$2 M fed grant for Manitoba technical college

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Red River College in Manitoba has received two federal grants totaling nearly $2 million for applied research in aerospace, manufacturing, and sustainable building technology.

One of these grants is a milestone for the College, which received its first College-University partnership grant.

“This is great news not only for the College but for aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology,” says Red River College president Paul Vogt.

“We are placing a strong emphasis on collaboration, bridging a critical gap between colleges, industry and universities by working directly with the University of Manitoba.”

Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced these grants during an industry breakfast at the Colleges and Institutes Canada Conference this morning in Ottawa.

“I’m so pleased that the Government of Canada was involved in such a valuable funding opportunity. Uniting Red River College with these sustainable industries will allow for brilliant minds to work towards a bright future for Canada; complete with a vibrant middle class, quality jobs, and an innovative economy,” says Minister Duncan.

Both grants are being awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“These grants are hard-earned validation for the innovative work we are doing in aerospace, robotics, manufacturing and sustainable building technology,” says RRC’s Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation Ray Hoemsen.

“We are fostering collaboration with industry and post-secondary institutions, creating a positive climate for the region’s innovation clusters in the process.”

The first grant is for a partnership with the University of Manitoba to develop a cost-effective thermally broken concrete balcony.

This is the first time that the College has received one of NSERC’s College-University Idea to Innovation Grants, awarded through its College and Community Innovation Program, signalling the College’s ongoing commitment to collaboration with other post-secondary institutions.

“Working together, colleges and universities can provide the entire spectrum of research and development continuum and a full-service complementary skillset to move industry forward on projects like this,” says Dr. Digvir Jayas, VP (Research and International) at the University of Manitoba.

This $113,000 in funding will be awarded to the College and the University of Manitoba over the course of one year.

The Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) at the College is collaborating with the UofM and a local engineering firm, Crosier Kilgour & Partners, for a joint-applied research project focused on the development of an affordable and effectively designed thermal break in concrete balconies.

This is a significant engineering problem in high-rise residential buildings. Without an effective thermal break in balconies, heat is lost resulting in higher energy consumption.

The second grant went solely to Red River College and is valued at $1.75 million over five years for the College’s ongoing applied research and training partnerships with aerospace and manufacturing organizations.

NSERC will be granting $350,000 each year between 2017 and 2021 as part of their College and Community Innovation Program.

This grant will allow for the continued operation of the College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM). This funding renewal is a vote of confidence in the TACAM, which has served over 40 organizations with applied research, technical services and training, including the integration of battery packs to New Flyer’s all-electric transit bus. The TACAM has provided over 60,000 hours of training to industry.

TACAM enables aerospace and manufacturing organizations to utilize the College’s capability, equipment, applied research, assets and expertise, which opens a significant level of access to advanced innovation and productivity for large and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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