Research Partnerships & Innovation

News and Events

RRC Polytech leading conversion of diesel school buses to EV technology

August 29, 2023

RRC Polytech’s Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre (VTEC) are creating a new way to fuel school buses in Winnipeg.

Partnering with Seven Oaks School DivisionNoble Northern and the Canadian Shield Foundation, RRC Polytech is leading the Electric School Bus Conversion project, which aims to convert diesel school buses into electric vehicles.

The benefits of converting just one bus in Seven Oaks fleet includes saving up to $11,000 in fuel costs, and reducing 20.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per school year (approximately 39 weeks).

This initiative will also demonstrate the advantages of switching to this technology, such as lower maintenance costs, and elimination of air and noise pollution. Additionally, the project will offer experiential learning opportunities for the students and staff who will work on the conversion process.

“RRC Polytech has been leading the way in EV technology for a number of years and we’re proud to work with our partners to expand the technology to different types of vehicles,” says Jojo Delos Reyes, Research Program Manager at RRC Polytech. “Reducing emissions and sourcing renewable energies for fuel is one of the ways we are hoping to make a positive impact on our environment and create a sustainable future.”

K-12 students who attend school in the Seven Oaks School Division will have the opportunity to learn about climate solutions when they take the bus to and from school, or on field trips.

“Seven Oaks is thrilled to partner with RRC Polytech, and thankful that the Honourable Ed Schreyer (founder of the Canadian Shield Foundation) initiated this project. We teach our students about the need for climate action. We need to walk the walk,” says Brian O’Leary, Superintendent for Seven Oaks School Division.

VTEC and RRC Polytech’s Transportation program department will work together to include student participation on the project and will provide the technical expertise and support for the conversion process. The College will also test and evaluate the performance of the electric buses in its MotiveLab™ facility.

Funding for the project was announced last month through the Manitoba Government’s Conservation and Climate Fund. The Province awarded RRC Polytech $150,000 for this project, and a total of $1.5 million for other projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions and creating green jobs.

RRC Polytech is no stranger to converting electric vehicles. In 2016, VTEC Partnered with Winnipeg Transit, New Flyer Industries and Manitoba Hydro to create an all-electric, zero emission public transit bus and in 2020 launched an Electric Bus Technology course, which focus on battery safety, electrical fundamentals. RRC Polytech also partnered with Frontiers North Adventures in 2021 to create the first EV Tundra Buggy to be used in Churchill, Manitoba.

More information about the project will become available as work begins

Applied research and collaboration the key to realizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

July 14, 2023

RRC Polytech is committed to leading meaningful change on a global scale, so exploring how the College can harness the power of applied research and collaboration to realize international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was a natural fit for a panel discussion at RED Forum – an annual professional development day for faculty and staff.

SDGs are the 17 calls to action in the United Nations shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The strategies to improve health and education, reduce inequality, spur economic growth, and tackle climate change align with RRC Polytech’s values and the diversity of the panel’s areas of expertise demonstrated how collaboration plays a critical role in working toward them.

The panel featured RRC Polytech experts:

  • Stephanie Fulford, Sustainability Specialist, Environmental Stewardship and Campus Renewal
  • Dr. Rob Santos, Chair, Research School of Health Sciences and Community Services
  • Elena Gomez Haro, Research Manager, Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK)
  • Ginger Arnold, Instructor, Social Innovation and Community Development Programs
  • Dr. Arman Vahedi, Instructor, Civil Engineering Technology

Dr. Jolen Galaugher, Director of Research Partnerships and Innovation (RPI) moderated the discussion and invited each panelist to share some results of their projects and initiatives in relation to SDGs. Each specialist identified and connected elements of their work with the goals in their area of focus.

Stephanie Fulford described the benefits of waste auditing and engaging the entire College community in composting. At the Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK), Elena Gomez Haro explained how they are developing alternative food options that upcycle waste products to shrink our carbon footprint. Engineers are instinctive problem solvers, so Dr. Arman Vahedi spoke about his students’ water treatment studies testing the effect of pharmaceuticals on aquatic life in remote lakes. Ginger Arnold promoted a new climate change class for her students in the School of Indigenous Education, that will build on the established respect Indigenous people have for Mother Nature. Dr. Rob Santos spotlighted the impact of the College’s work developing Early Childhood Education training for the progressive Abecedarian Approach.

On the surface these positive endeavours appeared to be separate and distinctive but as the conversation flowed examples of common successes and challenges also emerged, revealing how interwoven and interdependent each department really is.

The intersecting issues prompted an exchange of ideas and advice from the PRK’s approach of educating clients through access, to instructors seeking related capstone projects for students, to geo-coding benefits and the overall need for everyone to convert the latest science into progress. The panelists highlighted the advantages of making a coordinated effort like accelerated knowledge transfer and ultimately demonstrated how applied research often acts as a common bond in positively impacting change.

“RRC Polytech’s combination of expertise, perspectives and resources provides us with a unique opportunity to bring together staff, faculty, and students with community and industry partners to achieve real progress in the wide variety of fields that the Sustainable Development Goals address,” said Dr. Galaugher.

“Regardless of their specialty, the panelists agreed that innovative solutions achieved through applied research expedite the process by empowering others with better tools, technologies and techniques so we can reach our shared objective – to realize social, economic and environmental sustainability on both a local and a global scale.”  

The panel was also in agreement that funding remains the most difficult barrier to overcome, followed by time, but that by offering different paths to the same endpoint RRC Polytech will continue to inspire students to get involved and do more.

There is still much work to be done but because cumulative growth increases the probabilities of achieving SDGs, all successes at the College are connected. Manitoba’s polytechnic must continue to play a leadership role in advancing SDGs by working with industry to bridge gaps and prioritizing collaboration and applied research.

New Funding to provide an eco-boost to Efficient Trucking Program delivered by RRC Polytech’s Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre

May 26, 2023

RRC Polytech’s Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre (VTEC) continues to drive sustainability forward in Manitoba and is gearing up to help the transportation sector further reduce carbon pollution following a massive boost in funding from Federal and Provincial Governments to support the Efficient Trucking Program (ETP).

Administered by VTEC, the ETP provides rebates for eligible applicants who install fuel saving devices or technologies related to tire and rolling resistance, aerodynamic technology and anti-idling technology on their heavy-duty vehicles or trailers.

Canada and Manitoba’s joint announcement to invest $38.2 million to accelerate the move to renewable energy includes the re-opening of the ETP launched in 2019. To support a new intake for applications, ETP is receiving an additional $3.6 million from the Government of Canada while the Manitoba government will contribute up to $3.3 million. Manitoba’s trucking sector will provide an additional $6.6 million to the program.

By rebating up to 50 per cent of the cost of installed fuel-saving devices or technologies on heavy-duty vehicles and trailers, the ETP is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 120,000 tonnes by the year 2030, which is equivalent to saving about 51 million litres of gasoline consumed in a year.

“Reducing the carbon footprint of the trucking sector is crucial to successfully attaining Manitoba’s carbon reduction goals. By partnering with the federal government, we are able to transition more vehicles and industries from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” said Manitoba Environment and Climate Minister Kevin Klein in the May 25th News Release. “Manitoba will continue to lead the way in the development of a cleaner, greener economy.”

The impact of the program has tangible and measurable results. Data as of March 31, 2022:

  • 366 successful applications submitted to the Efficient Trucking Program, consisting of:
  • 3,627 units (1,934 trucks and 1,693 trailers) receiving fuel savings device installations.
  • 13,583 tons of reduced emissions already achieved, projected 120Kt’s by 2030
  • 5.3 Million Litres of fuel saved, projected 25.9 Million litres saved by 2030
  • $21.1 Million in economic growth has been achieved in our Province via investment from the Truckers, Canada and Manitoba Governments, respectively.
  • Additionally, 115 Fulltime Equivalent jobs have been created or maintained, based on statistics Canada calculations.

“Reducing greenhouse gases and fuel consumption is part of a commonsense approach in the battle against climate change and the Efficient Trucking Program provides a great incentive for everyone from individual operators to large companies with fleets of heavy machinery to do their part,” says Jojo Delos Reyes, Research Programs Manager at RRC Polytech.

“The ETP is just one example of the College’s applied research in action – our entire Research Partnerships and Innovation team is committed to working with all industry partners to find solutions to their unique problems and building a better tomorrow for everyone.”  

Interested applicants can apply to the new intake by visiting A second intake for applications will start on Oct. 1.

Welcoming RRC Polytech’s Growth & Development Advisor, Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development

March 3, 2023

RRC Polytech would like to share we have completed the competitive selection process for the position of Growth & Development Advisor.

Please join us in welcoming Carley Misanchuk as the new Growth & Development Advisor, Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development.

Carley joins us from the School of Continuing Education, where she held the position of Strategy Coordinator. Before joining RRC Polytech, Carley worked at Red Deer Polytechnic in Alberta, focusing on operational delivery and marketing.

Carley has always prioritized bringing teams together to harmonize efforts and build relationships. She values making meaningful connections and finding joy in the little things.

Carley fills her life with golfing, concerts, Blue Bombers football games, family time, and puppy snuggles, and in the winter, you’ll rarely find her without a good book and a warm cup of coffee.

Ready for take-off: RRC Polytech and StandardAero propelling to new heights of aircraft repair

February 7, 2023

A project testing new aircraft repair technology is about to take flight. RRC Polytech’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) and StandardAero are collaborating to validate whether this new technology could be effectively implemented for repairing aircraft components.

Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) is a critical but costly measure for aircrafts, required after only a few years, with the body of an aircraft far outliving individual parts. With the shift to aerospace components increasingly being made from light alloys and the exceptionally high safety standards all aircraft manufacturers and MRO companies must adhere to, come additional challenges.

While light alloys allow for light-weight aircraft parts, they are highly susceptible to degradation and oxidization, which increases the need for costly maintenance and repair. Additionally, because the alloys are highly reactive, traditional methods of repair, like welding, are not viable options.

RRC Polytech and StandardAero, one of the aerospace industry’s largest independent MRO providers, are embarking on a year-long project to test and validate cold spray technology for repairing aircraft components. Along with validating the technology, includes the challenge of meeting Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) repair standards.

About cold spray technology

Cold spray equipment
Cold spray technology in action

Cold spray is an additive manufacturing process where metal particles half the thickness of a strand of hair move at twenty-three times the speed of sound, impacting to a surface to form a bond. This process occurs at a very low heat, unlike traditional welding repair.

TACAM brings experience in cold spray technology from ongoing projects, including a contract with the Government of Canada’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program to develop a light-weight coatings.

Leveraging TACAM’s experience and the long-standing relationship with StandardAero, the two organizations are aiming to reach innovative new heights of aircraft repair, continuing to propel Manitoba as a hub for aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

The cold spray project will take place at the Centre for Aerospace Technology & Training (CATT), co-located at StandardAero’s Plant 5 facility, engaging RRC Polytech researchers, faculty and students. It will be an opportunity for both the College and StandardAero to build in-house capabilities, provide training, and help foster technology transfer to support this method of MRO.

The project also represents a rich work-integrated learning experience for students to put their robotics skills into action, as the project will be taking place in a fully automated robotic cell. Students will learn about characterization of materials and OEM standards, test the cold spray process, and enhance their technical writing and project management skills.

RRC Polytech is known for getting its graduates hired by industry. And this collaborative project highlights the unique advantage of students working directly with researchers and industry partners to gain experience with new and emerging technologies, helping them develop in-demand, future-focused skillsets.

Along with providing highly skilled graduates, this project has potential for a broader impact across our province. RRC Polytech’s Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI) enterprise, which includes TACAM, is strategically positioned to support small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) – that typically do not have the personnel or funding for in-house R&D – with technology adoption and innovation efforts. The new experience and capabilities developed with cold spray technology can be transferred to support SME partners in varying sectors across Manitoba.

For updates on this project and the latest RPI news at RRC Polytech, stay tuned to the Research blog, or subscribe to blog updates, here.

RRC Polytech one of Canada’s top research colleges

February 1, 2023

Partnerships propel polytechnic to 11th best in the country

RRC Polytech is once again one of Canada’s top research institutions, as announced last week in Re$earch Infosource’s annual ranking of the country’s top 50 research colleges. The College jumped three spots from last year’s 14th place position.

RRC Polytech comes in first place in the prairies in the Spotlight on College Research Activity – Medium Tier category, and third place for research partnerships nationwide. The College completed 93 applied research projects in the 2021 fiscal year.

“Partnerships are at the heart of everything we do at RRC Polytech. We work with industry everyday to come up with innovative, sustainable solutions to business problems. Thanks to the support from our partners in the community, industry, and government, we can continue to make positive change here in Manitoba and throughout the country,” says Jamie Wilson, Vice President, Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development at RRC Polytech.

“This national recognition reinforces that ground-breaking work doesn’t happen in a silo. It takes a community of creative staff, students, and industry partners to achieve the results that place us so high on this list.”

An ongoing partnership between RRC Polytech’s Prairie Research Kitchen and Prairie Fava, a Glenboro, MB-based food start-up, and Big Mountain Foods, a Vancouver-based innovator of plant-based consumer packaged goods that resulted in an award-winning product is just one example of the innovative collaborations completed in the last year. A recent building airtightness test at Gordon Bell High School completed by RRC Polytech’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) that will help the high school reduce energy costs by 50 per cent is another.

“It’s a particular point of pride that many of our applied research successes focus on sustainable initiatives,” continues Wilson. “It’s important we utilize our technology and expertise to not only create impacts in industry, but to work towards a greener economy. I look forward to continuing working with our partners to make a difference in Canada’s applied research scene.”

RRC Polytech’s Research Partnerships & Innovation enterprise has operated out of the College since 2004, providing industry partners with applied research, technical services and training in areas that align with RRC Polytech’s expertise, resources and facilities, and with regional socio-economic demand.

Uniquely qualified and ready to lead – introducing Dr. Jolen Galaugher

January 17, 2023

RRC Polytech is thrilled to introduce Dr. Jolen Galaugher as its new Director of Research Partnerships and Innovation (RPI). The RPI team works tirelessly to find solutions for today’s challenges – and those of tomorrow. Driven by the needs of industry and community, RPI fuels the reputation and success of the College.

Dr. Galaugher has a demonstrated track record of elevating opportunities for students to participate in solving practical problems, supporting entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses, and strengthening relationships with partners and funders across all sectors.

“Dr. Galaugher is a proven visionary leader and her passion for connectivity shone throughout the competitive hiring process,” says Jamie Wilson, RRC Polytech’s Vice President, Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development.

“Her unique blend of post-secondary and private sector experience will increase the College’s award-winning applied research capacity and create new opportunities for organizations to access Manitoba’s top talent and our leading-edge facilities and equipment.”

She led business development, research commercialization, and partnerships strategy for the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Science in her most recent role as Director of Science Innovation. Her ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders advanced U of M’s research innovation across a range of disciplines and she leaves the faculty’s new Science Innovation Hub as her legacy.

As a former business owner and consultant, she also brings expertise in business development, contract negotiation, large bids and RFPs, project and stakeholder management, and partnerships strategy from her time in the healthcare industry.

She holds a PhD in Philosophy from McMaster University and is the author of an award-winning book in her field, while still making time to serve on various Boards and Committees both in the community and in Manitoba’s innovation ecosystem. She is a proud parent of two young daughters and enjoys riding sport horses.

Dr. Galaugher has dedicated her career to envisioning, building, and implementing high-impact initiatives, new programs, and partnerships that spark innovation and drive alignment between stakeholders. She is eager to begin building new relationships and start finding solutions for both the College and its partners in industry and the community.

“I’m immensely impressed with what RRC Polytech’s RPI team has built and look forward to working together to achieve our shared goals of accelerating applied research innovation in Manitoba and co-creating the workforce of tomorrow.”

By-product Baking Mixes Become a Reality at PRK

November 25, 2022

Proof is no longer exclusively in the pudding that the term upcycling is here to stay – it can now be found in a nutritious blueberry pancake or rich chocolate brownie made from a mix using saved coffee grounds and the remnants of brewing a cold beer. It may sound like sorcery but transforming these previously discarded by-products into tasty treats is not the work of a magician, but that of an entrepreneur.

However, he couldn’t have done it alone.

President of GroundUp eco-ventures, Shawn Leggett didn’t invent the idea of upcycling, but he did see an opportunity and had the time to do some research when his work in Alberta’s oil and gas industry slowed.

“People’s mindsets are shifting. They care about the future of the planet, they want sustainable food options and they’re willing to pay for it, providing it tastes great,” says Leggett.

After months of collecting waste material from local businesses, dehydrating it in his oven at home, and experimenting with recipes and processes, he was ready to take his creation to the next level.

But even with a solid concept, a passionate belief, and an unrelenting work ethic, Shawn needed expertise, resources and a facility, all of which he found at RRC Polytech’s Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK).  

“We experimented enough to know we had something worth pursuing but going from a good idea to a great item is such a huge leap,” he says. “Time is money, so you want to move quickly but as a start-up actual money is still an obstacle – PRK offered us a cost-effective solution to professional research and development.”   

GroundUp eco-ventures enlisted PRK to support the development of an eco-friendly, locally sourced, high protein, instant pancake mix made with brewers’ by-products and a brownie mix made with used coffee grounds. 

Culinary Research Manager, Heather Hill jumped at the opportunity to demonstrate the transformative powers of her team and provide Shawn with a marketable product that would lead to a significant return on his investment.

Research Assistant, Anna Borys was tasked with perfecting a useful, upcycled flour using a base of brewer’s spent grains (BSG) and saved coffee grounds (SCG). Borys was confident she could overcome the project’s main challenge of reducing the gritty texture that comes with such a high fibre material and embarked on weeks of trials and testing to prove it.

Her analysis of extensive sieving trials and multiple ingredient combinations led to a formulation that improved the functionality of BSG flour – from there, the entire PRK team worked together with GroundUp on tasting trials.

Date: July 6, 2022 RRC Polytech Paterson GlobalFoods Institute Photo by Jason Halstead

Dozens of samples of each baking mix and hundreds of pancakes, waffles, and brownies later, a refined recipe and optimal cooking procedure emerged, as well as feedback and recommendations for future products.

“Everything we do at PRK requires a team effort because scientists and chefs have different approaches and priorities when it comes to food,” says Borys. “Our ultimate goal is to strike the perfect balance between science and art so it’s incredibly rewarding when we reach a consensus and the final product functions well, looks appealing, and tastes great.”        

Shawn’s instincts were also proven correct as the immediate reaction to GroundUp’s delicious, easy-to-use, baking mixes that highlight sustainable and healthy ingredients was overwhelmingly positive.

Better Breakfast High-Protein Pancake Mix and Born Again Brownie Mix won gold for innovation of the year at the SIAL Montreal tradeshow in April 2022. Their success at Canada’s largest food industry exhibition with over 1200 exhibitors from 50 different countries established the GroundUp eco-ventures brand and prompted orders to roll in.  

“It’s mind blowing how quickly our upcycling concept transformed into an award-winning product after we tapped into the incredible resources at Prairie Research Kitchen,” says Leggett. “Combining their technical knowledge with our passion and energy allowed the team to perfect our idea and we are shattering all projections.”

GroundUp’s successful venture is a source of pride but not of shock for Anna Borys, because finding innovative and creative solutions is just part of the daily routine at PRK. While the results can appear quite magical, it’s not a trick or an illusion – just another example of RRC Polytech living its commitment to use the power of partnership to elevate people and industry.

Investment in Advanced Composites Development Centre to support technology transfer, new learning opportunities for students

November 18, 2022

Today, during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), announced a more than $22.7 million investment to support innovation and growth in Manitoba. This funding was awarded to 16 projects across the province, including RRC Polytech’s Advanced Composites Development Centre (ACDC), operated by the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM).

This investment is great news for expanding the frontiers of applied research and workforce development in Manitoba. It’s also a prime example of government, academia, and industry working together to strengthen our province.

“Our investment today will support both Manitoba’s economy and business, helping to continue to make Manitoba a great place to invest, do business, and create good jobs people can count on. Our partnership with Manitoba businesses will help them in acquiring the tools, capital, and support they need to thrive as significant contributors to the Prairie and Canadian economies,” said The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan.

Alongside PrairiesCan’s investment, National Research Council Canada, Magellan Aerospace, and Convergent Manufacturing Technologies have put a combined $1.5 million contribution to expanding the Advanced Composites Development Centre.

The funding will enable RRC Polytech to expand our capabilities in advanced composite manufacturing using robotics, automation, and data analytics. This collaboration will also help to industrialize emerging composite manufacturing technologies, improve our knowledge base, open doors for new business opportunities for the private sector, and develop a much-needed workforce in advanced manufacturing and aerospace. 

Dr. Dele Ola, Director of RRC Polytech’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and manufacturing.

“The investment in the Advanced Composites Development Centre will help us do many things – build capacity for technology transfer with industry partners, specifically small- and medium-size enterprises who do not have resources for in-house research and development; teach advanced manufacturing skills to learners, using new and emerging technologies; and overall create new jobs and attract more investments in Manitoba,” said Dr. Dele Ola, Director, TACAM.  

Our province is a prairie powerhouse for manufacturing and aerospace. Together, through the strength of this collaboration of public and private organizations, we can continue to maintain Manitoba’s position as an international hub for manufacturing.

Learn more about RRC Polytech’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing at

Feature photo: L-R – Rick Penner, President, Emerge Knowledge; Jen Peters, Co-Founder, Emerge Knowledge; Louie Ghiz, Executive Director, New Media Manitoba; The Honourable Dan Vandal; DeleOla, Director, Director of the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing, Red River College Polytechnic

TACAM Open House and Showcase

November 9, 2022

You’re invited to the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing’s (TACAM) first annual Fall Open House and Showcase.

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2022
Time: Drop-in between 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: Smart Factory (Building T), Notre Dame Campus, 2055 Notre Dame Ave.
Click here for a map.
Cost: Free

Event highlights:
• Freestyle visit to all work areas within the Smart Factory and other facilities
• Showcase of leading advance manufacturing technologies
• Showcase of specific industry projects and success stories
• Connecting one-on-one with TACAM staff to discuss opportunities
• Networking with other attendees
• Refreshment and celebration

Please note that registration is required for this event. We are looking forward to seeing you at the event!

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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