CNA ranks first in Atlantic Canada for college applied research

Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges announced

12/16/2020 9:55:26 AM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – College of the North Atlantic (CNA) has claimed the top spot for applied research among colleges in Atlantic Canada, and placed 16th overall in the country (up from 26th last year) in Research Infosource’s Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges.

“We are extremely proud of CNA’s rankings in the Top 50 Applied Research Colleges in Canada,” Liz Kidd, CNA’s President and CEO, said. “It represents the incredible hard work and commitment of the entire team at the Office of Applied Research and Innovation, college faculty, and the many students we engage in applied research projects.”

Kidd says there are many factors that have contributed to the elevated ranking, and she is delighted CNA has also placed ninth in the country for overall research growth.

“These results highlight the support applied research has received from the college to grow this enterprise and use it as a vehicle to enhance exceptional applied learning opportunities for our students. Additionally, the support we receive from funding agencies acknowledges the value of utilizing CNA expertise, and it clearly signals that industry sectors are recognizing the transformational role CNA can play for businesses.”

Kidd says these designations are immensely important for CNA as the ranking is based on a college’s ability to attract funding investments for applied research and development.

According to Dr. Michael Long, CNA’s Associate Vice-President of Applied Research and Innovation, the College Innovation Network (CIN) is where applied research projects are born at CNA. He reports the college received approximately $6.1 million in support of applied research in disciplines ranging from mining, agriculture, and agri-foods to workforce development, information technology, manufacturing, and geomatics.
Christina Burke, CNA Geomatics Engineering Technologist with the college's Office of Applied Research and Innovation, attending a Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Student Reception in Ottawa earlier this year. One of many opportunities for CNA to showcase its applied research and innovation projects. In this case, her work in 'Green Mining'.

“Our department identifies industry bottlenecks and ‘pain points’ with our partners, and then uses these challenges as the subject matter for students’ technical theses and investigation by our subject matter experts.”

Long says CNA is continuously collaborating on industry-relevant projects, one being the mobile Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU) project with the mining sector. The four-year initiative is the largest applied research project the college has ever undertaken.

“Our multi-million-dollar hyperspectral imaging project brings some of the most advanced drill core imaging technology on the planet to the province to digitize the drill core and help our miners find new mineral deposits. A team of 29 researchers, technologists, technicians, graduates and undergraduate students will execute the project over its initial phase with partners.”

In addition to the numerous benefits the project will bring to the mining industry, several CNA programs will link directly to the HSU or have a hyperspectral component integrated into them, which will enhance programs and ensure that CNA is not just training students with the skills required for the mining sector, but for other emerging sectors.

Another recent example of how CNA students have collaborated with industry partners can be seen through the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre (PDIFC) project in Stephenville. This project explores how new technologies, merged with CNA expertise, could be used to upgrade existing property complexes.

“Employing the latest available technologies is a key component of applied research at CNA. The project improves access/mobility for tenants and visitors at their new space while incorporating elements of universal design,” Long explained. “This work saw students from the Geomatics/Surveying Engineering Technology and the Architectural Engineering Technology programs use portable laser (LIDAR) scanners that create a ‘point cloud’ consisting of millions of data points that are used to create 3D models of virtually any space within minutes.”

One initiative that has contributed greatly to the college’s applied research portfolio has been the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre (NLWIC), which provides a coordinated, central point of access to engage government, career and employment services providers, skills development organizations, and stakeholders in the business and community sectors throughout NL.

“The centre’s goal is to support the research, testing, and sharing of ideas and models of innovation in workforce development that will positively impact employability, entrepreneurship, and attachment to the workforce. NLWIC currently has 20 projects underway involving partners across multiple sectors, throughout Canada, and internationally.”

While there are many research projects in the works at CNA, Long says he is sure of one thing.

“There is an enormous demand for innovation within our province and we are eager to support it. We are just beginning to tap into the innovation potential within our over 600 faculty, nearly 7,000 students, and 17-campus network, so the future for applied research at CNA is indeed looking very bright.”

For the full list of the Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges, visit here.

For more information about the Office of Applied Research and Innovation, visit here.

Media Contact:

Glenda McCarthy                                                                                                            
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic