College Delves Into R&D

r&d

The BofG heard about R&D this week. 

During its January 26th meeting, the college's Board of Governors received the annual report about St. Clair's ever-increasing involvement in research-and-development projects - most of them conducted in partnership with private industry, and several of them (during the past year) involving machinery and procedures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report was issued by the office of Vice-President Academic Waseem Habash, with contributions by Applied Research-and-Development Director Peter Wawrow. 

Fostering R&D has been designated as an institutional priority by the Board - both as an "reputation-building" initiative, an opportunity for "real world" learning by students, and a revenue source. 

The Habash/Wawrow report noted: 

To support Research and Development, St. Clair College partners with local businesses and organizations to address their specific innovation needs through the development, testing and implementation of new products, services, processes and technologies. These innovations are then implemented through research and development investment, commercialization activities and enhanced student and employee training. 

Collaborative participation with Applied Research and Development at St. Clair College will help position Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent as competitive regions for innovation, generating new revenues and high-value jobs, both locally and throughout Canada. 

The following outlines the Applied Research and Development initiatives that operationalize the objectives within the 2020-2021 Strategic Directions:  

PROMOTE INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH ALIGNED WITH AREA OF PROGRAM STRENGTHS/DEGREE OFFERINGS 

The measure of this objective is "Plan and conduct research professional development sessions, research scholarship, and innovation days for faculty. Concentration to be added in Schools offering degrees." To this end, we have conducted the following professional development: 

1. We have recently acquired robotics and vision equipment to conduct research projects. We have conducted training sessions for our researchers for equipment utilization. 

2. Through a regional initiative focusing on building capacity for research in automobility, an online event, "Automobility Academic Partnership", was held. Interdisciplinary faculty from St. Clair College and the University of Windsor collaborated on this initiative. 

3. WE-SPARK, our local health institute, hosts think tanks on a bimonthly basis, bringing together various diverse researchers from the college, University of Windsor, and healthcare organizations. St. Clair faculty have participated in these events to brainstorm ideas for research projects. One of the brainstorming sessions was led by St. Clair faculty. 

4. WE-SPARK awarded a number of grants focusing on COVID-19. Weekly virtual events were held to provide a forum for researchers to present their topics. Faculty from Nursing, Data Analytics, and Fashion Design participated in these sessions, which included colleagues from the University of Windsor, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, and Windsor Regional Hospital. 

5. In support of research in the School of Nursing, Applied Research and Development staff meet with the Nursing Committee to provide support and information on research activities, and to assist with the development of research scholarship strategies. 

DOCUMENT AND INCREASE THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN RESEARCH 

The measure of this objective is to "Implement and maintain a database regarding internal research projects". To this end, we have conducted the following: 

1. The R&D department has purchased project management database software to track all research projects. The database is currently being populated and developed for optimization, as some programming is required. 

2. The R&D department, in collaboration with the Genesis (Entrepreneurship) Centre, is developing a strategy to coordinate efforts to promote and document internal innovation projects. 

3. The R&D department has been engaging with faculty that oversee Capstone projects to assist with the facilitation of tracking and promoting internally driven innovation projects. 

INCREASE AWARENESS OF ST. CLAIR COLLEGE RESEARCH 

The measure of this objective is to "Increase communication and showcase College research internally and externally". To this end, we have conducted the following: 

1. Applied Research and Development has updated their webpage, where students and potential industry partners can learn about our facilities, thematic research areas and collaboration opportunities. A link to our webpage can be found on St. Clair's website at https://www.stclaircollege.ca/applied-research

2. We have distributed an R&D newsletter (the graphics accompanying this article) internally throughout the college early in the winter semester. This newsletter highlights the successes of the previous year, programs that have been involved in research activities, and upcoming opportunities. 

3. The R&D department has a Twitter account, @StClairResearch, in which we promote success stories in the department. 

4. The R&D department held a public event with TELUS to announce the installation of 5G technology in the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing and the Centre of Applied Health Science buildings. This 5G technology provides the Research department the ability to engage in projects that require large volumes of instantaneous data, such as in manufacturing, health care and mobility environments. This event received significant media coverage, showcasing the college's initiatives in pursuing emerging technologies. 

5. The Director of Applied Research and Development was interviewed on CBC radio on the topic of autonomous vehicles and the college's investment and research in that field. 

6. The Director of Applied Research and Development participated as a panel member at a couple of virtual conferences (local automobility forum and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association (APMA) conference). These opportunities promoted the department. 

7. The R&D and Marketing departments have promoted some of our success stories, such as, the 5G announcement and the 3D printing of a lawnmower for a start-up company. These successes have been promoted on the college's website and through social media. 

8. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the R&D department worked closely with industry and community partners to assist with treatment and protection from the virus. Examples include assisting with the development and testing of a ventilator concept, and developing standardized sewing protocols for a mobilized community organization making masks for long-term care homes. These events received local media attention, highlighting St. Clair College as a strong community partner. 

SEE THESE OTHER BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING STORIES: 

Updates from the President: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/pandemic-or-not-enrolment-grows

The fiscal year’s outcome, with four months left to go: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/buckets-black-ink-year-end-bottom-line

Despite the pandemic, the college remains active in the life of the community: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/pandemic-doesnt-curtailing-colleges-caring-involvement-community