Students, faculty, and industry partners met in Salon A of the Marketplace Food Court today to show off the projects they helped launch, create, and improve through the Applied Research and Innovation Division.
“Applied Research is when we take concepts, ideas, theory, and reduce them to practice to make a difference in this world,” explains Director of Applied Research and Innovation Dr. Mark Hoddenbagh. And Applied Research Day 10.1 provides the opportunity to showcase what that research has created. “The goal is three fold,” adds Mark. “One is to provide our students with an opportunity to showcase the work they’ve done and showcase their talents to industry, to faculty, and to their fellow students. The second one is to engage faculty and have them also be able to showcase the things they’ve done because they’re always involved in every project. The third is to bring clients in here from the external to have them see what we’re doing and to have them engage with us saying, “This is great. I like what’s happening here. I want to participate”.”
There are 28 projects on display this year and each one has involved a different time commitment from the participants, according to Mark. “Some of the projects were started last September. Some just started in the summertime. Over the summertime we had about 60 students who were paid to do applied research. Another 20 students were here as part of their course.”
To help the students complete their projects, they need to work with the latest and greatest technology. The Print Shop attended the show to display their new 3D printer. “With the help of Applied Research and Innovation, we’ve purchased a 3D printer that we’re going to be using to help students produce their projects whether it’s from Applied Research or other departments,” says Nick Haddad, Print Shop Technician & Digital StoreFront Administrator. “For example, we’ve worked with the Game Development students and they’ve come to us with the game pieces and characters they’ve designed.”
Nick explains the printer is able to create everything from a functioning wrench (made out of plastic) to Yoda from Star Wars. “At the moment, you won’t find anything as good quality as this [at other Ottawa post-secondary institutions].”
Ultimately the event is not just a showcase, Mark points out. “There is a competition. The judges go around and look at all the different ones. Each gets judged two or three times. The judges get together and determine the top six, then they go around as a group and they look at all six at the same time. Then they determine their top three.” Each first place student received $100, while second place students won $75 each, and third place took home $50 each. Those prizes were provided by the Students’ Association.
For the students, however, it’s about more than the money. “This is like experiential learning to the ultimate,” Mark states proudly. “There’s a completely different level of thinking that happens when you’re helping companies improve their business because you’re helping them solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. To me, the students who do applied research will probably end up being the top students in their classes.”
And as for the companies who are showing off products, Mark says it’s a real eye-opener. “The corporate partners are always blown away because they have no idea colleges can do the kind of thinking and the type of hands-on work that they’re doing that’s going to help companies get their products and processes into the marketplace.”
Thanks to everyone who attended Applied Research Day 10.1! And thanks to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for providing $5,000 towards the event expenses!
Here are this year’s winners:
1st Place – Rideshark
A secure mobile, web-based ridesharing system used by clients globally to simplify and incentivize sustainable transportation choices such as carpooling, transit, cycling, walking, and telework.
2nd Place – Membrane Filtration System
An affordable, portable reverse osmosis filtration system to aid in disaster relief where drinking water is scarce.
3rd Place – Social Enterprise Solutions for the Algonquin Culture
An interpretive program to reconnect Algonquin youth to traditional knowledge, and to promote cross-culture knowledge.