Posts by Applied Research

Innovative Manitoba food products fight it out this weekend at Jane’s Restaurant

May 2, 2014 • Written by

Food fight photo

While we hope none of the competitors actually drop their gloves, we’re certain that your taste buds will take some tasty punches at this year’s Great Manitoba Food Fight (GMFF).

The 8th annual event, which Red River College (RRC) will host at Jane’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 3, will feature 10 entrepreneurial culinary competitors whose new food products will duke it out for $25,500 to help commercialize their enterprise.

RRC’s Culinary Arts students will also be getting in on the action with ten of our aspiring chefs competing for the Best New Recipe Award with signature dishes featuring the competitor’s products.

“Cooking is all about creativity and innovation and the functional food of tomorrow is the innovation of today,” said Keith Muller, Dean, RRC School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. “Companies are always looking for new products that can be commercialized and taken to market. Entrepreneurs have the business expertise but chefs have the creative ideas. Combining the two parties through the Great Manitoba Food Fight is a natural fit.”

Over its eight year history the GMFF — which is put on by the province’s Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MARFI) — has shown just how diverse and innovative Manitoba’s agriculture and epicurean section can be; past participants include a range of products from fireweed honey sourced in the north, to birch syrup from the Interlake, to prosciutto made from heritage hogs in Pilot Mound.

This year features a crop of ten budding food-based businesses from across the province whose artisanal, locally sourced products have been chosen based on their applications and business plan scores.

You’ll see and taste what Manitoba has to offer, from whole grain beer bread, to fish sausage, to ultra-creamy ice cream, while a panel of expert judges will decide who takes home gold ($13,000), silver ($8,500) and bronze ($4,000).

For the RRC School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, which is housed in the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, working with the GMFF this year was a perfect fit, as the partnership can only amplify Manitoba’s food production scene.

“The use of local and sustainable products is the philosophy of the School,” said Muller. “It is a major focus of our business plan to support local business and fuel Manitoba’s economy.”

The GMFF runs all day starting at 9:15 a.m.; while at the reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., attendees (for $20) will be able to sample the products and student dishes.


Colleges & Applied Research

April 29, 2014 • Written by
Ray New Headshot for web

Written by Ray Hoemsen, Director of Applied Research and Commercialization at Red River College.

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

This article is the first of a series which will, from the college point-of-view, address topics such as:

  • applied research
  • intellectual property management
  • community/industry engagement and partnering models
  • faculty/student engagement and curriculum integration

Over the last decade, colleges and polytechnics have become an integral part of Canada’s innovation environment; with a growing number of supports for college-specific applied research at the federal and/or provincial level – as well as by the colleges themselves.

Targetted investments by the Tri-Councils through the College and Community Innovation program in college-based applied research programs have grown from ~$3M in 2004 to ~$48M in 2014. These investments are intended to increase community and/or regional level innovation by building capacity within the college sector to work with local companies, especially Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs); as well as to support applied research and collaborations that facilitate commercialization,  technology transfer, adaptation and adoption of new technologies”. Concurrently, Tri-Council investment in university-based research partnerships have grown. For example, NSERC’s university-focussed partnerships program have grown from ~$180M in 2004 to ~$300M for 2014.

At the same time, the number of NSERC-eligible colleges has expanded from literally a handful to nearly 100 institutions from sea to sea to sea.

Community-based economic development is a key driver of applied research in the college system, which supports industry innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.

“Applied Research” is generally considered to be the application of knowledge, focussed on the resolution of a problem or need (usually identified by industry or other organizations within the community) with the objective of delivering a satisfactory resolution or result. This is distinct from the “basic” or “discovery” research (and related timelines) associated with the university sector. In Colleges, the focus is more on the “how” than the “why”.

Applied research is carried out on a group basis, with students often playing a key role since applied research (especially in the polytechnic model of education) is an integral component of the applied learning experience.

Commercial rights to research results are routinely assigned to industry partners, while the College retains rights for further research and education purposes. Most colleges do not typically engage in the traditional academic “patent and license” model.

Technology “diffusion” (adoption and adaption of technology) is of greater relevance than technology “commercialization” – since college-based applied research is often responding to an industry-specific product, process or service need.

In Canadian colleges, the role of the “applied research” office encompasses those which would normally be found in the typical university research services, technology transfer and industry liaison offices. Partnership and relationship development and maintenance are integral aspects of the job for applied research office personnel.

With the ever-increasing expectation of public investments in research to create impact, not just benefit; the colleges and universities have a complementary and, more often, a collaborative role to play supporting local and regional economic development.

Stay tuned for future articles.

Happy Easter from the RRC Robotics and Automation team

April 17, 2014 • Written by

Turns out that our robot Baxter, when he isn’t being used for modern manufacturing production at our Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TAC), makes a pretty good Easter egg hunter.

As shown in this video by our Robotics and Automation team, Baxter’s dexterity is second to none when it comes to handling and placing eggs with precision using machine vision and ROS Industrial.

Happy Easter!

Red River College awarded federal funds for robotics, sustainable buildings, and electric vehicle research tools

April 17, 2014 • Written by
Some of the NSERC funding will be used to purchase new end-of-arm tools for our Motoman robots

Some of the NSERC funding will be used to purchase new end-of-arm tools for our Motoman robots

River College (RRC) was awarded new funding today from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to continue the College’s applied research in the fields of electric vehicle (EV) testing, large building envelope research and robotics innovation.

A total of $327,842 has been awarded to RRC as part of NSERC’s College and Community Innovation Program – Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants (ARTI).

“This funding allows us to purchase and install specific research tools and equipment that will have an immediate impact on our applied research capacity across several industrial sectors,” said Ray Hoemsen, Director of Applied Research & Commercialization at RRC.

The tools and equipment being purchased and/or built include an EV rapid charging station and battery testers, a building envelope test chamber to test wall sections and materials, and new end-of-arm and imaging tools for existing robotics.

The EV charging station will be instrumental in testing EVs in Manitoba’s extreme climate

The EV charging station will be instrumental in testing EVs in Manitoba’s extreme climate

“These are assets that will directly support our industry partners’ research and training needs as well as enhancing student and instructor applied learning at the College,” said Stephanie Forsyth, RRC president and CEO. “They support our strategy to drive Manitoba’s economy in an innovative and sustainable way.”

With $72,292 from NSERC, the EV rapid charging station and battery testers will be incorporated into RRC’s Electric Vehicle Training and Education Centre (EVTEC) were it will have an immediate impact on both new and ongoing projects such as the all-electric transit bus project with partners that include New Flyer Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Manitoba Hydro and the Province of Manitoba.

The test chamber will be used on applied research towards making Manitoba’s existing and yet to be built buildings more energy efficient

The structural test chamber will be instrumental in making Manitoba’s existing and yet to be built buildings more energy efficient

Enhancing the College’s considerable capacity and expertise in conducting applied research on the energy performance of buildings is $139,300 to build an air, water, and structural test chamber in the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI). Along with specialized training opportunities, the chamber will allow building envelope innovations to be evaluated prior to their actual use in the construction of buildings.

The new tools for industrial robotic applications, valued at $116,250, will be incorporated into the existing suite of technologies in RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TAC) and the Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT). With the TAC and CATT, RRC supports aerospace and manufacturing organizations through access to research tools and expertise, technological assets and state of the art equipment.

More detailed reports on the NSERC ARTI grants and the applied research they will support can be found below:
Industrial Robotics Backgrounder
EV Charging Station Backgrounder
Structural Test Chamber Backgrounder

Manitoba institutions and innovation leaders bus together to activate entrepreneurs

April 2, 2014 • Written by
Start-Up Crawl organizers/participants Nick Danzinger, Joelle Foster, Luc Bohunicky, Scott MacAulay, Mariette Mulaire and Lindsay Johnston

Start-Up Crawl organizers/participants Nick Danzinger, Joelle Foster, Luc Bohunicky, Scott MacAulay, Mariette Mulaire and Lindsay Johnston

For budding young business students from the University of Manitoba and Red River College (RRC), there was no better place to be than on the second annual Start-Up Crawl bus on Friday.

The daylong event demonstrates how an original business plan can grow wings in Winnipeg’s commerce community and take flight through the utilization of this city’s innovative hotspots.

Indeed several of this year’s new business presenters, including Nick Danzinger, were mere students on last year’s crawl.

RRC student Nick Danzinger showing his DigiPlus line of phone cases.

Nick Danzinger showing his DigiPlus line of phone cases that he developed at Ramp Up/AssentWorks.

“Nick is a perfect example of a guy who got revenue positive really quick and is moving on to develop a scalable business that could be big business some day,” said Scott MacAulay, Entrepreneurship 2.0 Researcher and Instructor at RRC who was one of the organizers for this year’s crawl.

Danzinger’s custom phone case company DigiPlus was a just an idea nine months ago. Now he is building an extensive product list and closing profitable deals – all because of his ability to utilize the Ramp Up Manitoba and AssentWorks joint facility in the Exchange District.

Ramp Up is a space where prospective entrepreneurs can rent a desk for $50 a month, and offers an environment for developers, designers and entrepreneurs to become the latest technology startup in Winnipeg.

Ramp Up was founded by Chris Johnson who – along with former Asper School of Business student and Start-Up Crawl founder Luc Bohunicky – plays the role of entrepreneurial guru to the students, giving guidance on the bus between stops.

Across the hall from Ramp Up is AssentWorks, a self-described, “non-profit workshop dedicated to providing hands-on access to fabrication and prototyping equipment, knowledge, and a community of support for entrepreneurs, inventors, tinkerers, artists, and innovators.”

This is the fabrication lab (“Fab Lab”) where your product can be realized through woodworking, metalworking, 3D printers and a vast assortment of other electronic tools and incubators.

The AssentWorks/Ramp Up space received a lot of buzz from the student crawlers, as it truly offered a model into how a prospective business plan can be made into a retail reality.

Students on the Start-Up Crawl bus

Students on the Start-Up Crawl bus

While a lot of the focus on the bus is around starting up your own enterprise (a constant refrain from Johnson and Bohunicky was how then end goal is to be your own boss) the Start-up Crawl also works as a showcase for many of Manitoba’s innovative and energetic companies.

Advolve Media – a mirror-based advertising company, DASH – an upstart social media agency by David Bell and Christian Lunny (who aren’t even in their 20s), and Skip the Dishes – the food delivery service that is taking over western Canada, were some of the many innovative Winnipeg-based companies that took part in relaying sage advice to the students.

These enterprises were buttressed by non-profit organizations and commerce groups like Innovate Manitoba, World Trade Centre Winnipeg and Downtown Winnipeg Biz, who demonstrated for the students how the right financing and location can help grow your business.

Student interest in the crawl has already doubled, with a second bus added to accommodate the turnout this year.

Next year the organizers are hoping to add even more buses and to have students from the University of Winnipeg and L’Université de Saint-Boniface take part.

National Leasing, the crawl’s premier sponsor has donated $50,000 toward making these entrepreneurial connections happen, and organizers like MacAulay hope that money can go into doing more and more field trips with an end goal of growing Winnipeg’s innovative entrepreneur community – regardless of the educational institution a student might be part of.

“I guess you could say we are suppose to be competitive from an education standpoint but what I care about is building our community. That is number one to me,” said MacAulay.

“I want to see the Asper students who are entrepreneurs to be successful, because that means there is another entrepreneur born who has built businesses, and that is really important for building an innovative economy.”

New website supports innovation in aerospace and manufacturing

March 20, 2014 • Written by

10710958685_f761683091_oRed River College has launched a new website in support of its Technology Access Centre (TAC) initiative, serving aerospace and manufacturing organizations at home and abroad.

Funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC’s) Community and College Innovation Program, the TAC supports both large and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing enhanced access to RRC’s technological assets, subject matter expertise, and specialized facilities and equipment. Organizations benefit by gaining access to technology and expertise that was previously unavailable directly to industry.

The new website provides an industry portal through which aerospace and manufacturing organizations can view RRC’s resources, including: information on full-time student programming (from which they can draw their future workforce), information on hiring co-op students and interns, information on facilities and equipment available to assist them in projects, and information on how the College can support industry through applied research, technical services and training activities.

The site also highlights success stories and student projects, along with an events calendar listing upcoming seminars and events, and an area for posted tips and tricks helpful for practitioners in the workplace.

“This new website continues to promote the valued partnership we have with companies like StandardAero and our industrial campus, the Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT),” says Don MacDonald, Dean of RRC’s School of Transportation, Aviation and Manufacturing. “This new resource will ultimately mean more opportunities for industry, and for our students studying in these areas.”

Visit the new website to learn more about the Technology Access Centre.

Get connected and funded at Innovate Manitoba’s IndustryCONNECTS

March 12, 2014 • Written by


Connecting the dots…Imagine an event where academic researchers and firms seeking research assistance can develop research partnerships and learn about and initiate applications for federal funding at the same time…

Imagine no more! Industry-Researcher Matchmaking and Funding Application Day aims to do just that with the support of knowledgeable administrators with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Dates: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Times: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Regions: Winnipeg Brandon
Cost: No cost to invited participants


For Researchers:
Industry representatives will be on hand and making presentations on successful researcher collaborations. You will be able to make immediate use of your newly enhanced pitch skills in networking opportunities with prospective partners.

For Industry: You will have the chance to share your R&D needs with some of Manitoba’s best researchers and to initiate federally-funded academic research partnerships on the spot.

Those who attend this event will also be presented with case studies from private sector firms who have successfully engaged with academic researchers on research projects, as well as learn of other organizations and programs that can provide assistance.

Funding opportunities abound!

NSERC project/funding administrators will be on hand to help consult prospective industry-research partners as to the range of funding opportunities available to support their research. These opportunities include Engage Grants, Applied Research and Development Grants, Idea to Innovate Grants and more.

Engage Grants: Up to $25,000 to support six months of research costs of academic researcher-Canadian company projects. No cash contribution required from the company, but the company must collaborate on the project and be able to exploit the research results. This grant applies to new business/research relationships only. More info can be found here.

Applied Research and Development Grants: Three different levels of grants, from up to $25,000 for up to six months, and between $25,000 and $75,000 or between $75,000 and $150,000 per year for up to three years. These are designed to support applied research and development projects undertaken by college research with private-sector partners. Industry partner in-kind/cash contribution varies depending on grant level. More information can be found here.

Idea to Innovation Grants: These grants support college-university collaborations working with a company partner(s) to accelerate the development and commercialization of promising technologies. The college and university can share up to $250,000 per year based on company contribution of $125,000 (NSERC will match company contributions 1:1, so if the company contribution is $50,000, both the college and university can receive up to $50,000 each). More information can be found here.

Collaborative Research & Development Grants: These grants support one to five year projects undertaken by university researchers and their private-sector partners. The industrial partner must contribute to the direct project costs in an amount equal to, or greater than, the amount requested from NSERC. More info can be found here.

10th Anniversary Applied Researchv2


VIDEO: Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods

March 7, 2014 • Written by
Shawn Wilson

Shawn Wilson, B.Sc. (U of Manitoba, Canada), M.A. (U of Alaska, USA), PhD. (Monash University, Australia).

On March 3, 2014, Dr. Shawn Wilson, a Manitoba-born Indigenous people research expert visited Red River College from Australia, to provide a glimpse of his vast knowledge of the realm of Indigenous research.

Wilson’s recent book, entitled “Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods” (2008) examines the philosophy underlying Indigenous peoples’ research methodologies in Canada and Australia. Shawn delivered a presentation to share what he has learned through his deep research, while reflecting specifically on the following themes:

  • Assisting aboriginal communities through applied research
  • Engaging more members of the aboriginal community in applied research opportunities at Red River College

Watch the video presentation!Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.07.02 AM

Dr. Shawn Wilson is an Opaskwayak Cree from northern Manitoba, Canada. His main area of expertise is in research methodology and epistemologies, particularly in ways of knowing and conducting research used by Indigenous peoples. He has applied these methodologies and epistemologies within the contexts of Indigenous education, counselling and counsellor education, Indigenous mental health and general Indigenous studies through comparison between Indigenous peoples internationally. His current role is in building research capacity with primary health care workers. In his previous book Gwitch’in Native Elders: Not just knowledge but a way of looking at the world, he began to document some ideas about just what an Elder is and how they can be supported. Dr. Wilson’s more recent book Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods (2008) examines some of the similarities in philosophy underlying Indigenous peoples’ research methodologies in Canada and Australia. In addition to further articulating Indigenous philosophies and research paradigms, his research focuses on the inter-related concepts of identity, health and healing, culture and well-being.

A Decade of Innovation — 10 Years of Partnerships

March 5, 2014 • Written by

To celebrate 10 years of applied research at Red River College and recognize many of the relationships that have made it all possible, we created this professionally designed publication with the support of our partners and distributed in the Winnipeg Free Press on Feb. 22, 2014.  Click below to read about some of our more engaging and important initiatives that are happening now.

Red River College bolsters Manitoba’s ICT sector through access to cloud resources

March 5, 2014 • Written by

canarie10th Anniversary Applied Researchv2Red River College (RRC) is pleased to announce its partnership with CANARIE, a vital component of Canada’s digital infrastructure supporting research, education, and innovation to support the incubation and growth of ICT-based businesses in Manitoba.

CANARIE’s Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program provides free cloud-based compute, network, and storage resources for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to develop, test, prototype and demonstrate next-generation products.

“This partnership provides RRC students with opportunities to engage in applied research that requires the utilization of cloud resources,” said Ray Hoemsen, Director of Applied Research & Commercialization at RRC.  “Students can engage in meaningful applied learning and research, while businesses directly benefit from accelerated product development at no additional cost.”

In addition to the tangible benefits of the DAIR program with RRC, the partnership seeds fertile ground for additional research/business alliances between the organizations, strengthening the Manitoba innovation ecosystem as a whole.

“DAIR is an asset which will provide RRC and our private sector partners with access to new virtual resources in our community and region; which will accelerate applied research activities to everyone’s mutual benefit,” said Hoemsen.

“CANARIE’s focus is to provide Canadians with access to transformative technologies that will drive the evolution of our knowledge economy,” said Jim Ghadbane, President and CEO of CANARIE.

CANARIE’s national research and education network (NREN) partner in Manitoba, MRnet, provides the critical connectivity to DAIR for RRC users.

Interested in potentially utilizing DAIR in your research or product development?
Please contact:

Ray Hoemsen, FEC, P. Eng.,
Director, Applied Research & Commercialization | Red River College
1-204-632-2523 |

Learn about DAIR in 120 seconds!

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