Camosun College has been named one of Canada’s top colleges for research income.
Camosun was ranked 33rd in the annual Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges report from Research Infosource Inc.
Camosun attracted a total of $1.6 million in total sponsored research income during the reporting period, an increase of 15.4 per cent over the previous year, and an improvement of four spots in the national ranking.
“It really is what I call bringing the currency back into the classroom. By having partnerships around applied research projects, in collaboration with our local and ministry partners, we bring real-world problems to the campuses,” said Dr. Tim Walzak, director of Camosun Innovates.
“And we give opportunities for our students and faculty to work on those real-world problems, provide solutions to the companies, but at the same time gain hands-on practical experience that they can apply directly once they’re in the workforce.”
Camosun was recognized primarily for its contribution to technology, sport, manufacturing and social innovations that help small to medium enterprises become more competitive, productive and effective.
“The hands-on nature of our college research offers an incredibly rich experience for Camosun’s students and faculty,” said Walzak. “The primary focus of Camosun Innovates is to connect the projects we solicit to the education we provide. Every project has the potential to be a learning opportunity that challenges students and faculty to collaborate, innovate, create and learn. The added pressures of real deadlines and business objectives translate into memorable, meaningful learning moments.”
Camosun placed third among B.C. institutes, with BCIT ranking fifth nationally followed by the Justice Institute of B.C. at 28th.
Walzak said a lot of the focus at Camosun is on advanced manufacturing, using 3D scale printing technology and advanced machining to produce components and prototypes for companies.
“We work with on the order of 150 different companies on an annual basis, helping them improve their products,” he said.
One of the major recent projects at Camosun has been working in conjunction with the Richmond Oval to produce sports simulators for its new Olympic experience museum.
“Here at Camosun, we worked on the bobsled, the sit-ski and a kayak simulator, and that was built in conjunction with a local company called VRX.”
Walzak said the Sidney company mainly produces race car simulators, and Camosun adapted its core technology to use in the Olympic sports simulations.
“It was a very sophisticated series of projects,” he said.
Although Camosun’s funding levels increased over last year, B.C. under-performed as measured against the rest of the country, according to Research Infosource.
“B.C. colleges’ performance was well below the national trend this year,” said Ron Freedman, CEO of Research Infosource Inc. “Their combined research income declined by 42.8 per cent, which under-performed the 4.8 per cent Canadian total gain. However, on the plus side, B.C. institutions expanded the number of formal research partnerships by 11.7 per cent and the number of formal projects completed by 4.1 per cent. The number of researchers also expanded by 8.2 per cent.”
Walzak attributes Camosun’s success in attracting research funding to its flexible engagement with local industry.
“Truth be told, we’re very good at writing the grants and the proposals that help leverage those companies’ investments,” he said, adding Camosun is required to have industry partners for every one of its projects, which is a different approach than the one used by universities on their research platforms.
“We are problem solvers, every dollar we get from the federal government has to have an industry partner associated with it, so we spend a lot of time talking and listening to our local industry partners, understanding their needs and then finding creative ways to meet those needs.”
To view the full list of the top 50 research colleges, visit researchinfosource.com/top50_col.php.