Niagara College announces its number one ranking in Research Infosource Inc.’s Top 50 Research Colleges. President Dan Patterson (front right) and VP Research, Innovation & Strategic Initiatives Marc Nantel (front left) hold up a banner announcing the good news as they gather with staff members from NC’s Research & Innovation division. Supplied photo.
Niagara College (NC) is celebrating two decades of applied research activity this year. To add to the milestone celebrations a recent report put the college atop a list of 50 other colleges across Canada when it comes to research.
In its annual report “Top 50 Research Colleges,” Research Infosource Inc. announced that Niagara College has secured the number one ranking in the country, based on total research funding numbers for 2018. In fact, this represents the fifth year in a row the College has made the Top 10.
In a statement, Research Infosource Inc. CEO Ron Freedman called it, “A great year for Niagara College research.” He went on to say, “Not only in terms of research income – number one in the country – but research partnerships, where Niagara ranks number three among large colleges.”
“We’re grateful for the recognition as Canada’s number one college for research funding, which is good news for us, and for business and industry in Niagara,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson, PhD. Patterson, who announced his retirement earlier this year said research funding and activity doesn’t just benefit faculty and students. “The research dollars that we bring to our region funds our work to provide solutions to help local companies innovate and develop new products and processes, and in turn support economic growth in our community and beyond.”
Looking at colleges with applied research funding in Canada, Niagara ranks first by having attracted $11.185 million in funding to conduct innovative projects involving industry partners in the food and beverage, advanced manufacturing, precision agriculture, and related environmental technologies sectors.
When it comes to the number of interactions with industry – small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) who turn to colleges because they do not have the time or resources to innovate – Niagara College ranked third in Canada for colleges in the number of research partnerships, at 216.
Niagara College also ranked first in the category of Research Intensity $ per Faculty which includes faculty and research leads with the division. The dollar value was $329,000 per researcher.
Marc Nantel, PhD, vice-president of the Research, Innovation & Strategic Initiatives at the College noted that the number one ranking is a tremendous honour.
“We have been able to lead by being partners and collaborators within the College and the surrounding community,” said Nantel “We deliver value to the community, to industry, to students and faculty, and our funders have seen that commitment, so they continue to invest in us.”
Research funding allows the College to partner with SMEs in the region to conduct projects and services, which provide innovative solutions for industry. These include producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products and processes. NC Research & Innovation conducts research projects with industry partners through its Agriculture & Environment Innovation Centre, Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre, and Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The division also offers support in the areas of digital media and web solutions, and business and commercialization solutions.
One example the College pointed to is Keyframe Studios – a St. Catharines-based award-winning animation and VFX film company – who turned to NC’s Research & Innovation Division for assistance with taking their concept prototype to reduce green-screen post-production composting time to the next level and hit the commercial market. The research team at NC’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre is working on the second phase of prototype development. Since no such product currently exists, the success of this device opens the door for Keyframe to significantly increase their productivity and create a market with other production companies worldwide.
“The team has been great. I am surprised each time I visit how talented and professional the students and staff are,” said Clint Green, co-founder of Krow VFX, a division of Keyframe Studios. “From day one we felt as if we had engineering partners and that was important to us … our success had to be the College’s success.”
NC’s award-winning Research & Innovation division administers research funding support from various regional, provincial and federal agencies. Students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty researchers and assist industry partners with leaping forward in the marketplace. Students come from a variety of the College’s programs, such as Mechanical Engineering Technology, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, Business Administration – Marketing, and Computer Programmer.
Research Infosource annually compiles listings of the Top 50 research universities, corporate R&D spenders, and research hospitals. This year marks the sixth year a list has been released for the Top 50 research colleges in Canada. A special report on all 2019 categories, including comprehensive listings, analysis and insight, will be published Nov. 21, 2019. For more information on the Top 50 list, visit researchinfosource.com.