagels has created new jobs in Winnipeg’s culinary scene. They currently employ four full-time bakers, three full-time and three part-time prep staff, one full-time as well as four part-time front-of-house team members.

Growing Your Indigenous-Owned Food Business webinar

June 7, 2021

The Prairie Research Kitchen is hosting its second webinar of a three-part series highlighting Indigenous Food Business Stories, on Thursday, June 24 from 1-3 p.m.

The webinar, Growing Your Indigenous-Owned Food Business: Resources and Stories on the Path to Expansion, is for entrepreneurs and business owners who are preparing to expand product offering, distribution, and/or production.

If you’re looking to grow your food business, tune into the webinar to learn about scaling-up your business and preparing to approach funders for financing. Guest speakers will share the lessons they’ve learned along their entrepreneurial journeys and discuss options to prepare for and secure funding. Each session will be followed by a short Q&A period.

Cost to attend: free!

Growing Your Indigenous-Owned Food Business featured speakers:

Cree Cheechoo, Business Development Officer, Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation (SIEF) Contribution Program
Lending solutions and applicant eligibility

Cree Cheechoo is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation in Ontario. Cree has worked as a Business Development Officer for the SIEF Contribution Program since 2016. In this role, she assists First Nations entrepreneurs throughout Saskatchewan to either start up or expand their businesses through the SIEF grant program.

For questions about the event, contact Jamie Chahine, Indigenous Research Liaison, Prairie Research Kitchen, at jchahine@rrc.ca.

Missed the first webinar of the series?

The Indigenous Food Business Stories webinar highlighted Indigenous food entrepreneurs and their stories. Guest speakers shared their unique stories and spoke about their experiences in the food industry – starting a business from the ground up, developing a new product, the challenges of entrepreneurship, and finding a niche in food business. Watch the webinar below.

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