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St. Lawrence College gets major financial boost for Applied Research

2010-05-31

St. Lawrence College has just been awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant of $2.3M over 5 years. With the grant, the college will expand its applied research activity in sustainable energy technologies and create a Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre.

"This is an extraordinary 'shot in arm' for our applied research agenda," said Chris Whitaker, president and CEO of St. Lawrence College. "Applied research conducted at St. Lawrence College has immediate aims, driven by industry to improve existing technologies and services. This new funding will enable strategic
partnering of skills and resources among college, industry, and university researchers to advance the region’s renewable energy sector."

St. Lawrence College Applied research will draw upon faculty expertise in the college's Energy Systems Engineering Technology Program, as well as Wind Turbine Technology, Civil Engineering, Instrumentation Control Engineering, and other programs, and will involve students. Projects will assist prototype development and field testing, improve efficiencies in new and existing technologies, and develop integrations of the variety of emerging technologies concerned with solar, geothermal, wind, and biomass energy, with one another and with the existing power grid.

The NSERC award adds significant momentum to the college’s steadily growing applied research activity. Last year Ontario committed $10 million to expand the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII). St. Lawrence College has joined CONII, doubling the needed resources for applied research such as faculty time and student assistants for the next two years.

Other ongoing applied research projects at St. Lawrence College include:

1) Civil Engineering: "Recycled Aggregates", looking at viability of crushed concrete and other used materials in constructing certain parts of road beds. A regional construction company is supplying materials and some employee time assisting Scott and a few students. Future prospects include actual trials of identified materials in test road beds.

2) "CEBRIC", a child behaviour research/treatment clinic concept, which draws on several Community Services programs, has performed a needs assessment, a literature review, and recently strategic development in partnership with a local social service agency. This summer, resources will support development of a core grant application which will be tailored for submission to a variety of funding agencies. Future prospects include a fully functioning, model research and treatment centre with a variety of funding sources
and partner organizations.

3) Computer Programming Analyst: "Effective Formative Feedback" is piloting a formative feedback tool which can serve a variety of post-secondary technical courses, addressing a common student need for helpful yet efficient feedback on progress prior to tests. Future prospects include further trials at other colleges and in industrial training.

4) Business: "Tourism Venue Rating Tool " has been piloting a tourist venue rating tool for guests to hotels, museums, or amusement sites. Future prospects include a wider, industry-supported pilot. The tool is a comprehensive score card for tourism venue operators to identify staff training and property development needs.

5) Nursing: "E.coli in Recreational Bathing areas of the St. Lawrence River" is identifying principal causes of E.coli outbreaks and methods by which the 48hr process from sampling to beach closure can be shortened. This is Phase I of a larger project conceived at the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences under an agreement between the Institute and St. Lawrence College, Cornwall campus. Future prospects include a widening study for more beaches and methods of analysis and decision-making in the Great Lakes Region. A variety of partners including regional health units, municipalities, and civil engineering firms are preparing to take part.

6) Nursing: "Variations of thromboelastography and platelet aggregation in relation to menstrual patterns in women". The research addresses certain blood disorders with an eye to low-cost, low-intervention treatment, or management of conditions, for certain patients.

These 'seed' projects all involve paid student-assistants and they all point toward positive impacts upon college programming, regional industry, and better living.

The college’s growing applied research agenda fits a national trend. College programs are helping their related industries to compete globally by solving problems and producing still more highly qualified graduates to staff industry and academic laboratories.

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