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Research at Centennial College

Research at Centennial College

How does research work at Centennial College?

The Canadian college sector plans, manages, and carries out research differently from the Canadian university system. The following accordions outline some of the key differences, with an emphasis on inquiry-based and applied research.

Leading Centennial College’s applied research activities is the department of Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES) at Centennial College.

Note: Like universities, colleges also carry out internal institutional research to assess their educational program offerings and enrollment trends. Institutional research is not discussed here. For more information on institutional research at Centennial, please contact iro@centennialcollege.ca.

Examples of research at Centennial College

Electrically actuated landing gear R&D

Centennial has strong training programs in mechanical engineering technology, electronics, and aviation technology. Staff at the Applied Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES) office at Centennial recognized the potential to use the technical expertise of faculty members in these areas to address a long-term challenge in aviation technology – the reduction of aircraft weight.

Centennial ARIES worked with a group of small-aircraft OEM partners to develop a set of applied research projects that address weight reduction through electric motor-driven (rather than hydraulic) landing gear. The ARIES team successfully applied for a $2.3M grant through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Innovation Enhancement grant program for colleges, which matches partner cash contributions to the projects on a two-to-one basis. Individual projects are being executed by Centennial faculty and students with oversight from ARIES and regular guidance from partner company representatives. The bulk of the NSERC funding is used to provide course release or salary for contributing faculty and student research assistants. Technical work on these projects began in 2017 and is expected to continue to 2023.

Open resources for nursing education

Centennial offers an undergraduate degree program in Nursing, in collaboration with George Brown College and Ryerson University. As the program has grown, the limited availability of clinical placements for students has created challenges in scheduling and accommodating training needs.

To supplement these limited clinical opportunities, Centennial faculty members in the Nursing program envisioned the creation of on-line training modules that use live actors to take students through common scenarios they might encounter in the clinic. A group of Nursing faculty members successfully applied for funding through Centennial ARIES internal Applied Research and Innovation Fund (ARIF), which provides support for faculty-initiated research and innovation projects. The funds were used to cover release time for faculty Project Leaders, stipends for student researchers and actors, and for the rental of equipment needed for filming. The training modules have been posted online as Open Educational Resources and are now in use at colleges and universities across the world. Read more here.

Autonomous vehicle technology development

Autonomous (self-driving) vehicles are an area of major interest worldwide, and the Greater Toronto Area is home to a number of innovative startup companies working in this area. In turn, Centennial College has largest on-site transportation training facility in Canada, offering a large number of vehicle maintenance programs through its School of Transportation (SOT).

Representatives from Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) introduced Centennial ARIES and SOT representatives to a small startup company working on after-market modifications for self-driving trucks. ARIES worked with company staff and SOT faculty to develop an autonomous truck technology demonstration project that could be executed on the Centennial campus. ARIES staff successfully applied for a $25k grant for this project through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Engage program for colleges. The funds will be used to purchase supplies, cover faculty release time, and provide stipends for student research assistants. Project work is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

Interested in getting involved?

The department of Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services (ARIES) leads applied research activity at Centennial College. ARIES engages faculty, staff, students and industry partners in research activities across schools and sectors. For more information on ARIES and how to get involved, visit our website or contact aries@centennialcollege.ca.

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