LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19
RESEARCH WITH IMPACT THE 2018-19 REPORT FROM LETHBRIDGE
COLLEGEâ€™S CENTRE FOR APPLIED RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – RESEARCH WITH IMPACT
READY TO EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES It is my pleasure to invite you to browse the pages of our 2018-19 annual report from the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This year has focused on building capacity in support of three of our five strategic themes, namely Agriculture, Food and Environment; Business and Technology; and Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as on the impact that our applied research has had. Our report is filled with stories and testimonials that share the value of our partnerships, showcase our industry and community projects and highlight the benefits that our applied research activities are having on economic growth in our region and beyond. It also provides a sense of the opportunities awaiting our faculty and students to engage in providing practical solutions to industry problems. One of the successes of the past year has been the tremendous growth in externally funded applied research projects, where we saw a threefold increase, bringing us to just under $5 million. We also restructured our research administration to represent and fully support our wide range of activities. This restructure resulted in the creation of the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with six staff members and dedicated office and incubator space for student entrepreneur and innovation projects. We have also appointed an applied research chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology, with a focus on post-harvest processing, as well as the first President’s Applied Research Chair in Virtual and Augmented Reality. Both chairs are strategic appointments that complement our new program areas and reinforce our commitment to supporting industry in areas of current and future need. We are also very proud that Lethbridge College also been chosen as one of only 17 post-secondary institutes to participate in a Tri-Council Equity, Diversity and Inclusion pilot project. It has been a busy but rewarding year. I hope you enjoy reading about the impact of our work, and I invite you to find out more by visiting our website – www.lethbridgecollege.ca/carie. Thanks for reading – and let us know if there is a real world problem our team might be able to help you solve.
Dr. Kenny Corscadden, PhD, PEng, FIET Associate Vice President Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
READY TO INNOVATE Over the past few years, we have created and celebrated an environment of excellence in applied research at Lethbridge College. This year, we recognize the impact of that work and continue to push the commitment of this college in regards to community partnerships, innovation and entrepreneurship. Faculty, staff, students, community members and industry partners have continued to expand their expectations, projects, connections and economic impact of their vital work in a variety of diverse ways. One example of this is the work that is happening in virtual and augmented reality on campus, which has exceeded every expectation – winning national grants, creating new and in-demand student programming, and bringing together industry partners. These efforts have been so impressive that we have created the first ever President’s Applied Research Chair in Virtual and Augmented Reality. This is just one more way we are showing how our college is ready to have a meaningful impact on applied research on a global scale – and how our president’s vision and support of this work has been transformational. There are so many examples of excellence happening in our labs, classrooms and innovation spaces on campus, and I encourage you to learn more about them in this publication and online. After all – as we like to say – what happens next matters most.
Dr. Samantha Lenci, EdD Provost and Vice President Academic
ABOUT THE ICONS
Each icon represents one area of research at Lethbridge College. However, many projects are cross-disciplinary, so stories will include icons to represent all the different areas of the college taking part in a particular project.
Agriculture, Food and Environment
Business and Technology
Health and Wellness
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION This is the annual report of work done by Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE). Created by the college’s Communications, Marketing and CARIE departments, this publication aims to inform, educate and intrigue readers with stories and photos about Lethbridge College’s people and the innovative projects they have underway. For additional copies, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justice and Public Safety
Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Dr. Paula Burns Executive editor: Dr. Kenny Corscadden Editor and writer: Lisa Kozleski Designer: Dana Woodward Illustrator: Brent Bates Photographers: Rob Olson, Shawn Salberg Contributors: Dustin Fraser, Paul Kingsmith, Dave McMurray, Megan Shapka and Dawn Sugimoto
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – SPOTLIGHT ON FACULTY
READY TO LEAD THE WAY It’s a first for Lethbridge College – and possibly the country. In August, Lethbridge College’s President and CEO Dr. Paula Burns announced the creation of a President’s Applied Research Chair and named Mike McCready as the first researcher in the position. The unique new role is one more way the college is leading the way when it comes to applied research. “Applied research, innovation and entrepreneurship are key to leading and transforming education in our province,” says Dr. Burns. “We are proud to create this unique opportunity to explore new learning experiences. Having the president’s office support a chair allows us to discover emerging areas in a timely way and signals that applied research and innovation are a priority at Lethbridge College.” As the President’s Applied Research Chair, McCready will work to connect industry with the limitless potential of VR and AR technology, and to identify how virtual and augmented reality can benefit industry and create solutions to implement it in those businesses. “Developing our expertise in this emerging area is a way we can improve our efforts educating, training and helping people develop skills for a changing workplace,” Dr. Burns explains. McCready, a Lethbridge College alumnus (Multimedia Production 1999) who has instructed in the Multimedia Production program since 2015, says he is thrilled at the opportunity. “Our future is really as limitless as our imagination,” he says. “Once industry catches wind of this applied research program, that will start driving the industry forward. That’s what will make this program and the research that we’re going to be doing successful. One of my responsibilities will be connecting with non-VR organizations – tourism, trades, healthcare and many more – and showing them the potential of this technology in their workplace. I want to identify opportunities and problems within industry that VR and AR technology could help solve.”
FACULTY MEMBERS WHO ENGAGED THEIR STUDENTS IN COURSE-BASED APPLIED RESEARCH ACTIVITIES THIS PAST YEAR.
DEDICATED RESEARCH STAFF MEMBERS ENGAGED IN APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECTS THIS PAST YEAR, INCREASING FROM TWO IN 2013-14.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – SPOTLIGHT ON COMMUNITY
READY TO BUILD NEW bridges While Lethbridge College has a long and proud history of successful applied research projects, new opportunities for faculty and staff to participate in meaningful research projects also abound. Novice researchers can benefit from Centre for Applied Research Internal Fund (CARIF) grants, which support new researchers and projects by providing funding for release or backfill time, student stipends and project costs. Early Childhood Education (ECE) instructors Cheryl Hatten and Dr. Hanako Shimamura received one of those grants in 2019 to support their research on the importance of outdoor and risky play. They collected information from early childhood educators in the region about their current knowledge and practices surrounding outdoor play. They also asked about their beliefs, perceptions and any barriers they had to outdoor play and outdoor risky play in their work. Hatten and Shimamura plan to use the data to shape research for the ECE program at the college and to determine how the college can continue to provide leadership and support to ECE community partners. Since 2017, the ECE program has been a leader in encouraging loose parts and outdoor risky play – and they have applied their research on campus in the Hands-On Early Learning Centre. With support from local business and industry partners, the college’s outdoor play space is in the midst of a transformation to become a one-of-a-kind environment.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 â€“ SPOTLIGHT ON RESEARCH
READY TO WORK TOGETHER Luco Farms – makers of marvelous mustard – had a problem. The seals on the jars of their artisan mustard, which is made from mustard seed grown in southern Alberta, weren’t sealing properly. While this didn’t affect the quality or safety of their artisan mustards, it did leave customers concerned when they didn’t hear the satisfying “pop” upon first opening. So Robert Luco and his son, Ben Luco, went to the Tecconnect centre for entrepreneurship and innovation in Lethbridge, a vibrant place for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses within a supportive and innovative environment. There, they connected with Lethbridge College, and food scientist and chef Rob Sonnenberg and his students joined in the effort to find a solution. In just a year, with some trial and error and the support of an NSERC Engage Grant, they solved their problem (a new way to vacuum the jars, plus a switch in kinds of salt, did the trick). Now, thousands of jars of Luco Farms mustard are making their way throughout the region, each one opening with a pop that reveals a small but significant southern Alberta success story.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – SPOTLIGHT ON STUDENTS
READY TO DIG DEEP Ecosystem Management students Jason Cotton, Blaire Harley, and Carollynn Lemky wanted to get some hands-on experiences in their summer jobs. They got that – and more – under the supervision of Dr. Willemijn Appels, Lethbridge College’s Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science. Appels, her colleagues and the summer students are part of a fouryear applied research project with the college and Potato Growers of Alberta, made possible through a grant from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (read more on page 23). The three students had nothing but praise for their colleagues and for the research experience. “The skills I learned in class gave me the tools I needed to be an effective member of the field technician team,” says Cotton. And, he adds, getting a remotely piloted automated systems certificate “was especially fun to attain.” Harley and Lemky agree that learning to fly UAVs, or drones, was an unexpected perk of the summer work. “The most surprising thing is how much I learned about the agriculture industry,” Harley adds. “This experience has shown me that agriculture is an industry I would love to learn more about.” Lemky says that what surprised her most was “how much I actually enjoyed working with soil. I had taken a soils class, but I didn’t really gain a proper appreciation for the importance of soil until this summer.”
STUDENTS INVOLVED IN APPLIED RESEARCH AT LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE. THAT NUMBER HAS SINCE QUADRUPLED FROM 2013-14, WHEN 252 STUDENTS WERE ENGAGED IN APPLIED RESEARCH ACTIVITIES.
STUDENTS INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE-RELATED RESEARCH ACTIVITIES AT LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE IN 2018-19.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 â€“ SPOTLIGHT ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP
READY TO COLLABORATE Lethbridge College hosted a cross-country collaborative design challenge Sept. 20 to 22, welcoming agricultural students from Nova Scotia and Quebec. Five students each from Lethbridge College, Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture and McGill University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences came together to engage in agricultural innovation at the foundational level and collaborate to solve a real-world problem in the agriculture industry. The weekend-long workshop followed a compressed format of Lethbridge College’s successful and in-demand Agriculture Entrepreneur in Residence (AgENT) program. The McDalBridge students – like AgENT students – practised transferable problemsolving skills and used their experiences from their diverse Canadian agricultural settings to work in cross-institution teams to discover, design and deliver prototype concept solutions. A national agricultural design innovation challenge provides a platform for Canadian students to bring their particular agricultural knowledge together to grapple with specific regional issues. McDalBridge 2019 was sponsored by Farm Credit Canada and the three participating post-secondary institutions. The event will take place again in 2020 in a different agricultural region of Canada.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – SPOTLIGHT ON RESEARCHERS
READY TO INVESTIGATE Biochar: it’s light, durable, readily accessible and could be a key to zero-waste food production in the world’s greenhouses and aquaponics systems. A research project at Lethbridge College has been looking at it as a micro-nanofiltration system in aquaponics. Biochar is a type of charcoal created by burning organic biomass (such as bamboo) anaerobically (without the presence of oxygen.) Its highly porous surface both captures small particles in water and houses beneficial microbes that contribute to cleaning the water. Lethbridge College research scientist Dr. Zied Khiari and his colleagues spent a year developing a zero-waste food production platform based on microfiltration and nutrient recycling designed to provide a highest yield output in the greenhouse space. With funding from a $50,000 grant, with equal contributions from NSERC Engage and Alberta Innovate’s Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement programs, the research built on the expertise of the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence and involved a community partner, Pure Life Global. “This research is important because it has immediate positive impacts on the environment, the food and agricultural industries and the rural communities,” says Dr. Khiari. Working with industry partners like Pure Life is beneficial, he adds, because “they take our research from laboratory setting into an industrial scale, which leads to commercial opportunities, job creation and economic benefits.”
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – YEAR IN REVIEW
A BIN WITH A VIEW Sometimes cutting-edge research looks like a pile of dirt. That’s what visitors to Lethbridge College likely thought when first walking into the Innovation Space last year. That’s when they would have encountered multiple tonnes of southern Alberta’s most common soil types, sitting inside three massive, custom-built wooden bins. But that dirt also contained subsurface drip irrigation systems nurturing alfalfa crops. And the sensors in the soil and Plexiglas® windows on the bins gave researchers a rare look at how the water moves in various soil types – without the variable factors of wind, rain or gophers. The dirt bins and irrigation systems they contained were part of a one-year research project done in partnership with Southern Irrigation, with funding from a $50,000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Applied Research and Development grant and another $20,000 from the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta. Dr. Willemijn Appels, the college’s Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science, led the year-long project exploring the management of subsurface drip irrigation systems in terms of water and nutrient use efficiency. These kinds of system can be used on irregularly shaped fields, can be fully automated and can deliver nutrients as well as water, which creates an opportunity to increase crop yields without increasing water use.
INCREASE IN APPLIED RESEARCH FUNDING SINCE 2013-14.
AMOUNT OF APPLIED RESEARCH FUNDING RECEIVED THIS PAST YEAR, INCLUDING $670,000 FROM THE COLLEGE.
INCREASE OF FACULTY ENGAGEMENT SINCE 2013-14.
TAKING THE SHOW ON THE ROAD Lethbridge College is looking to take its aquaponics expertise on the road and share it with Alberta children and their families who visit the new Granary Road Active Learning Park south of Calgary. With insight and input from the team in the college’s Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, the park, which provide 36 acres of activities, 3.5 kilometres of trails, a petting zoo and almost a dozen themed exhibits, built an Aquaponics exhibit over the summer. Dr. Nick Savidov, the college’s senior research scientist, says “it will provide a visual treat to visitors, who will be able to get a glimpse of the unique ecosystem of aquaponics world, demonstrating the power of the microbial world in converting fish waste to nutrient solution.” The park opened in the summer of 2017 and the design of the learning pavilions, which are aimed at children from kindergarten to Grade 9, was overseen by Calgary teachers to ensure it aligns with Alberta educational curriculum. The park is located on 112th Street West and south of Highway 22X and also includes a farmer’s market, bakery, greenhouse, food vendors and more.
ANSWERING AN IMPORTANT QUESTION Dr. Jeanine Webber, the college’s Dean of the Centre for Justice and Human Services, and Ibrahim Turay, an instructor in that centre, asked a simple question: why are women under-represented in leadership roles within the Alberta Correctional Services Division, despite the division’s commitment to diversity and inclusion? With support from Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research Internal Fund grant, they are now looking for an answer. Starting on July 1, the researchers began studying the real and perceived barriers preventing women from ascending to leadership positions; the key resources women need to support their leadership aspirations in the division; and the pathways that have proven effective in the past for women in leadership. At the end of their research project, Webber and Turay plan to share the results with the division – providing direction and insights to an organization that is looking to enhance leadership opportunities for women.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – YEAR IN REVIEW
CREATING A CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRODUCTION In June, Lethbridge College received $1 million towards its Centre for Sustainable Food Production through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund. The CFI grant supports the creation of a new, 10,000-square-foot greenhouse on the Lethbridge College campus that will work in conjunction with the existing Aquaculture Centre of Excellence. The world needs to produce at least 50 per cent more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050. However, climate change and the depletion of natural resources present significant challenges. There is an urgent need to develop alternative sustainable food production systems, reduce organic waste and improve the efficacy of food systems at commercially viable scales. Research in the new greenhouse will focus on addressing these concerns. With CFI funding, staff in the Centre for Sustainable Food Production will work to help industry develop innovative technologies that convert manure and other wastes into highly efficient, soluble fertilizers; improve the delivery of soluble fertilizers by optimizing fertigation systems; improve organic crop production through optimized pest management; and maximize greenhouse production through vertical aquaponics.
63.6% $3.14 MILLION
SUCCESS RATE FOR 13 PROPOSALS SUBMITTED TO NSERC, SSHRC, CFI, THE GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA, CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL PARTNERSHIP, AND MAJOR INNOVATION FUND.
AMOUNT OF FUNDING AWARDED FOR THOSE PROPOSALS.
A FIRST FOR LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE Lethbridge College received nearly $150,000 in Applied Research Tools and Instruments (ARTI) grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)’s College and Community Innovation fund, in June. These grants will be used to provide two college researchers with equipment vital to their work in precision irrigation and in antibiotic discovery. This is the first time the college has received ARTI grants from NSERC. Dr. Willemijn Appels, the Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science, is undertaking research projects in the precision irrigation field, where new technology and management strategies are combined to grow “more crop per drop.” A grant of nearly $75,000 will allow for the purchase of an eddy covariance system that is used to measure the amount of moisture leaving plants as water vapour, complementing the more common method of estimating that amount of moisture from weather conditions and crop characteristics. Dr. Sophie Kernéis, a senior research scientist specializing in microbiology, is leading the Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project, which identifies plants native to Alberta that show antibacterial activities. The group then works to isolate antibiotic molecules, potentially leading to the discovery of new antibiotics for medical and agriculture use. She received a grant of more than $72,000 to fund the purchase of three pieces of equipment key to her research: a rotary evaporator to remove the solvents used in the extraction; a high pressure liquid chromatography system to permit a first analysis of the active extracts and to compare the active extracts with the goal to find unique molecules; and a second microplate spectrophotometer that will enlarge their antibacterial screening capacity allowing them to engage more students in this research.
DID YOU KNOW? Lethbridge College’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation is working with Farming Smarter on a four-year project to develop agriculture educational videos, virtual reality experiences and podcasts? The college received $30,000 as part of a $137,678 grant to contribute to the project. Visit www.farmingsmarter.com.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19
Aquaponics Lethbridge College is a hub for aquaponics research and innovation and a national leader in aquaponics research. Our Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (ACE) meets the demand for quality applied research into aquaculture practices specifically adapted to northern geographical locations. Our greenhouse operations, biosecure isolation facilities, water recirculation technologies, and water quality testing and molecular lab capabilities provide a solid foundation for a variety of aquatic- and aquaponic-based research. Our ability to carry out diverse research for the benefit of the industry has allowed us to specialize in aquaponics as an example of an integrated selfsustainable food production system based on an ecosystem approach, the culture of both warm- and cool-water fish, and other areas of research, including biofiltration and organoleptic studies. The following pages offer an introduction to the different elements at work in the world of aquaponics. For more information or to learn more, go to lethbridgecollege.ca/carie or email email@example.com.
Fish Aquaponics is a way to put fish to work to help grow plants in a system that mimics a natural ecosystem. In the aquaponics cycle, the fish excrement provides nutrients to water, and the plants use those nutrients to help them grow. The plants then filter the water for the fish to live in. Aquaponics technology uses nutrients with 100% efficiency, produces no waste and produces food without damaging the environment.
Plants Plants are also important in aquaponics. They play a key role in making the aquaponic ecosystem self-sustainable by taking the carbon dioxide and minerals, which bacteria and fish produce, and turning then into a healthy food. The plants also provide shelter to beneficial microbes, which live on their roots.
Bacteria and other microbes Good aquaponics growers think about more than just growing plants and fish. They also work hard to cultivate good microbes, called probiotics of aquaponics. Microorganisms play important roles in aquaponics by breaking down organic sludge, detoxifying harmful chemicals like ammonium, protecting fish and plants from diseases, stimulating the growth of plants, and helping fish digest their food.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19
Filtration Filtration is the process of separating solids from liquids. Good filtration systems are an essential part of aquaponics operations because they prevent the buildup of heavy, sticky sludge. Sludge is particularly bad because it can settle on plant roots and block their access to oxygen. If the roots canâ€™t access oxygen, the plants will die, which can destroy the whole aquaponics system. Aquaponics growers use filtration to stop sludge from plugging up the pipes, pumps and plant beds of their systems.
Organic matter Organic matter with minerals
Mixture sand, silt or clay
Parent rock Unweathered parent material
Rotating Drum Filter A rotating drum filter is one of many different kinds of filters and filtering techniques. The filter includes a membrane, which helps separate the solids from the liquids. With a drum filter, the water flows inside the drum and percolates through the membrane, leaving the solids inside the drum. The solids are then washed out and removed from the drum. Another commonly used method to get rid of solids is sedimentation, which occurs when particles in water are allowed to settle out under the effect of gravity.
Biochar trickling filter This is another type of filter used in aquaponics at Lethbridge College, and it involves biochar. Biochar is a very porous and very stable material that was proved to be an effective option for filtration of fish effluent in aquaponics and aquaculture. Biochar can be used to improve water quality for both plants and fish, and it presents a very hospitable environment for microbial life to live and thrive.
Feeding pump Medium
An aerobic bioreactor is the essential part of any aquaponics system, and it is the part that truly makes it a zero-waste technology. Bioreactors break down solid materials into liquid minerals, allowing plants to absorb the liquid material as nutrients. Microbes carry out this process, consuming the organic materials with 100 per cent efficiency. The end result is a clear, odourless and disease-free solution, which can then be added back to the aquaponics system or used as a fertilizer for the plants.
Agitation system System monitor Sensor probes
Flocculation and coagulation After an aerobic bioreactor fills up, it has to be stopped, with the residual sludge settling down. This process starts with the decant, which is the fluid that contains dissolved minerals found above the sludge. Colloids, which are the smaller solid particles and tiniest substances still found in the decant, are removed through flocculation and coagulation, which is what happens in physical chemistry when solid particles are separated from a liquid to form loose, soft flakes. After flocculation, the decant becomes crystal-clear.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 â€“ OUR YEAR AHEAD
OUR YEAR AHEAD: EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Lethbridge College is one of just 17 Canadian post-secondary institutions chosen for the Dimensions pilot program, a national initiative designed to foster transformational change within research bodies and post-secondary institutions. Lethbridge College researcher and instructor Dr. Jennifer Davis is taking the lead on the two-year project which will see the college set up an internal self-assessment committee to evaluate what the college is already doing to promote equity, diversity and inclusion, and identify areas in need of improvement. The goal of the program is to eliminate obstacles and inequalities in the research and post-secondary ecosystems to support equal access for all. Dimensions has been developed by the national tri-council of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Funding. The program aims to create inclusion opportunities in research, while recognizing that inclusion must be a priority at the institution level for it to truly be successful in the research realm. Lethbridge College is one of only five colleges to be chosen among the 17 post-secondary partners and joins the University of Calgary as the only Alberta representatives. The 17 institutions participating in the pilot project will undertake data collection, analysis and action-planning initiatives as recommended by their internal self-assessment committees. They will also have access to tri-agency supports and will take part in collaborative workshops with other participating institutions.
OUR YEAR AHEAD: DIGGING DEEP TO UNDERSTAND IRRIGATION A new study will dig deep into the soil to determine how watering and irrigation methods affect southern Alberta’s potato crops. The four-year research project is a partnership between Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Potato Growers of Alberta. It is made possible through a grant from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The $397,595 grant allows for the study of five different potato fields in southern Alberta. The watering practices of two producers near Vauxhall, as well as farms near Bow Island, Chin and Taber, are being monitored. The diversity of fields allows researchers to study a variety of different soil types and topographies, which will give a holistic look at how moisture reacts with and affects potato crops. The research team will record how producers use their existing irrigation and available water sources and the outcome it has on crops in different parts of their fields. Dr. Willemijn Appels, Lethbridge College’s Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science, and the Potato Growers of Alberta along with GrowTEC, had previously collaborated in a single-field variable rate irrigation study, and they were looking to continue that type of work, which led to this unique partnership.
DID YOU KNOW? Lethbridge College is expanding its expertise in the area of agriculture technology? Looking to support and augment southern Alberta’s agriculture industry, the college introduced its first applied research chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology in September 2019 and has plans to create an Advanced Postharvest Technology Innovation Centre.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – OUR FACILITIES
OUR FACILITIES: THE AQUACULTURE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE Aquaculture research began at Lethbridge College in 1989 and was supported in its early days by a partnership with the Eastern Irrigation District. A key outcome of this early partnership occurred in 1997 when the Canada Foundation for Innovation awarded funding to support the construction of an aquaculture facility – the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, or ACE. In 2003, the college’s aquaponics research at ACE grew thanks to a partnership with the Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Alberta Aquaculture Association. Ten years later, ACE received its first Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant for aquaponics, followed by a five-year, $2.2 million grant in 2015 to make the Integrated Fish and Plant Systems (Aquaponics) a commercially-viable food production solution. In 2018, ACE initiated a study to use biochar as a filtration medium in aquaponics, which was funded by Alberta Innovates and NSERC. The project resulted in a highly efficient and affordable filtration system, which can potentially revolutionize water management in recirculated aquaculture farms. Today, through the NSERC project and other generous government and industry partnerships, ACE continues its tradition of collaborating with community to solve real-world issues through applied research.
OUR FACILITIES: THE PIVOT In September 2018, Lethbridge College launched the Agriculture Entrepreneur in Residence (AgENT) program, an extracurricular program that provides experiential learning opportunities for students to develop foundational skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. A key part of the AgENT experience is the availability of space and resources to build the mindset and skills necessary for the future workforce. In September 2019, the college opened The Pivot, the central point from which the college nurtures innovation and grows ideas. It is a versatile collaboration space for cultivating student-entrepreneurs and encouraging regular interaction between the AgENT facilitators, students and industry partners. The Pivot is the home of all AgENT workshops and events and simultaneously acts as a student business incubator space, giving students access to resources, technology, business advisors and one-on-one coaching.
OUR FACILITIES: CARIE OFFICES Applied research at Lethbridge College has a long history, with its first activities starting in 1989 in aquaculture research. While the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE) has been operating in some form since then, it has never had a dedicated space on campus to call home. That all changed in September 2019, when the team moved into new offices in the Trades, Technology and Innovation Facility. Encompassing The Pivot, the office space provides a place for the team to collaborate with our industry and community partners, faculty, staff and students as they continue to expand their capacity and increase their promotion to take on new projects and be a leader for economic growth, sustainability, and social development in our region. The collegeâ€™s commitment to creating a dedicated space represents the evolution of CARIE from small beginnings to the rapid growth and engagement we are seeing today.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19 – OUR PEOPLE
OUR PEOPLE: Dr. Chandra Singh Dr. Chandra Singh joined the college’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in August as its first applied research chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology. The position, which will support and augment southern Alberta’s agriculture industry, is the latest stop in Dr. Singh’s distinguished professional and academic career. Raised on a small family farm in India, Dr. Singh completed an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Engineering, a master’s degree in Postharvest Engineering and a PhD in Biosystems Engineering, giving him a rare and sought-after combination of expertise in both equipment and technologies, as well as an understanding of the science of agriculture. He was most recently an associate professor of Engineering at the University of Southern Australia. At Lethbridge College, Dr. Singh’s work will include the creation of an Advanced Postharvest Technology Innovation Centre. During his professional career, which included six years working as an agricultural engineer in Calgary, Dr. Singh noticed a gap in postharvest handling and storage of produce and grains in southern Alberta. He says production and processing methods in this region are already world-class but he wants to help minimize the loss felt by producers once their crops are out of the field. He will work within CARIE to create industry partnerships and research opportunities with the local agricultural community. He will also work closely with other Lethbridge College researchers, instructors and students within the college’s Collaborative Centre of Excellence in Agriculture.
OUR PEOPLE: Dr. RezVan KarImi Dehkordi Dr. Rezvan Karimi Dehkordi came to Canada from Iran in 2010 to begin her doctoral program in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba. There, she worked with the knowledgeable and supportive professors in the Department of Soil Science on research that focused on reducing nutrient loss from agricultural lands to Lake Winnipeg. After graduation, she completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge. Her research in Alberta focused on the long-term soil nitrogen and carbon dynamics in a century-old wheat experiment. She says her interests extend to the fate of nitrogen in Canadian agroecosystems. She is currently a research associate at Lethbridge College, where she works on the modelling of soil water and nitrogen distribution in a fertilizer-injected subsurface drip irrigation system. “I love my job because people care about my professional growth,” she says. “I love the challenge of coming in every day and my boss listens to my ideas and the whole team works together to make them happen. It’s rewarding being in a position where I can use my skills in soil science to make an impact on Canadian agriculture.”
OUR PEOPLE: Alexi Kubeczek Alexi Kubeczek, program coordinator for AgENT, joined Lethbridge College in June 2019. His diverse experiences are a culmination of post-secondary administration, agriculture technology and agri-business. While working towards his Bachelor of Management degree at the University of Lethbridge, Alexi began developing his own startup in the agricultural industry, which led him to compete and win many regional and provincial challenges. As an early AgENT mentor in 2018-19, he saw tremendous potential for knowledge sharing and said he felt he got far greater benefit from the experience than he ever anticipated. When he stepped into his new role, he said it was a dream come true. He continues to support the agricultural industry, guiding the young innovators of tomorrow as they build startups in a fun way and unlock marketable skills from within.
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2018-19
OUR TEAM: Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Dr. Kenny Corscadden, PhD, PEng, FIET Associate Vice President Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship 403-320-3202 ext. 5223 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave McMurray, MA Manager, Applied Research 403-320-3202 ext. 5799 email@example.com
Megan Shapka, BPA Manager, Innovation and Entrepreneurship 403-320-3202 ext. 5535 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dustin Fraser, B.Sc. Research Facilitator & Animal Care Coordinator 403-320-3202 ext. 5751 email@example.com
Alexi Kubeczek, BMgt AgENT Program Coordinator 403-320-3202 ext. 5358 firstname.lastname@example.org
Noelle Smith, B.Sc. Administrative Assistant 403-320-3202 ext. 5453 email@example.com
What happens next matters most. SUPPORTING OUR TEAM The work of the team in the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship is supported by many people throughout the college and in the community, including our executive leadership team and deans of our six centres. In addition, we are grateful for the work and support of other campus colleagues, including: • Patrick Balfour, business analyst, Finance • Andy Benoit, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research lead (Digital Learning) and research ethics board coordinator • Dr. Jennifer Davis, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion pilot program lead • Abe Fast, financial reporting analyst, Finance (retired) • Melanie Hamilton, educational development specialist • The Lethbridge College Communications team • The Lethbridge College Marketing and Web Services team • The Lethbridge College Institutional Planning, Analysis and Risk Services team
LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE APPLIED RESEARCH 2017-18
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT APPLIED RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AT LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE?
WEâ€™D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship 403.320.3202 ext. 5453 firstname.lastname@example.org
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The 2018-19 Report From Lethbridge College’s Centre For Applied Research, Innovation And Entrepreneurship