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Applied Research

Early child development resource continues to grow with global reach

February 3, 2023

It started as a way to reduce the gap between early childhood education and research. Today, RRC Polytech’s Science of Early Child Development (SECD) initiative has impacted the work of early childhood educators (ECEs) both here in Canada and on a global scale.

“There’s been a massive explosion in neuroscience and understanding of the child’s brain and how that has informed early brain development,” says Jamie Koshyk, a research faculty member in the School of Health Sciences and Community Services at RRC Polytech.

“These new discoveries impact your life. It’s a lifelong trajectory that starts very early on.”

SECD began as a partnership between RRC Polytech, the Atkinson Centre at the University of Toronto and the Aga Khan Development Network. It’s what’s known as a “dynamic knowledge mobilization initiative” — essentially, bridging complex research on understanding a child’s brain and turning that research into resources and courses that professionals and students can easily understand.

“By the time a researcher has a discovery and gets it into a textbook, it’s a process of a number of years,” says Elin Ibrahim, who leads the SECD initiative. “The whole idea of having it online and having it continually updated — and current — was attractive, and one of the major reasons that it all got started.”

Today, the SECD initiative includes four “living textbooks,” as the initiative calls them, which use a multimedia approach to share information. They include expert interviews, images, video examples of children, parents and caregivers, slideshows, websites, readings, questions for reflection, interactive games, activities and much more. It’s a modern way of learning and one that’s in high demand.

“In each of the modules, there’s always an overview, a research section and then there’s links to practice,” says Ibrahim. “That was another goal of ours: to look at how to make research practical. To do that, we organize it through different topics and modules, but also to bring in the practical — both for those working with early childhood students and for anyone working with children.” Read More →

RRC Polytech rises to 11th place in ranking of Canadian research colleges

January 27, 2023

RRC Polytech is once again one of Canada’s top research institutions, as announced earlier this 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 ranks first in the prairies in the category Spotlight on College Research Activity – Medium Tier, and third 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,” says Jamie Wilson, Vice-President, Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development at RRC Polytech.

“We work with industry every day 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.

“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, Prairie Fava — a Glenboro, Man.-based food startup — 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.

Another is 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. Read More →

New partnership produces strong weld

April 12, 2022

Fusing metal together is an art form for students in RRC Polytech’s Welding program.

They’ve learned it takes patience, precision and practice to join metals properly, and the resulting products have incredible strength and durability. A new partnership with West End Radiators is teaching them that similar principles apply when forging relationships, and that reinforcing bonds with industry benefits both students and prospective employers.

“Our success at RRC Polytech has been built on strong, dynamic partnerships — with communities, industry, employers and applied research partners. Our partners want to work with us because of our ability to solve problems, train talent and respond to labour market needs,” says Shylyte Bloodworth, Program Manager, Electrical, Mechanical and Manufacturing at RRC Polytech.

“Having a former student be the link to a new collaboration speaks to how quickly our graduates make an impact in the workforce.”

Gail Batoon was working as a labourer in shipping at West End Radiators a few years ago when he decided to upgrade his education and further his career. He quit his job and began RRC Polytech’s Welding program. In less than a year, he had been hired back in an elevated role as a welder.

“We value integrity, quality service and teamwork, so we were thrilled when Gail chose to return to us after his training,” says Wayne Feeleus, Director of Sales and Business Development for West End Radiators. “His workmanship is excellent and expanding our staff allows us to produce more parts that we can trust to stand up to Manitoba winters.”

A follow-up call with Welding Instructor Jason Church led to another return for Batoon — this time as a mentor in the classroom, with an added level of partnership for the company.

“It came together quickly; West End Rad needed a specific side bracket for radiators on Kenworth trucks,” Church explains. “They provided the raw materials and the design, and Gail visited the class earlier to provide a hands-on demonstration of what was required.” Read More →

Research enterprise re-aligning to support Manitoba businesses on a global stage

March 24, 2022

For more than 15 years, RRC Polytech’s Research Partnerships & Innovation enterprise has collaborated with local industry and community partners to find solutions to real-world challenges.

Over the course of the last five months, work has been underway on a new Academic Plan and Research Plan, focused on alignment with the key commitments of the College’s Strategic Plan, In Front of What’s Ahead.

Both plans will support how RRC Polytech lives its bold new direction over the next five years, and will play a significant role in how the College achieves a renewed commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, supports growth and prosperity within Manitoba and deepens relationships with employers, industry and community partners.

“This change in structure was a natural fit, as several goals in the Research Plan align extremely well with the mandate of RRC Polytech’s newly created Indigenous Strategy and Business Development portfolio,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO. 

“This re-alignment is one of the ways we are positioning RRC Polytech to achieve our strategic goals and elevate our role in strengthening Manitoba’s economic, social, environmental and cultural prosperity.”

Read More →

Going electric in the sub-Arctic: RRC and Frontiers North unveil EV Tundra Buggy

August 24, 2021

Today, Frontiers North Adventures and Red River College unveiled a new zero-emission vehicle technology initiative. The Electric Vehicle Tundra Buggy® is a collaborative, proof-of-concept project that oversaw the conversion of a Tundra Buggy in Frontiers North’s touring fleet from diesel-powered to battery electric.

The EV Tundra Buggy was made possible through the province’s new Conservation and Climate Fund, and the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI) — a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector — and through in-kind support and technical services from RRC’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC).

“The Manitoba government is committed to supporting environmental projects like the EV Tundra Buggy that beautifully blends our commitment to environmental sustainability, green energy and the entrepreneurial spirit of our province,” says Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard.

“We remain committed to making Manitoba the cleanest, greenest, most climate-resilient province in the country, and projects like this can help make that happen.”

The project’s goal of reducing environmental impact and protecting Manitoba’s sub-Arctic landscape will help to create a culture of sustainable tourism in Churchill, one of the province’s top year-round destinations.

“Our company’s purpose is all about stewardship, and positively contributing to our communities and environments,” says John Gunter, President and CEO of Frontiers North.

“By starting the conversion of our fleet with this first EV Tundra Buggy, Frontiers North is taking meaningful steps towards reducing our GHG emissions and creating new clean tech jobs. We are also excited to provide our touring guests a silent EV Tundra Buggy experience amongst wild polar bears and beneath the northern lights. For their support of this project we thank Manitoba, Vehicle Technology Centre Inc. and Red River College.”

The EV Tundra Buggy project builds upon research, testing and demonstration VTEC has undertaken for the shift of transit buses to electric. The battery used in the buggy is repurposed from an e-bus. By tapping into VTEC’s in-house technical expertise and using a repurposed e-bus battery, Frontiers North was able to confirm their vision of shifting from diesel to electric was feasible. Read More →

Robots, rapid prototyping and R&D: College’s applied research enterprise ranks among Canada’s best

December 15, 2020

Red River College is one of Canada’s top five research institutions, as announced today by Re$earch Infosource in their annual ranking of the country’s top 50 research colleges.

The list saw RRC, Manitoba’s only polytechnic, jump nine spots from its placement at 14th last year. This is the highest the College has placed since coming in second in 2011.

“Red River College is a world-class institution that makes significant impacts to applied research every day, thanks to industry-driven partnerships and projects,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Our research enterprise has been making a difference for more than 15 years, and this recognition is a testament to the contributions of our hard-working staff, students and faculty.”

Today’s announcement recognizes RRC’s work during the 2018/19 fiscal year, during which the College completed 105 research projects and employed 37 students for work that falls within the College’s four main research areas: advanced design and manufacturing, clean technology, digital technologies, and health, nutrition and social sciences.

Key projects include an ongoing partnership with Prairie Fava, a start-up business based out of Glenboro, Manitoba that promotes fava flour as a protein-rich gluten alternative; supporting Manitoba’s aerospace and manufacturing sector with an expanding fleet of “cobots” or collaborative robots; and helping to launch the “Genome 360” project with Genome Canada and a network of partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in Manitoba.

The news comes on the heels of RRC’s recent silver win at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence, held in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 29.

“Our work in applied research has an immediate impact and is needed now more than ever,” says Meier. “Being recognized on a national and international level not only reinforces our continued success, but recognizes the immense talent and expertise that we have at the College. Our ongoing collaboration with business and industry means that we’re solving problems and creating new and innovative solutions every day, and I invite industry to come work with us to experience first-hand what we have to offer. Read More →

New high-tech composites training centre takes off at RRC

October 22, 2020

Red River College is set to launch the careers of the next generation of skilled aerospace workers, thanks to a cutting-edge lab at the Notre Dame Campus. Using new technology from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the Advanced Forming Training Centre enhances the skills of Canada’s highly trained aerospace workforce. The Centre will also serve as a composite forming training hub for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Advanced Forming Training Centre places RRC at the forefront of Canada’s aircraft component production industry. Composite materials make aircraft stronger, lighter and more fuel-efficient — ultimately, a cost-effective method that creates a significant reduction in process defects — and those trained at RRC will lead the charge in this new technology.

“RRC has long been at the forefront of innovation in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors, and working with partners like the National Research Council only strengthens what we do and ensures the widest audience possible will benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities and expertise,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

With a slew of modern equipment and facilities already under its belt, the new training centre is another feather in the cap for RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), which last year opened the Smart Factory, an applied research space, experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site that showcases emerging technologies.

“We’re honoured to now be home to advanced composite forming systems developed by the NRC,” says Meier. “The collaborative transfer of skills and knowledge from the NRC team and TACAM provides a foundation to commercialize this unique emerging technology. We look forward to this ongoing partnership that will benefit Canada’s manufacturing industry for years to come.”

The NRC’s high-precision forming process propels Canada to a world leader in this emerging sector, and the organization will work with RRC to identify the best fit for the technology within the Canadian and global aerospace industries, and to transfer the advanced forming technology to the private sector. Read More →

Soup’s on! RRC partners with Winnipeg Harvest on healthy soup mixes for community, students

October 5, 2020

Thanks to a partnership between Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen and Winnipeg Harvest, nutritious Hamper Healthy™ soups will soon be distributed to vulnerable Manitobans. Students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program created the dehydrated mixes this summer, and officially handed off the donations — 3,000 packages worth — to Winnipeg Harvest this morning.

The partnership provided valuable work placement hours for RRC students and engaged them in a project that will deliver healthy, high-protein foods to people in need.

“When most local restaurants temporarily closed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program were unable to receive the work placement hours needed to graduate,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“Our solution was to use more of our space to scale up the recipes and provide nutritious storable food for people negatively impacted by the pandemic. This partnership with Winnipeg Harvest and the generous support from our donors demonstrates the value of working together to support our community and find creative ways to support our students.”

The students safely worked alongside RRC research chefs to transform raw vegetables into three soup mixes: Mulligatawny, Chicken Noodle Vegetable, and Smokey Baked Beans. Dehydrating the soups was also a great way to process surplus vegetables from suppliers who were not able to use them during the pandemic. Read More →

Award-winning flavours and fava on the menu at Prairie Research Kitchen

June 15, 2020

Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen has won the Canadian Association of Research Administrators’ (CARA) Research Partnership Award, for its ongoing work with Manitoba food start-up Prairie Fava.

The award ceremony was originally scheduled to take place at CARA’s annual conference in Vancouver last month, though the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prairie Fava has been a great partner of ours since the beginning. Working with them has showcased our ability to bring a chef’s experience and perspective to applied research,” says Mavis McRae, Director of the Prairie Research Kitchen, which is RRC’s newest federally funded Technology Access Centre.

“We’re so grateful for their support, and thankful to have grown alongside each other over the years. It’s an honour to be recognized for this mutually beneficial relationship.”

Hailey and Cale Jefferies co-founded Prairie Fava in 2015 as a way to tie their family seed business, Jefferies Seeds, into a new venture that showcased the duo’s passion for healthy food with their existing knowledge and experience in agriculture. Prairie Fava was recently awarded the Start-Up of the Year Award at the 2019 Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

“I can’t emphasize enough how valuable the research and development work done by the Prairie Research Kitchen team is for a small company like ours,” says Hailey Jefferies (shown above), the company’s President. “They provide great expertise while being cost effective. We have appreciated being able to leverage the creative talents of RRC students to do both market research and great food photography. We have not been able to find this kind of diverse food research elsewhere.” Read More →

College to continue alternative delivery of programs and services; on-campus classes remain suspended until fall

April 3, 2020

Red River College will continue providing alternative delivery models for programs and services for the upcoming spring and summer terms, which means there will be no on-campus classes or public events until September.

Work integrated learning (practicums, clinical, work experience) will continue to be suspended except for those instances that can be completed using online or alternative approaches. Co-op/industry placements will continue at the discretion of the workplace employer.

Today’s announcement extends the timeframe that students, faculty and staff are expected to work off-campus in order to meet increasingly stringent public health directives aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

“We know this is a challenging time for students, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “With public health advice changing regularly, we felt that it was important to make a decision that allows for planning certainty throughout the rest of spring and summer.”

Watson lauded the hard work, commitment and creativity of faculty and staff in making the transition to alternative delivery over the past few weeks.

“We have seen our faculty and staff re-imagine their work via technology in a way — and at a pace — that we never thought possible. I also know that we have students who are struggling to adapt to this new reality. We are thankful for all of those who are working together to find a way through this unprecedented situation.

“We would love to be able to re-open our doors and go back to the hustle and bustle of our vibrant campuses. But that simply isn’t an option. We also know that when we begin to rebuild our economy, Manitoba will need Red River College — students will need training to get jobs and launch their careers, and industry will depend upon our grads to fill their workforce needs. Read More →