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2019-20 Annual Report

The following sections shine a spotlight on the highlights of Research & Innovation’s 20th year, both as a division, and through the accomplishments of each of our Centres.

Niagara College’s Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC) team works with partners to address today’s challenges in agriculture, sustainable food production, plant growth, horticultural practices, greenhouse operations, aquaponics, and environmental management. The team’s work is enhanced by the computational power to process big data; a 20,000 square-foot greenhouse; robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and electronics prototyping equipment.

CULTIVATING A SCIENTIST

“... a scientist needs to be able to understand how data collection works, how to mix chemicals and build a study, and then implement and execute it.”

Before arriving at Niagara College to teach for the School or Environment and Horticulture Studies, biologist Derek Schulze carried out molecular research both in the medical and then in the plant world. With a Master’s degree in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, he has always been interested in basic science, no matter the discipline.

Derek brings his love of science to the greenhouse classroom, overseeing applied research with students during course-based study. Read more about Derek’s research projects with the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre.

The Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. From new recipe development to shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling, the CFWI Innovation Centre pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students with the right expertise and equipment to meet industry’s needs.

BLAZING A TRAIL IN BEVERAGE RESEARCH

“Solving problems for industry partners is very meaningful, and I always believe that science should be utilized to solve practical issues instead of only publishing papers.”

Food scientist Zhengtao Zhao, PhD, has spent his career in beverage production, research and commercialization – laying the groundwork for his role as the food scientist – beverage specialist for the Technology Access Centre at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre.

Zhengtao plays a key role in Niagara College’s trailblazing beverage research initiatives and is responsible for assisting in the start-up, management and operations of the Beverage and Liquids R&D Pilot Processing Facility. Discover how he’s helping SMEs in beverage innovation and commercialization bring their products from concept to shelf.

Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) team specializes in engineering technologies, lean manufacturing processes and additive manufacturing. We work with Southern Ontario businesses to bring ideas to life, from concept through to developing working prototypes – from quick turn-around services to full-scale projects – utilizing leading-edge technology, including equipment and software.

AN INNOVATIVE MINDSET

“I love when reality meets innovation and when I see research resulting in something from which people may benefit.”

As the project manager with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, Amal Driouich leads the applied research projects in the labs, specializing in 3D technologies, engineering design, and additive manufacturing.

A mechanical and industrial engineer, Amal’s goal is to help key industries with innovative prototype development or process improvement. Read about all the projects Amal oversees at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

BUSINESS & COMMERCIALIZATION SOLUTIONS

From initial market research to commercialization strategies, the Business & Commercialization team offers a comprehensive suite of solutions. The team pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students who possess the expertise to meet applied research and innovation needs in many areas, including human resources, international business, operations management and sales and marketing.

EMBRACING THE SCIENCE OF PERSUASION

“Marketing brings out my creative side. I definitely find it interesting seeing how people behave in their purchasing decisions.”

Understanding how the psychology of human decision-making and marketing coincide is now guiding the career path of recent graduate Andrea Lopez. This after working as a research assistant with the Business & Commercialization Solutions team while studying in the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (International Commerce and Global Development) program.

During her time with Research & Innovation, Andrea has compiled extensive market research and feasibility studies for a host of small businesses to determine the viability of commercializing their products. Read about all of Andrea's work with the Business & Commercialization team.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

“If it weren’t for R&I, I would not have had the time or opportunity to experiment with the latest and greatest technology that everyone is moving towards today.”

- Ryan Tunis, Computer Programming graduate

Through applied research activities, NC’s Research & Innovation division is preparing the workforce with the right know-how by providing an array of researcher expertise, supported by leading-edge facilities, technology and equipment.

See how graduates and R&I alumni are applying their skills and knowledge in the real world.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS WE INTERACT WITH

Research & Innovation works with our Academic Partners throughout the year, as students are hired on co-op to work on specific funded projects; as faculty partner with R&I, as research experts to lead funded projects; and as R&I supports faculty’s implementation of course-based projects.

Course-based projects are part of a strategy implemented by Niagara College Faculty and Research & Innovation that augments content from the classroom with real-life projects and scenarios. These types of projects typically take place during one course term, and involve students working with an industry partner to solve real-world challenges.

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