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College opens doors to new state-of-the-art Smart Factory

June 28, 2019

Today, with the help of collaborative robots Baxter, Sawyer and UR10, Red River College officially opened the doors to its brand new Smart Factory, a state-of-the-art learning facility and applied research space that will directly support Manitoba’s growing aerospace and manufacturing industries, and RRC’s applied research initiatives.

“Red River College has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies. The opening of the Smart Factory ensures that our students are well-equipped to face the challenges that the future workforce may hold, and to thrive in ever-changing environments,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at right).

“These expansions have significant impacts in our community and beyond, as we provide unparalleled access to cutting-edge resources for our partners in the aerospace and manufacturing industries.”

Located inside RRC’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, the Smart Factory is an experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site. It combines emerging technologies in metals additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics and autonomous factory vehicles, flexible robotic work cells, industrial automation, high-speed 3D laser metrology, industrial networking, and many more.

The new facility will enhance learning at RRC by allowing students to experience and work in factory settings. It will also provide Manitoba companies with access to state-of-the-art equipment, research and innovation expertise, and faculty and students — in order to evaluate, develop, demonstrate and implement new and emerging technologies.

The Smart Factory is the result of a $10-million investment — previously announced in 2017 — by the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada. In addition to supporting the development of the Smart Factory, this funding also supports the Phase 3 expansion of RRC’s Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT), located at StandardAero in Winnipeg. Read More →

SpaRRCky flies: Student-built electric car cracks top 10 at Shell Eco-marathon

April 10, 2019

For the second year running, a team of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology students from Red River College have taken their battery-electric vehicle — dubeed SpaRRCky — to Sonoma, California for the Shell Eco-marathon.

The team beat their personal best, moving from a 14th-place finish last year to seventh overall in the battery electric category. And while this year’s race was ultimately a success, it wasn’t without its challenges.

“Going into our first run was the most nerve-racking part of the competition,” says team captain Joel Turner, an Electrical Engineering Technology student at RRC. “Our first set of available runs had been postponed due to rain, which furthered our nervousness, but as soon as we got off the line it was high fives and smiles all around!”

Nerves aside, the team also had to deal with various technical challenges. During the first run, SpaRRCky’s cover came loose and the team’s driver (Samantha Sousa, a Welding student who also constructed the racer’s steering knuckle) had to pull over for her own safety and the safety of the others on the track.

“Once we got the car back, we quickly brainstormed and fixed the problem on the fly, got SpaRRCky back in line, and were able to make the next run,” says Turner.

Students with battery-electric racerSousa noted that the first run track was the most nerve-wracking part of the competition, thanks in part to the weather.

“The rain was pushing our time slot back and the pavement was slick. I also had not driven SpaRRCky on pavement yet, only in the gym as we still had snow in Winnipeg,” she says.

But the stress didn’t stop there. “After our third run, a housing bolt had become stripped and we could not attempt another run with the vehicle in this condition,” says Turner.

Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and a visit to a local hardware store, they were able to make the fix and move on to the next run and a seventh-place finish. Read More →

Designer genes: College and partners launch new genetic mapping initiative

March 22, 2019

This week, Red River College became the first educational facility in Western Canada to unveil its own next generation sequencing (NGS) device, thanks to a new partnership aimed at putting the power of genetic mapping in the hands of the general populace.

Genome360 is an initiative launched by not-for-profit group Genome Prairie and a consortium of funding partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in the province. Bolstered by a $2.3-million investment, the initiative aims to propel Manitoba to prominence in the genomics sector.

iSeq100 equipmentIncluded in the investment is the College’s new iSeq100, a small but powerful machine — not much bigger than a microwave — that allows for improved DNA mapping and could open up new developments in medicine and agriculture.

Designed for simplicity, the iSeq100 allows labs of all sizes to sequence DNA rapidly and with high accuracy. The equipment will provide RRC students with the hands-on training needed to excel within laboratories and to thrive as practitioners in this growing field.

“One of Red River College’s strengths is having the ability to introduce and train our students on new and emerging technology,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “The addition of the iSeq100 will ensure that students graduating from RRC will have the knowledge, confidence and experience to meet the needs of industry today, and into the future.”

Also on display at this week’s announcement was a prototype Molecular Biology Interactive Learning Enterprise (MOBILE) lab — developed in partnership with Westward Industries to demonstrate and offer organizations access to field-deployable devices. The electric-powered MOBILE lab (shown above) provides storage, transport and sufficient workspace to bring the laboratory into the field or the classroom.

“The Genome360 initiative provides a unique combination of capacity and expertise for the wide distribution and democratization of advanced genetic technologies in the province of Manitoba and beyond,” says Dr. Simon Potter, Genome Prairie’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We look forward to working with the community to realize the economic and social benefits inherent in this exciting venture.”

Transportation trailblazer makes milestone $1.5M donation to Red River College

March 15, 2019

A transportation pioneer will help Red River College train the next generation of industry achievers, and ensure the viability of Manitoba’s skilled workforce for decades to come.

Jan den Oudsten — founder and former president of New Flyer Industries, and inventor of leading-edge transit technology — along with his wife, Maria den Oudsten, is donating $1.5 million to RRC, one of the largest gifts the College has ever received from individual donors.

Maria and Jan den Oudsten with RRC President Paul Vogt“I spent much of my life in an industry I am passionate about, and am incredibly humbled to be able to give back and inspire the next generation of learners,” says den Oudsten (shown above, with Maria and son Bob). “Working and living in Winnipeg was the best time of my life. Winnipeg has the best bus builders in the world, and it is my hope that with this gift that reputation of excellence can continue for many more years.”

RRC is celebrating the transformative gift by officially renaming its Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre. The 60,000-sq.-ft. training and research facility will now be proudly known as the Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology & Research Centre (VTRC).

The expansive complex was built in 2008, and was one of the first education centres in Manitoba to receive LEED® Silver certification from the Canada Green Building Council. Every day, close to 170 students at VTRC are trained in transportation technology programs such as Heavy Duty Mechanic, Truck Transport Mechanic (apprenticeship), Trailer Mechanic (apprenticeship), Outdoor Power Equipment (certificate and apprenticeship) and specialized training for General Motors.

VTRC also works with industry partners such as New Flyer to drive applied research in vehicle technology and development, and to support the transportation industry on energy conservation and alternatives (such as electrification), cold-weather testing and technology integration. Read More →

RRC ranked among Top 10 research colleges in Canada

November 2, 2018

Red River College has again been ranked one of Canada’s top 10 research colleges.

The designation comes courtesy of the annual Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges list, released yesterday by Re$earch Infosource Inc.

This is the second research-related distinction bestowed on RRC in less than a month. On Oct. 9, the College won the silver award in the Applied Research category at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Awards in Melbourne, Australia.

“These recent recognitions prove the ongoing research efforts of the College and our partners are working,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“We’ve worked on some outstanding projects in the past, such as battery-operated buses and energy-efficient office towers — projects that benefit our communities through their sustainable approach to engineering. We’re excited to see what we can achieve in the future.”

Recent expansions to RRC mean the College can continue supporting the needs of industry while establishing a base of highly skilled graduates to work in these fields once they finish school.

“We’ve accomplished great things with our existing capacities,” says Ray Hoemsen, executive director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC. “Our new additions mean we’ll be even better equipped to help our industry partners achieve their goals while we continue to enhance learning at the College.

“We’ll soon be opening our new MotiveLab (shown above), a unique vehicle testing facility where students and researchers will work side-by-side on equipment that will be used across North America.”

Also opening soon is the Smart Factory, an applied research space where students can work in a factory-like setting on emerging technologies such as robotics, automation and additive manufacturing.

In addition to these new facilities, the College is poised to bolster the future of research in Manitoba via its new $95-million Innovation Centre (now under construction,) as well as a Culinary Research Centre that’s slated to open at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute next year.

College honoured with global award for applied research

October 12, 2018

Red River College has again been recognized as a global leader in applied research and innovation by the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP).

At the organization’s Awards of Excellence in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 9, the College was awarded silver in the Applied Research category for contributions led by its Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI) department, which was formally established in 2004.

“We’re honoured to receive this award from WFCP. It’s a wonderful celebration of the outstanding work our staff and students do every day,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “As RPI enters its fifteenth year of operation, this award is a great way to both recognize the achievements we’ve made and to motivate us to continue reaching for greatness.”

The WFCP Awards honour excellence in addressing real-world challenges through applied research initiatives. WFCP last honoured RRC in 2014 with a bronze award at a ceremony in Beijing, China.

“This award is another significant achievement for applied research at Red River College,” says Ray Hoemsen, director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC.

“For nearly 15 years we’ve been dedicated to working with partners to meet the needs of our community and to support community-based economic development. Receiving global recognition for these partnerships speaks to the outstanding quality of the research initiatives that happen at the College.” Read More →

Funding announced for new culinary research centre at PGI

July 25, 2018

The eleventh floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute will soon be transformed into a multi-functional culinary research centre, thanks to new federal funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan stopped by Jane’s restaurant this morning to formally announce the new project — one of several made possible through more than $10 million in funding for new research infrastructure at 11 colleges and polytechnics across Canada.

Through the CFI’s investment of more than $1 million in RRC, students and staff working at the new research lab will be even better positioned to collaborate with the food and agriculture industry on projects that will enhance food safety research, and address changing consumer needs and challenges such as food waste.

“Red River College is a leader in culinary research and innovation,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “To date we’ve worked on more than 40 different projects with local food and agricultural producers in Manitoba to help them innovate and bring new products to market.

“This support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation means that we can expand our research capabilities to meet this growing demand, and create a dedicated state-of-the-art facility for researchers, instructors and students to work collaboratively — shoulder-to-shoulder with industry — to make the impossible possible when it comes to new food product creation and culinary innovation.” Read More →

College hits home run with new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning

June 13, 2018

Forget about peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Tonight, Red River College will partner with local snack mainstay The Pretzel Place, to launch a new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning at the Winnipeg Goldeyes’ game at Shaw Park.

The seasoning is the edible innovation of RRC’s Culinary Research & Innovation (CR&I) program, which in recent years has seen substantial growth in the areas of new product development and ingredient applications.

“The demand for culinary research and innovation in our province is increasing, and our CR&I program continues to ‘step up to the plate,’ to develop new and advanced uses for locally grown food while supporting Manitoba’s agricultural and food industry through applied research,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, with The Pretzel Place owner Sue Leclair).

“This partnership with The Pretzel Place is just one of many delicious examples of new product creation and culinary creativity at work in our community.”

The CR&I program is housed within RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, allowing researchers to tap into the knowledge of accomplished chef instructors, and to recruit students to work on applied research projects with industry.

The program was first launched in 2014, and has increased its activities with help from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). To date, the program has been involved in over 40 industry projects with organizations such as the Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers, Granny’s Poultry, Piccola Cucina, and MS Prebiotic Inc. Read More →

Province to provide free access to SECD resources for early years practitioners and students

May 18, 2018

The province will cover licensing fees to provide students and professionals across Manitoba with free access to the Science of Early Child Development (SECD), a suite of online learning resources developed by Red River College.

SECD includes regularly updated living textbooks and modules that offer current research and links to practice through a convenient online portal, accessible via computer, tablet and smartphone.

“We are making a first-of-its-kind investment in the early years fields in Manitoba to increase professional development opportunities, encourage independent study, strengthen the sectors that work with children and families, and improve the quality of services for Manitoba families,” says Families Minister Scott Fielding.

“Living textbooks are a cost-effective way to continually expand knowledge and provide educational opportunities to everyone involved in the sector.”

The province will provide $365,000 to RRC through the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government, opening up province-wide access for two living textbooks and three additional modules.

This will eliminate the license fee currently required to register, which will benefit hundreds of students and teaching staff, as well as early learning and child-care professionals, family child-care providers, teachers, public health staff, community organizations and any Manitobans interested in the impact of early experience on lifelong health and well-being. RRC will oversee the initiative and report to government on annual usage. Read More →

RRC honoured by CiCan for excellence in applied research and innovation

May 1, 2018

CiCan Awards of Excellence 2018Red River College picked up a prestigious award this week recognizing its achievements in the field of applied research and innovation.

The College won gold in the category of Applied Research and Innovation Excellence at the annual Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) Awards of Excellence, handed out in Victoria, B.C., on Mon., April 30.

The awards recognize best practices from institutions across the country, as well as individual leadership and achievements.

In RRC’s case, the honour caps off a marquee year of expansion that saw more than $200 million in infrastructure funding going towards 111,000 square feet of new facilities.

The College has also engaged in 543 applied partnerships with SMEs, large companies, and community organizations from 012 to 2017, resulting in the same number of new or improved products, processes, services and insights. Those initiatives are coordinated by the College’s Research Partnerships & Innovation office, which last year generated more research revenue than any other college in Western Canada.

“It is because of dedicated people working hard every day to improve educational programs and campus life, that colleges and institutes are able to offer such remarkable student experiences and training opportunities,” says CiCan President Denise Amyot.

“We are thrilled to honour these leaders and innovators who make the entire system stronger, more inclusive and more responsive to the needs of students, as well as employers.”