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Across the country, postsecondary institutions are demonstrating leadership and innovation in applied research, skills development and partnerships

Across the country, postsecondary institutions are demonstrating leadership and innovation in applied research, skills development and partnerships


Innovative 3-D printer enables e-manufacturing and just-in-time delivery

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The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing at Mohawk College in Hamilton sets the stage for specialized curriculum in applied research and marks a win for students, whose career prospects are enhanced by hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology.

"The addition of the special 3-D laser printer this spring to our mechanical engineering department strengthens our position as a leading Canadian college in applied research," says Ted Scott, Mohawk's chief innovation officer and dean of applied research.

One of only a few in Canada, the specialized 3-D printer fabricates models by building up layers of metal powder – a process known as direct metal laser sintering – to produce a three-dimensional metal part, bypassing the plastic prototype phase and saving on material costs.

"Normally, we machine away excess metal for metal parts. Additive manufacturing uses only the right quantity to make the part, reducing waste and leading to more just-in-time delivery," says Tony Thoma, the dean of engineering technology and media studies.

"We expect that clients from aerospace, automotive, general manufacturing, bio-medical, cranial and dental implant, knee and hip replacement, and medical tools industries will want access to the college's sintering technology," notes Mr. Thoma.

The lab will employ three or four full-time co-op students, plus another six on a part-time basis.

"As the lab becomes part of the Mechanical Engineering Technology program, we will rotate over 100 students through for experiments," Mr. Thoma adds.

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Studying with industry greats launches new Canadian talent

Fanshawe College music students study with many of the heavyweights of the Canadian music industry: Professor Dan Brodbeck is a recent Juno Award winner and three faculty members are Juno judges.

With instruction and mentoring from leading figures in Canada's music scene, it's unsurprising than Fanshawe graduates have gone on to achieve celebrity status:

Deric Ruttan was just nominated for Country Song of the Year in the recent 56th Grammy Awards for "Mine Would be You" performed by Blake Shelton; Emm Gryner, a prolific Canadian independent singer-songwriter and 2014 Fanshawe College Distinguished Alumnus, worked with astronaut Chris Hadfield to produce his Major Tom cover video last year; Trevor Morris engineered the soundtrack for the 2012 production of the movie Immortals. Two other recording engineering graduates are Juno winners, and Les "Survivorman" Stroud is also a graduate.

There is even a Juno Award named after the late Fanshawe professor Jack Richardson, a producer of the Guess Who, Alice Cooper and Bob Seger, notes Dana Morningstar, chair of the Fanshawe School of Contemporary Media.

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Students train in artist development and management, music engineering, recording, song-writing and contract law, and showcase their performing and engineering work at an annual concert at London's Aeolian Hall.

Founded by retired dean Eric Atkinson and former professor Tom Lodge, one of the DJs from Radio Caroline, the program provides a uniquely thrilling learning environment for students. It also enriches the London region and Canada's music industry. "We've got the faculty talent and the facilities to continue to increase the importance of music in the Canadian economy," says Ms. Morningstar.


Students score with new skate technology

Fast-tracking an innovative skate lace extender from prototype to production readiness in the record time of nine months has inventors flocking to the doors of the Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, says Jim Nikkel, a principal investigator in the sports and wellness area of ARIS.

Applied research projects like the skate lace extender further student learning at SAIT through real-world involvement in industry-based research and innovation, benefiting students as well as the inventors who use the applied research service, says Mr. Nikkel.

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The development process for True Stride Inc.'s 55 Flex lace extension system, the brainchild of a former NHL right wing, involved over 60 students from different disciplines.

Students in marketing did market analysis; mechanical engineering technology and mechanical design technology students participated in the 3-D modelling and materials discussions. "We had student athletes test the extenders, which will sell as an add-on to new skates, for stiffness, comfort and durability," he explains.

Mr. Nikkel's team tucked into the challenge to produce a workable prototype for the device and moved from 3-D printed samples to traditional injection moulded and machined production-ready prototypes.

The 55 Flex lace extension system is now in full production.


College and alcohol-free beverage company join forces in product innovation

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When MADD Virgin Drinks launches its new alcohol-free beer this April, students and faculty at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College will be feeling proud.

The college was a true partner in the venture, lending its know-how to the young company to help develop a craft-brewed, alcohol-free lager with the full flavour of regular beer.

"There was a flavour gap in products on the market, and we wanted to do better with a great-tasting, alcohol-free lager," says Brian Bolshin, CEO of Toronto-based MADD Virgin Drinks, which donates 10 per cent of net sales to MADD Canada. "We have an impressive new product that came from a made-in-Canada partnership between a small company and a Canadian college with renowned expertise in brewing, marketing and more."

"The science of food-product development was unleashed to meet this challenge," says Marc Nantel, associate vice-president of research and innovation at Niagara College. Led by master brewer Jon Downing, researchers worked with beer-tasting experts to build a taste profile for lager beer. Through numerous recipes, they conducted taste tests with students and the public.

The college also designed the beer can and is helping with marketing. This partnership benefits both participants, says Dr. Nantel. "We've helped a growing company achieve success while giving our students valuable experience with real-world industry challenges."


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Welcoming Aboriginal students to college with a circle of support

To help First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students make the transition from their home communities into college life and learning, Lethbridge College has created a unique circle of support in an effort to turn around lower-than-average retention and college completion rates.

The FNMI Career Pathways certificate program reflects the college's commitment to Aboriginal students and is consistent with the college's commitment to caring for the person as a whole, says Dr. Paula Burns, the school's president. "The college abuts the Blood Tribe Reserve, with a population of 12,000. We wanted to find a way to serve them better."

The program provides the students with an FNMI student adviser, a cultural support program that includes elders, and a welcoming gathering space. "It better prepares them to study other programs in our institutions," says Dr. Burns. "They become part of a family, while they study fields such as banking, policing and corrections."

The Blackfoot, Métis and Inuit elders use storytelling while teaching, and lessons taught this way are retained longer, notes Dr. Burns.


New Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre creates training partnership opportunities

A new trades and technology facility at Fleming College will serve as a unique training hub for not only Fleming students, but also secondary school students and local industry.

The Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre (KTTC) is a $36.6-million, 87,000-square-foot addition to Fleming's main Sutherland Campus in Peterborough. Through unique partnerships developed with regional school boards, businesses and community organizations, the KTTC aims to serve the current and future skill requirements of employers in central eastern Ontario.

In planning for the KTTC, and as part of an analysis into local and regional employment, Fleming College's president Dr. Tony Tilly toured more than 50 industrial organizations in the region. This initiative proved valuable in assessing employer needs as well as garnishing support for the KTTC.

The support from Fleming's partners is ongoing and has been demonstrated through generous donations from local employers that also have a global reach such as McCloskey International and General Electric.

McCloskey International employs more than 200 people and operates out of Peterborough County. It has an office in Ireland as well as dealerships all over the world selling its equipment. President and CEO Paschal McCloskey says he owes a lot to the excellent training he's received throughout his life, and he's happy to support student learning at Fleming College.

"It's great to be a part of this," he says. "We're looking forward to opening day."

When it opens, the KTTC will add space and equipment for training in carpentry, welding, plumbing and HRAC (heating, refrigeration, air conditioning). With sustainable shop facilities, smart-wired classrooms, and labs with the newest technology, the centre will offer Fleming students and the community access to a state-of-the-art learning environment.

ACCC is the national and international voice of Canada's publicly funded colleges, institutes and polytechnics, working with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities across the country and in 29 countries around the world.


College of the North Atlantic (CNA) partners with various industry sectors, including oil and gas, mining, forestry and fishery sectors. CNA also partners with small-medium enterprises such as Magine Snowboards to research and test the stability, maneuverability and design of a series of snowboard prototypes prior to manufacturing.


kilowatts of wave energy generated per square metre/per wave, as measured by College of the North Atlantic’s Wave Energy Research Centre


total projects completed by CNA’s Office of Applied Research since its inception in 2004 involving students, faculty and industry partners


specialized research centres and labs among ACCC colleges and institutes, a  25% increase  from 2011–12

$49 million

invested by colleges and institutes for the administration of applied research and associated projects, up 29% from 2011-12  


areas of ACCC member research specialization  identified in natural resources, energy, environment, health, information and communications technologies; manufacturing and social innovation

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