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TACAM lends assets and expertise to fight against COVID-19

April 2, 2020

A typical day for RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM) includes working alongside aerospace and manufacturing industry partners to address local innovation needs.

But these are not typical days. In response to the global fight against COVID-19, TACAM is using their assets and expertise to support an important partner, CancerCare Manitoba, in the production of much-needed medical equipment.

File photo from RRC’s Nursing program

Responding to a need for more IV poles, TACAM is currently supporting the production of 100 new wheelbases for the poles. Specifically, the team is helping to manufacture 500 castor mounts for the wheelbases, which require 5 castor mounts per wheelbase.

“We’re proud to be able to leverage our assets and expertise in digital manufacturing to support CancerCare Manitoba and the incredible work they’re doing,” says Dele Ola, Ph.D., P.Eng., Director, TACAM. “We are prepared to help to support our healthcare system during this critical time in any way we can.”

While CancerCare Manitoba is well-resourced to manufacture their own equipment, the short timeframe and sheer scale of equipment required means they need to outsource certain aspects of the IV pole production. TACAM’s capabilities are well-suited to the large-scale and rapid production of equipment like the IV pole wheelbases.

“CancerCare Manitoba appreciates the ability of RRC’s TACAM to support us in the manufacturing of these components,” says Keith Sutherland, Business and Innovation Officer at CancerCare Manitoba. “TACAM’s specialized machinery allows for quicker manufacturing, which allows us to get the required IV poles into the hands of hospital staff much quicker than if we had to manufacture them on our own.”

TACAM has also signed up with Health Canada as a potential supplier of services should they need help in manufacturing medical equipment and/or devices, and have responded to a call from the National Research Council Canada (NRC), which asked to share TACAM’s capabilities in case additional support for medical equipment and devices is required.

TACAM’s capabilities include additive manufacturing/3D printing, reverse engineering, and many aspects of advanced digital manufacturing that can be quickly deployed in the production of articles needed in the fight against COVID-19.

What we’re doing is working… from home

April 1, 2020

Exploring new culinary equipment while social distancing

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, many staff at Red River College are practicing social distancing by working from home. While this transition can be fairly straight-forward for some, what about programs that are more “hands-on,” that require access to equipment and materials beyond a computer?

For Anna Borys of the Prairie Research Kitchen, working from home gives her the time and space to explore the Foodini – a piece of equipment that, until recently, the Culinary Research team had little time to explore.

Just one of the modern pieces of equipment that’s housed in the Prairie Research Kitchen, the Foodini is a 3D printer for food. It’s capable of printing consistent, detailed designs – “like a super-smart piping bag,” says Anna.

Not much bigger than a microwave, the Foodini is relatively portable, which made it the perfect device to experiment with from Anna’s home kitchen.

“It’s a very simply thought-out machine in terms of how it’s built,” says Anna.

The Foodini features a built-in Android tablet with pre-loaded software that includes suggestions for recipes, though any chef is welcome to upload their own creations or hook up another device – which Anna recently did to print a candy version of the Winnipeg Jets logo.

Once the recipe is ready, the next step is to load up the canister (there are five altogether) with ingredients and hit “print.”

The machine is typically marketed to restaurants and bakeries, but also hospitals – since it prints soft food, it’s helpful for patients who have trouble swallowing.

“I’ve been working with it to explore prototyping uses in culinary research,” says Anna.

Anna is exploring the Foodini’s capabilities from home, investigating how she can leverage the device to benefit clients of the Prairie Research Kitchen. So far, she’s used it to print mashed potatoes shaped like flowers, pizza crust, filled cookies, and stuffed burger patties.

She’s also explored printing designs in chocolate, which is tricky since chocolate hardens so quickly. However, she was able to print a pretty accurate (and tasty) depiction of the RRC logo.

One obvious benefit of the Foodini is its precision and visually pleasing results, which makes for beautiful food photography and eye-catching marketing opportunities for clients. Other uses may include testing botanicals in different food systems.

Anna’s photography skills are coming in handy with another of her working-from-home assignments. She’s working, from a distance, with a student from RRC’s Hospitality program on developing cocktail and mocktail recipes for a client.

“The student is doing a project from home that requires some mixology,” says Anna. “She has to come up with four or five drink recipes. I’ve instructed her to write them in a way that someone who doesn’t mix cocktails could understand.”

The student then relays the recipes to Anna, who concocts the drinks and takes photos of them at her home studio.

“It’s like a trust-building exercise,” says Anna. “We’re working apart, but towards the shared goal of having the same end product.”

MotiveLab™ featured on The Hill’s “Global Lenses: Canada” series

March 5, 2020

MotiveLab™, Red River College’s vehicle research facility, was recently featured on The Hill‘s Global Lenses: Canada series, sponsored by Invest in Canada.

The 7,000 square-foot test facility includes a climatic chamber that can reach temperature highs of + 50 C or lows of – 40 C, no matter the outdoor temperature. The lab was the perfect setting for The Hill’s recent feature, “Cold Starts in Canada.”

From The Hill:

“Canada has long been a hub for cold weather transport testing. Now it’s becoming an incubator for technologies that test alternative fuels and high-efficiency vehicles in extreme environments. That tracks with Canada’s ranking as first among G20 countries on the Global Cleantech Innovation Index. At Red River College in Winnipeg, researchers are helping global companies warm up to a brighter clean tech future by investing in Canada.”

Check out the video by clicking the image above, or by visiting their website.

 

Inaugural Early Career Researcher Day – Thursday, February 27

February 10, 2020

The University of Winnipeg and The University of Manitoba are pleased to invite all Early Career Researchers to attend Early Career Researcher Day.

Location: Convocation Hall – The University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue

Date & Time: February 27, 2020, 9:00am – 3:00pm (suggested arrival by 8:45)

RSVP: Please email j.orr@uwinnipeg.ca to confirm attendance (and dietary requirements) **by February 14th, 2020**

Registration: FREE – lunch provided (please RSVP)

Early Career Researcher Day is the first event of its kind in Manitoba. The University of Winnipeg and The University of Manitoba are jointly holding the event to bring emerging researchers together with experienced grant writers and funding experts where, together, they will interactively explore the research lifecycle.

Experts from the University of Winnipeg, The University of Manitoba, Mitacs, and Research Manitoba, among others, will participate in info sessions, panels, and workshops, to provide information and support attendees throughout the day. Attendees will jointly develop original research project ideas in order to engage with the entire research lifecycle.

The event presents a unique opportunity for early career researchers to:

  • Develop new partnerships
  • Workshop a project idea with the support of experts
  • Think beyond the proposal to convey competence and feasibility

Please note:

  • Anyone who considers themselves an Early Career Researcher or who is interested in participating is welcome to attend
  • Participants who cannot attend the full day are encouraged to RSVP for the morning or afternoon session alone

Please click here to learn more.

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.”

CANARIE Launches Call to Fund Software Development Teams at Canadian Higher-ed Institutions

January 30, 2020

Up to $3.6M available to institutions to develop local software teams dedicated to equipping researchers with powerful software tools

CANARIE, a vital component of Canada’s digital research infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem supporting research, education and innovation, has announced a Call for Proposals to fund local teams at Canadian higher-ed institutions to help accelerate scientific discoveries by simplifying researchers’ access to world-class software for research.

Research increasingly relies on purpose-built software. However, many researchers don’t have the resources to manage software development teams and are unaware of research software that already exists and could be easily adapted to meet their needs. In response to this challenge and with the goal of maximizing the impact of public investments in research, CANARIE launched a pilot in 2018 to fund local, expert software teams at institutions to work directly with researchers.

Following the success of this pilot and similar efforts deployed in European countries, CANARIE’s Local Research Software Support call will fund teams of three dedicated, full-time research software developers at a target of six (6) participating institutions. These teams will be available to support all researchers at each of the participating institutions, regardless of discipline, and will provide guidance, training, expertise, and software development specific to advancing research projects.

Detailed information on this call including eligibility requirements, project milestones, and application resources can be found at: canarie.ca/software/lrss-call1.

 

From Bright Idea to Research Plan in Four Easy Steps

January 28, 2020

Save the date! The Research and Scholarship Committee from Red River College’s Nursing Department has organized a research workshop that is open to Chairs and Faculty: “From Bright Idea to Research Plan in Four Easy Steps.”

When: March 12, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: Library Classroom, Notre Dame Campus.

Please join RRC’s Kim Mitchell, Deb Gural, and library staff in an interactive session that will outline four basic steps to help you move from research idea to action plan.

Step 1: What do you want to know?

Step 2: Who are your participants?

Step 3: What do you want to change?

Step 4: What is realistic?

Please RSVP or send your questions to kmmitchell@rrc.ca.

NSERC announces funding for science communications skills

January 27, 2020

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is launching a pilot funding opportunity to enhance the communications skills of students and researchers in the natural sciences and engineering. Such skills will contribute to science literacy, help counter science-related misinformation, and foster a role for science in evidence-based decision making.

The new pilot program, Science Communication Skills grant (pilot), is targeted at organizations that provide science communication skills training to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students, fellows, and faculty from Canadian post-secondary institutions. The training should have as its goal the effective communication of science to the general public. Organizations may request up to $20,000 in funding for a one year period.

NSERC encourages organizations to consider the needs of official language minority communities in their area while developing their proposed  activities and to have official documentation and promotional material in both official languages.

Applications must be submitted by May 15.

AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge Lunch and Learn

January 24, 2020

Calling all scientists, entrepreneurs, environmental activists, developers, sustainability experts, engineers, and people who want to change the world!

AquaHacking is an 8-month startup competition where innovative youth from across the disciplines team up to tackle urgent freshwater issues with sustainable tech solutions.

Students, recent grads, and young professionals of all skill levels are welcome to participate!

Bring your lunch and join us for an info session on February 7th.

When: Friday, February 7, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Skilled Trades & Technology Centre galleria (main floor), Notre Dame Campus, Red River College

Register now!

AquaHacking is proudly presented by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

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.