International students have a role in applied research in Canada

 In News

Canada is home to 318 billion trees and a vast array of colleges, universities, polytechnics and other institutes of higher learning – proof that it’s a fertile land for growth.

One of the benefits of enrolling in college rather than university in Canada is the opportunity to gain paid research work that combines on-campus learning with applied research work that brings the lectures and lessons to life in real-world applications.

The good news is international students can play an outsized role in applied research.

“Paid research allows international students to gain profound knowledge on the job while they’re still students,” says Jonathan Hack, dean of Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES) at Toronto’s Centennial College.

“Some 600 students are presently involved in paid applied research activity. They make up a highly diverse student demographic and fully one-third of participants are women.”

With its emphasis on applied research, Centennial has been recognised by Research Infosource as the top-ranked college in Canada for providing paid student internships in applied research activity, with 571 student researchers engaged in 2022-23.

This is the third consecutive year that Centennial has held the national leadership position for student researcher engagement, demonstrating the college’s commitment to providing students with relevant experiential learning opportunities that future-proof their careers.

College and university models of applied research differ significantly. In university, faculty members are expected to develop their own curiosity-driven research programs, secure funding, recruit and train graduate students, and publish the results of their work in academic journals.

By contrast, the college model relies on the institution’s applied research office to identify opportunities for industry-driven research, secure funding and manage projects.

College faculty are brought in on a project-by-project basis to furnish their expertise and leadership, and students are hired as research assistants where appropriate. ARIES brings faculty and students together to solve practical industry problems and provide real-world work experience.

The focus is on solutions that are both practical and cost effective for companies.

“More than 80% of our applied research work is with small and mid-sized enterprises, companies that may not have the budget to see an idea or concept to fruition as a commercial-ready product or service,” says Hack.

Centennial’s entrepreneurship activities embrace both traditional entrepreneurship and “social entrepreneurship,” which are mapped against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework.

“We want to be known as an innovative institution,” Hack emphasises. Centennial has carved out a space in several industry sectors that are rich in research activity, including aerospace, transportation, digital health technology, advanced manufacturing, energy, social innovation and explainable data analytics.

Canada is home to numerous aerospace companies that have a global reputation for quality, value, performance and reliability. Similarly, Centennial College has forged a sterling reputation as a trainer of licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs) over 50 years.

In one example of applied research in aerospace, the college’s Landing Gear Innovation Lab was established in collaboration with industry partner Safran Landing Systems to test landing-gear actuation systems on Bombardier Challenger 300 and CRJ-200 test rigs, as well as investigate the development of electric landing gear to reduce the mass of future aircraft.

“More than 80% of our applied research work is with small and mid-sized enterprises”

Likewise, Centennial’s Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technology Access Centre in Health (WIMTACH) uses a multidisciplinary approach to provide specialised knowledge and technology to companies in the growing digital health technology sector.

WIMTACH serves as a catalyst for and contributor to digital health innovation through its applied research projects. In one example, the centre is tapping deep learning and artificial intelligence to predict the success of possible donor-recipient matches and transplant outcomes.

With $4.5m in additional funding recently secured for student internships in applied research, Centennial will be engaging more students in the coming years to continue to deliver high-quality and sustainable innovation with industry and community partners.

Not surprisingly, ARIES’ student researchers are highly sought after upon graduation – the surest measure of growth and success.

This is a sponsored post by Centennial College, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The post International students have a role in applied research in Canada appeared first on The PIE News.

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