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Defining Applied Research Our Goals, Objectives, and Opportunities May 9, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Defining Applied Research Our Goals, Objectives, and Opportunities May 9, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defining Applied Research Our Goals, Objectives, and Opportunities May 9, 2012

2 Speaker Bio Rob Spewak B.Sc. (Agricultural Engineering), University of Manitoba M.Sc. (Agricultural & Bioresource Engineering, University of Saskatchewan) Work experience - engineering consulting, technical sales Westlink - Technology commercialization internship program RRC’s first “Research Manager” – 2007 onward

3 Agenda Applied Research & Commercialization (AR&C) Who are we? What do we do? Why are we here? Defining applied research Overview of applied research at colleges Benefits to staff/students, industry partners AR&C – our main activities, and development of an “applied research module”

4 Who we are: the AR&C office Created in 2004 Facilitates applied research activities at RRC Serves as contact point for industry, granting agencies and councils

5 Who we are: the AR&C office Our activities Assists in development of applied research proposals Identify and form partnerships with industry Seeks and administers external funding Administers internal research funding program CARD – College Applied Research Development Fund (formerly RIF)

6 Who we are: the AR&C office Staff Management and administration Ray Hoemsen (Director) Rob Spewak (Research Manager) Aman Hussein (NSERC Research Manager) Danielle Puddicombe (Research Office Manager) Lyndsay Ross (Administrative Assistant – currently on mat leave) Technical Ken Klassen (CARSI Research Professional) Jose Delos Reyes (Research Coordinator) Serge Broeska (SITRG Mechanical Engineering Technologist ) TBD (SITRG Civil Engineering Technologist)

7 Who we are: the AR&C office Staff Technology Transfer & Communications Brent Wennekes (Technology Transfer & Communications Manager) Adam Campbell (Communications Officer)

8 What is Applied Research? What is a good definition of Applied Research? Wikipedia – “involves the practical application of science”; “deals with solving practical problems”; and “resides in the messy real world” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's ELSI in Science:ELSI in Science “ Applied research is designed to solve practical problems of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge's sake. One might say that the goal of the applied scientist is to improve the human condition ”.

9 What is Applied Research? What is a good definition of Applied Research? Wisegeek.com: Applied research is: “any fact gathering project that is conducted with an eye to acquiring and applying knowledge that will address a specific problem or meet a specific need” All definitions focus on the solving of specific/practical problems

10 What is Applied Research? Applied Research (Colleges) vs. Basic Research (Universities) Problem solving (Focusing on the HOW not the WHY) Shorter-term projects Applying knowledge and testing to previous research Basic research lays the foundation for applied research Focus on work of students and instructors Engage on a project basis Incorporate into co-op work terms or projects for coursework

11 College-based applied research Applied vs. basic research  Intellectual property - few to no patents - commercial rights routinely assigned to industry partner - research and education rights retained by RRC

12 What is Applied Research? The line is blurring Perhaps good question to ask: “How long will it be before some practical application results from the research ?“ The longer the timeline, the more likely it is BASIC research

13 What is Applied Research? Basic university research may involve the discovery of a new rubber compound formulation for use in automobile tires that is thought to improve durability and performance in all seasons Applied college research may involve driving automobiles outfitted with tires of the new rubber formulation and evaluating the durability and performance – i.e. measuring tread wear, stopping distance on ice An example…

14 What is Applied Research? Basic university research may involve the discovery of compounds in flaxseed that have disease-prevention properties Applied college research may involve taking the flaxseed or its compounds and incorporating into a palatable food item(s) Another example…

15 What is Applied Research? What defines a “researcher”? Who can do applied research? “Someone who studies (something) thoroughly so as to present findings in a detailed, accurate manner” In an applied research context - Do we all deal with practical “real world” problems everyday? Absolutely! Not limited to persons with advanced degrees Is it for everyone? Not necessarily…

16 What is Applied Research? The applied research process AR&C assists through the entire process Association of Canadian Community Colleges has developed an applied research workflow AR&C developing its own “how to” module (to be discussed at end)

17 What is Applied Research?

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20 Why are colleges doing it? Strong relationships between colleges & industry/community College graduates play a critical role in incremental innovation Increased federal government investment More opportunities for staff and students Increased awareness of capabilities Future trends: population growth, energy usage, pollution – shift from focus on new product creation to finding solutions for using the planet’s resources in a sustainable manner

21 What is Applied Research? Roles of universities and colleges in the research process

22 What is Applied Research? Fast facts - Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) Over 100 colleges and institutes across Canada are engaged in applied research 4,444 companies partnered with colleges for applied research projects, 4,380 for industry research and 64 for social innovation research 447 areas of research specialization and 305 specialized research centres and labs support innovation in all sectors of the economy

23 What is Applied Research? Fast facts - Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) 13,585 students engaged in applied research in , up by 63 percent from ,606 faculty and staff, including industrial experts and technicians, engaged in research, up by 34 percent from Private sector investment in Canada’s colleges increased by 13 percent in the last year to $50.3 million

24 What is Applied Research? RRC’s Mandate Applied research is a key element in RRC’s mandate Integrated with educational and training activities Major areas: Sustainable infrastructure technology, bio-sciences, manufacturing design technology, among others esearchMay004.pdf

25 What is Applied Research? RRC’s Mission “The College’s applied research mission is to assume a leading role in the application of knowledge through directed applied research in specific areas of expertise, to enhance the connectivity between College expertise and the needs of industry, and to create an institutional climate of support for applied research. By adding applied research projects to the curriculum, the college will educate the next generation of applied researchers, equipping them to assume leadership roles in their respective fields.” esearchMay004.pdf

26 What is Applied Research? Benefits to students Exposure to solving ‘real world’ industry challenges Gain critical skills in proposal development, conducting applied research and report writing Chance to impress potential future employers

27 What is Applied Research? Benefits to instructors Exposure to industry concerns and trends Use of research results to update/modify courses Access to new equipment Professional development

28 What is Applied Research? Benefits to industry Supports innovation Accelerates adoption of new technologies Enhances productivity and efficiency Increases industry competitiveness Supports community economic development “Test drive” potential future employees

29 What is Applied Research? What makes a good applied research project? Reflection of the College’s values and themes Fits in main research areas Maximizes the building of research capacity Addresses workforce needs/private sector partnerships

30 Our resources SITRG Sustainable Infrastructure Technology Research Group Improving the energy performance of new and existing buildings Funded by a $2.3-million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Funding supports faculty release time, students, and fees for external consultants/experts among others

31 Our resources NRC-IRAP National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program Network member since March 2008 Goals of funding: Benefit technology-based SMEs in the sustainable infrastructure sector Establish/enhance College relationship with public research facilities Support capacity within CARSI

32 Our resources NRC-IRAP Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP) Developing and implementing digital technology awareness and advisory services to Manitoba SMEs to increase their productivity. Key Components: Digital Technology Strategy Development Events Digital Technology Advisory Support Service (DTASS) Industry Outreach and Linkage Facilitation NRC-IRAP funding: $100,000

33 Our facilities Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI) 10,000 sq.ft. facility opened in 2007 Environmental control chambers Removable exterior wall section Structural dynamic test system Strong floor for testing of large structural members

34 Our facilities In development… EVTEC – Electric Vehicle Technology and Education Centre Support electric vehicle innovation in/by Manitoba’s transportation sector Enhance electric vehicle education at RRC and in the region Increase public awareness of electric vehicle technology ATEC – Advanced Transportation and Energy Centre To support innovation in the transportation industry To introduce new vehicle technologies through applied research to train the next generation of skilled workers to ensure the successful commercialization of new innovations

35 Our facilities CATT – Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training Array of cutting-edge laser systems Vapour phase crack-cleaning equipment Aerospace hot section coating equipment Digital non-destructive inspection system On-site materials lab CNDI – Centre for Non-Destructive Inspection Distributed network of technologies, facilities and expertise in non- destructive inspection of components and assemblies Defect visualization using ultrasonic imaging and x-ray radiography Distributed network of workstations

36 Our work RRC – Applied Research Project Examples Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) study Conversion of 10 Toyota Prius vehicles to PHEVs

37 Our work RRC – Applied Research Project Examples Concentrated solar power project with Manitoba Hydro Parabolic solar trough – evaluate performance in cold climate

38 Our work RRC – Applied Research Project Examples Air leakage testing of large buildings Data plentiful for residential buildings, but not for large commercial/industrial buildings

39 Our work CARD (formerly Research Innovation Fund) Projects College Applied Research Development Fund Supports internal, short-term research projects (Since 2005) Wide variety of projects have been funded (Over $300,000 in total) High efficiency furnace evaluation to early childhood development 2012 deadline: May 31, 2012 More info:

40 Our work High efficiency furnace evaluation

41 Our work And…the “crappy” side of research…. Effects of eco-friendly water-saving devices on drainage/venting systems For more information:

42 What is Applied Research? Applied research module AR&C developing “how to” or researcher guides for both staff & students, including a webinar Reference guide for the entire applied research process, from proposal development to final report and technology transfer activities Your feedback is important! What are your main questions/unknowns? What are the critical pieces that need to be in the researcher guide? Expertise survey

43 Our work More information Rob Spewak, M.Sc., E.I.T. Research Manager Applied Research & Commercialization blogs.rrc.ca/ar Twitter.com/RRCResearch

44 Our work


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