Red Deer College’s strong commitment to innovation and research has been recognized at the national level, as RDC was recently awarded two Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grants.
The competitive, prestigious grants include the Innovation Enhancement grant and the Technology Access Centre grant, both of which provide multi-year funding and unique opportunities for RDC to expand its research and innovation.
“These grants are symbolic of Red Deer College’s leadership in research and innovation,” said Dr. Peter Nunoda, RDC President.
“Our College competed against institutions from across the country for the two grants, and what really impressed the selection committees was the facilities that we have at RDC and the support from our community and industry partners. There is important, creative and collaborative work taking place here, and it has a positive impact on our institution and region.”
The Innovation Enhancement grant will provide $400,000 in funding each year for five years, launching the research potential for RDC’s alternative energy systems. Since 2018, the college has installed nearly 4,200 solar modules on three main campus buildings, making it the largest solar post-secondary installation in Canada, and it has reduced energy costs and generated alternative energy through the Alternative Energy Initiative. The Alternative Energy Lab, a teaching, research and data hub, is an essential part of this initiative. Through the Innovation Enhancement grant, RDC will expand the human capacity to lead alternative energy research and development, while also adding to the supporting technology that is required to make applied research possible.
“It’s pretty amazing to see how RDC has become a living laboratory for research in alternative energy systems and data management, while providing the basis for advanced study of energy system integration,” said Joel Gingrich, Dean of RDC’s School of Trades and Technologies.
“Through our Alternative Energy Lab and enhancements from the grant, we can provide the foundation support for students, the community, and industry to learn about alternative energy systems, utilizing real data, case studies, interdisciplinary research and study, as well as work integrated learning.”
The second grant RDC was awarded, the Technology Access Centre grant, recognizes RDC’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing as a leader among Canadian colleges in applied research in manufacturing. With $350,000 in funding each year for five years, the grant will allow RDC to work with industry and innovators at an even greater level. RDC’s facility will be renamed the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing – Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) as a result of the grant, and it will create capacity in advanced design, design simulation, and prototype testing.
“Our Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing supports innovators and companies from across the region by providing design and technical expertise at RDC and from across the province. Over the past 10 years, we have completed industry contracts covering a wide range of innovative projects,” said Gingrich.
“With the addition of a Technology Access Centre, we will be able to offer the region access to increased applied research capacity, increased industrial services, higher profile for entrepreneurial clients, and access to a national network for collaboration. We can provide a regionally unique, affordable alternative to in-house research and development, and that is so important for our small and medium sized business clients.”
Through the two grants, Red Deer College will build on its foundation of research and innovation, providing even greater possibilities for learners, innovators, and industry partners.
“As a post-secondary institution, we have a responsibility to provide opportunities for critical and creative thinking, along with innovation and inquiry,” said Nunoda.
“It’s very rewarding to see where RDC is now and to consider how we will continue to build on this in the future. Through our research and innovation, we are benefitting our students and the economic prosperity of the region. This kind of success will continue to bring more success in the coming years.”