Posts by Applied Research

Red River College granted national funds to establish technology access centre for Manitoba’s construction sector

April 8, 2015 • Written by

WINNIPEG, MB – Red River College (RRC) has been awarded $1.75 million over 5 years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to establish the Centre for Building Envelope Performance (CBEP) at their Notre Dame Campus in Winnipeg.

CBEP is expected to significantly increase access to the College’s facilities, equipment, and expertise for Manitoba’s building industry, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises whose products and services directly impact a building’s envelope.

The envelope can significantly impact a building’s overall construction and maintenance costs, durability, appearance, occupant comfort and health, and energy performance.

“This grant will provide a meaningful enhancement to our ability to serve Manitoba’s construction sector with advanced graduates and professional training, as well as fostering innovation in a critical component of building design and construction,” said David Rew, Interim President and CEO of Red River College.

Increased building complexity, new standards and code requirements, and increased pressure to reduce energy use are just a few of the challenges faced by Manitoba’s construction sector.

“Our partners are absolutely thrilled with the news,” said Rob Spewak, who is transitioning from senior research manager to take on management of the new Centre. “The industry is facing a seemingly perfect storm of challenges, and it consists almost entirely of small businesses which generally lack comprehensive resources to do research, testing, and training in-house.”

Check out this video! It tells the story of why CBEP is being established at Red River College.

Another significant driver for the Centre’s establishment is Manitoba’s extreme temperatures – especially its harsh winter weather; it has historically presented major challenges that have led to several notable – and costly – building failures.

“As a result, building envelope training and research was identified as the most important issue faced by our stakeholders, who along with Manitoba’s construction industry, include the Province of Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro,” said Spewak.

Manitoba Hydro is a leading industry proponent of the CBEP; its Power Smart conservation programs are currently targeting energy efficiency improvements in over 35,000 commercial enterprises in Manitoba.

“The knowledge gained from the work of the CBEP will have broad application to all sectors, including the building envelopes of residential, commercial and industrial facilities across Manitoba,” said Dale Friesen, Division Manager, Industrial and Commercial Solutions with Manitoba Hydro.

The Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure - established in 2007.

The Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure – established in 2007.

CBEP will be operated under Red River College’s School of Construction and Engineering Technologies, and will leverage the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure as well as a previous $2.3-million 5-year grant to conduct applied research on improving the energy performance of commercial buildings.

Red River College is now the only college in Canada to operate two NSERC-funded technology access centres. The first of which is the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing, which was established in 2012 and has yielded many benefits to the aerospace industry.

“With the addition of this second Technology Access Centre, Red River College is able to better meet the innovation, specialized service, and training needs of both the manufacturing and construction sectors – serving 17 percent of Manitoba’s GDP,” said Ray Hoemsen, director of Applied Research & Commercialization at the College.

The Honourable Minister of State (Science and Technology), Ed Holder made the funding announcement today at Hamilton Ontario’s Mohawk College as part of over $40 million in grants to colleges across Canada.

“Our government’s providing record investments necessary to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs, and improve the quality of life of Canadians. Our government is committed to creating the conditions that will allow entrepreneurship to thrive in this country,” said Holder. “The collaboration between colleges and local industrial partners generates new products and ideas, creating long-term prosperity for the benefit of all Canadians.”

Applied Research, Program Innovation and Student Engagement

March 30, 2015 • Written by

Liting Han, instructor and CARD-funded researcher with Electrical Engineering Technologies at Red River College highlights several of her research projects, focusing on how she included students in the process.

Check out her presentation!

Want to attend presentations like this in person? Interested in delivering a presentation yourself? Have any content suggestions? Please contact:

Claudius Soodeen | | 204.632.2147

Red River College unveils Manitoba’s first rapid charger for electric vehicles

March 26, 2015 • Written by

Red River College is giving Manitoba electric vehicle (EV) owners a boost with its recently installed and operational Level 3 (30KW DC) quick charging station, the first of its kind in the province and one of about two dozen across Canada.

Drivers of Level 3 compliant EVs, including Nissan Leafs, Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, and Teslas, can now drop by the College’s Notre Dame Campus to charge up while contributing to research on the charger’s performance in Manitoba’s climate.

“With the installation of this new charger, we continue to play a leading role in Manitoba’s green transportation future,” said David Rew, RRC interim president and CEO. “This rapid charging station is another key element in our Mobility from Green Energy Initiative and a logical next step in our vehicle technology research program.”

Level 3 stations can charge an EV to at least an 80 percent charge in 15 to 30 minutes; this is compared to a 220/240V Level 2 charger, which can take 4 to 6 hours to get to full charge, or an 110/120V Level 1 charger (like those found around your house), which can take about 24 hours.

“There are currently no other rapid charging stations of this level in a climate as diverse as Winnipeg’s,” said Ray Hoemsen, director of Applied Research & Commercialization at Red River College. “The effect on both the Lithium ion battery and vehicle performance when utilizing rapid charging in extreme winter weather is still unknown.”

The new charging station will be handy for compliant EV owners – especially those traveling from out of town – who need a quick boost to make it to their next destination.

“EV owners who live more than an hour’s drive from Winnipeg will now be able to use their EVs to commute to the city,” said Robert Elms, president of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association. “This is a major step forward in the establishment of EV charging infrastructure in Manitoba.”

Red River College is sharing the charging station with whoever is able to use it, so long as they register and agree to participate in its study when called upon.

Funding for the charger was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; it will be used as part of the College’s ongoing EV research, testing, and demonstration projects at its Electric Vehicle Technology & Education Centre (EVTEC).

See related Media coverage:


Local startup food processor partners with Red River College research chef to win Best New Product award

March 11, 2015 • Written by

WINNIPEG, MB – Canadian Prairie Garden Puree (CPGP) has just been awarded Manitoba’s Best New Product at the Manitoba Food Processor’s Association’s (MFPA’s) annual awards Gala.  Red River College’s lead research chef, Brad Gray, created the innovative dishes incorporating CPGP’s ingredients that won over the judges’ hearts, minds, and taste buds.

Kelly Beaulieu with some of her award winning product.

Kelly Beaulieu with some of her award winning product.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the result,” said Kelly Beaulieu, Founder of CPGP. “There were a lot of large established producers in the competition and the validation that comes with this award really means a lot to our early-stage business. Chef Gray played an critical role and he was able to answer the judges’ questions intelligently and with a genuine passion for the product.”

CPGP uses innovative technology and processes to transform high-quality, non-GMO and Manitoba-sourced crops, into additive- and preservative-free purees with a shelf life of 2 years.

“I think the judges were most impressed with the versatility of vegetable purees,” said Chef Gray. “When you think vegetable puree, tasty mac n’ cheese and chocolate cake aren’t typically the first things to come to mind.”

UPDATE: Listen to this short interview with Chef Gray on CJOB radio.

But those are exactly the dishes Chef Gray created to showcase the versatility, quality and flavours of CPGP’s purees: a gingered carrot mac n’ cheese and a beet chocolate cake parfait with carrot sabayon, Saskatoon sauce and milk chocolate ganache.

“This is an excellent demonstration the role the College plays in Manitoba’s food research and development ecosystem,” said Ray Hoemsen, Director of Applied Research & Commercialization (AR&C) at Red River College. “We challenge our research chefs and students to showcase the commercial potential of food products created by innovative local producers.”

Red River College only recently established its food research program in its School of Hospitality and Culinary at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute in 2012 with research infrastructure support from Western Economic Diversification. Since then, it has been working to communicate the College’s capabilities and form relationships with producers.

It was through those networking efforts that the College started working with CPGP’s products.

“Chef Gray and I met with Kelly and toured the manufacturing facility in November 2014. We were excited about the variety of products and came back with several samples to experiment with,” said Mavis McRae, AR&C research manager.

Only one month later, CPGP’s purees were featured in two of Chef Gray’s dishes at the MFPA’s annual holiday reception.  The navy bean and Saskatoon puree crème brûlée and a beet and goat cheese crostini were a huge hit as six RRC students served up samples to over 500 guests at RRC’s booth.

Chef Gray preparing his crème brûlée.

Chef Gray preparing his crème brûlée.

The delicious crème brûlée.

The delicious crème brûlée.

Mouth watering beet crostini.

Mouth watering beet crostini.

“Based on feedback from the reception, CPGP asked if I could help them present for the New Product Award at the MFPA gala,” said Chef Gray.

“I believe the industry is taking note,” said Chef Gray. “I’ve already received a few more requests and invitations. They are seeing the value of having a research chef involved in the product development and commercialization process.”

RRC and CPGP are now in the midst of developing more formal research initiatives.

“We are very excited about what’s ahead,” said Beaulieu. “The College is great to work with and they know how to tap into applied research resources – a potentially critical element to our commercial success.”

Another outcome is that Chef Gray will be one of three chefs competing at Agriculture Awareness day on Mar. 17, 2015 at the Legislative Building; he will develop a new dessert recipe using CPGP’s purees, along with other Manitoba ingredients, which a catering company will then prepare for 80 people who will vote for their favourite dish.

“Having innovative companies like CPGP bring new ingredients to the food service industry allows access to healthy, locally grown and processed ingredients throughout the year,” said McRae.  “We congratulate CPGP for their vision and look forward to watching them expand their success.”

It’s definitely exciting times for food product research in Manitoba, and Red River College is just getting started in helping bring Manitoba food innovations to market.

College Applied Research Series: Students, Faculty & Curriculum

February 26, 2015 • Written by
This article is the second in a series of four by Ray Hoemsen, Director, Applied Research & Commercialization, Red River College.

This is article is the last of a series of four that were published in the College Applied Research Series by Ray Hoemsen, Director, Applied Research & Commercialization, Red River College.

As originally published in the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators Newsletter.

Applied research – which is driven by community needs – in Canada’s colleges and polytechnics enhances the applied
learning experience of the students (all undergraduates), broadens and deepens the experience of the instructors and
serves to enhance the curriculum; while adding value in (and benefit to) the local economy.

Since most full-time instructors generally have 20 or so contact hours per week, they themselves have limited time to dedicate to applied research. Therefore, students play an integral role in applied research since they are often hired (at rates which can exceed what a postdoctoral student would receive from a granting council) to carry out applied research (under the supervision of the instructor or a dedicated research professional). And, of course, more and more students have the opportunity to undertake classroom-based applied research activities – especially in capstone courses. Student engagement also results in the availability of highly-qualified skilled personnel for the
workforce; and enhances the accessibility for SMEs who may not have in-house R&D capabilities.

Colleges routinely grant their applied research clients commercial rights to project research results, while retaining rights for further research and education purposes (this is also an expectation of the Tri-Council).

Therefore, there is ample opportunity to integrate learnings into curriculum – be it an existing or new course, a workshop, or customized training. This is normally led by the Schools (or

Colleges and Institutes Canada (1) reported that in 2012-13 more than 29,000 students were involved in applied research – a ten-fold increase in participation over the last five years. This translates to nearly 13 students for every faculty, staff, industrial expert and technician involved in applied research.

And Polytechnics Canada data (2) shows that since 2007/08 nearly 46,000 students have been involved in hands-on applied research projects, supplementing the efforts of more
than 5,200 staff and faculty; servicing the needs of nearly 7,000 Canadian companies (93% of which were SMEs).

Some best practices for supporting college faculty and student
engagement in applied research (3) are:

  • faculty release time and/or salary top-up;
  • student salary or research grant (direct to student);
  • student placement salary support (direct to employer);
  • provision of materials, supplies, equipment and facility access; and
  • enabling technology diffusion and transfer, including travel to conferences and workshops.

In this regard, the lessons learned (over the last decade) at Red River College include:

  • flexible intellectual property policy incents industry engagement;
  • students and instructors are integral and essential components in responding to community needs;
  • supportive government policies and programs have helped to build college applied research capacity, but there are limited supports for non-degree college student engagement (other than the Tri-Council’s College and Community Innovation Program);
    employ students (at market rates) to work on industry applied research projects;
  • use internal and external grants to engage students, as well as capstone projects and competitions;
  • partner with other academic institutions; and hire students in the applied research office (i.e. “walk the talk”).

In closing, at CAURA’s Got Talent! (June 2014), the panel on student engagement in applied research in the colleges and polytechnics identified key outcomes as “increased skill acquisition and development; the ability to apply learning to real world contexts; and increased employability (and employment)”


(1): Applied Research at Colleges and Institutes 2012-13. Colleges and Institutes Canada. appliedresearch-2/scan-2012-13/ downloaded September 11, 2014.
(2): Polytechnics Canada Applied Research Metrics 2013/14.July 1, 2014
(3) Eligible costs under the Tri-Council’s College and Community Innovation Program, administered by NSERC.

Feb. 17, 2015: IndustryCONNECTS Researcher Pitch Coaching

February 9, 2015 • Written by

Researchers are invited to join Innovate Manitoba’s experienced pitch coaching team to learn the art and science of the research sales pitch.

industry-connectsManitoba’s academic researchers are producing world-class innovations and discoveries, but their ideas are often lost in translation when it comes to pitching to potential business partners.

This is resulting in missed opportunities, not only for the individual researchers, but also for Manitoba’s communities and the economy.

Researcher Pitch Coaching: Enrich your Pitch! is an interactive and focused event designed to transform attendees’ research pitch skills and techniques. This workshop will provide those who attend with everything they need to know about delivering a successful pitch to potential business partners.

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
– Lee Iacocca


Driving SME Innovation: Feb. 11-12, 2015

January 29, 2015 • Written by

Evolve Your Business Thinking!

Driving Innovation Conference & Workshop 2015

Event Registration and More Information Available at

Do you want to accelerate your growth?

Are you facing tough technology and resource decisions?

Looking to create culture of innovation in your company?

Join us at Manitoba’s first innovation conference focused on small- to medium-sized businesses. This conference & workshop will show you how your company can increase efficiency, reduce risk and embrace innovation. Together, we will explore how to keep abreast of new technologies, grow and expand new products or services, reach new markets and enhance business productivity. Learn how to engage your customers and employees in success, fund your ideas, and grow to be an innovation leader in Manitoba.

Register Today

Conference and Workshop Presented by:

Innovate Manitoba - The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce - InVision

SHRCC Applied Research Funding for Colleges – Info session

January 26, 2015 • Written by

The new, $15-million Community and College Social Innovation Fund offered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) was presented in an info session at Red River College.

View the session here:


More info:

The deadline for applications is March 2, 2015.

Proposals to the Community and College Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) are expected to:

  • foster social innovation by connecting the talent, facilities and capabilities of Canada’s colleges and polytechnics with the research needs of local community organizations; and
  • facilitate the development of collaborative social innovation research that brings together researchers, students and partners to address research challenges pertaining to social innovation.

Applicants can propose partnerships that build on existing collaborations or are new collaborations or innovative models. All partnerships should promote research, connection and professional training. Applicants are encouraged to explore multi-sector partnership approaches with partner organizations from the private, public and/or not-for-profit sectors.

For more information, please contact Jose Delos Reyes at jdelosreyes@RRC.CA

Effectively Navigating and Managing Technology-driven Change

January 15, 2015 • Written by

January 19th, 2015 – SME Change Management Workshop – Conference Board of Canada, National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and ICTAM

The Conference Board of Canada, with the support of the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), will bring together leaders from small and medium sized enterprises to discuss ways you can be ready and adaptable to the transformative power of enhanced technology-driven change management that can improve your bottom line.

At this workshop you will:

  • Learn how to demonstrate value that can come through enhanced change management approaches. For example: improved new product and service development, productivity gains, enhanced competitiveness, tapping new markets, and overall business growth.
  • Discover best practices for navigating and managing technology-driven change.
  • Be focused on tangible, action-learning tools that you will be able to take-away and put to use in your organization immediately.
  • Have the opportunity to network with, and learn from, peers within your Region.

Download the Agenda.

There is a $75 fee to participate, which includes a lunch. To confirm your participation, please visit the Conference Board website to complete a registration form.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Maggie Paterson at 613-526-3090 or Sarah Dimick at 905 704-4566 ext. 2223 or

Riverview Health Centre Research Competition

January 14, 2015 • Written by

In recognition of the role of research in enhancing the quality of life of older adults and people with chronic or terminal illnesses, Riverview Health Centre is once again sponsoring a research competition.


Total funding of up to $15,000 is available to support projects that deal with significant issues facing the elderly, chronically ill, terminally ill, or those requiring rehabilitation.

More than one project may be funded in this competition.

All studies must be conducted at Riverview Health Centre.


To promote collaboration between the clinical practice and academic communities, project teams must consist of at least one university-based researcher and one Riverview Health Centre staff member. Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged. Please note that graduate student research projects are eligible for this funding

Grant Specifications

The Riverview Health Centre Research Grant is an operating grant designed to defray the normal direct costs of research not including conference travel expenses or investigators’ salaries.

Download Application Form

Paper copies of the packages are available from Ms. Lisa Johnson, Administrative Assistant, Research Services, Riverview Health Centre, at 478-6249.

The application deadline is February 20, 2015

Grant applications will be reviewed by a Research Review Committee co-ordinated through Riverview Health Centre. The committee will include both university-based Research Affiliates and appointed Riverview Health Centre staff members.

Assessment criteria include: a) Scientific Merit (clarity of research questions/objectives; appropriateness of methods; generalizability and validity of research methodology utilized; experience and skills of the investigative team) and; b) Potential Contribution (significance of the research for the Riverview Health Centre population; extent and appropriateness of the communication/dissemination plans). The Scientific Review Committee will make recommendations regarding the projects and amount of funding to the President, Riverview Health Centre. Unsuccessful applicants may request written feedback from the Scientific Review Committee regarding their proposal.

All proposals submitted for funding must have the written approval of an ethics committee of a Manitoba University as well as Access Approval by the Riverview Health Centre Research Committee prior to the release of funds. In addition, any major change in the study protocol or budget during the project must be approved before the grantee undertakes the change.

The research grant(s) will be administered through the Finance Department of Riverview Health Centre. Before funds are released, successful applicants will be required to sign a contract of acceptance indicating other sources of funding applied for or received.

The starting date for successful grants is March 31, 2015. Projects should not exceed 12 to 18 months in duration, although extensions to the funding will be considered if a written request is provided to the committee three months prior to the original deadline. At the end of the grant period, the grantee must submit a copy of the project report to the Manager, Research, including an Executive Summary for distribution to the public and/or health care community.

It is expected that grant holders will acknowledge the assistance of Riverview Health Centre in all presentations and publications arising from the funded project and will provide a presentation at Riverview Health Centre on their findings within six months after the completion of the project. It is also expected that a copy of any publication that results from the research supported by this competition will be forwarded to the Manager of Research at Riverview Health Centre.

If you have any questions please contact John Bond, Manager of Research, by phone at 478-6215 or by email at

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