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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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Niagara College ranked #1 among Top 50 research schools
College president Dan Patterson and vice-president of the Research, Innovation and Strategic Initiatives Marc Nantel celebrate the news with the research and innovation faculty team. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Niagara College has been named the number one college for applied research in Canada for 2018.

The college scored the top place in the annual Top 50 Research Colleges report published by Research Infosource Inc., a research and consulting firm.

Niagara College received $11.185 million in research funding, which included research grants, contracts and contributions from third parties varying from government agencies and companies to non-profit organizations and individual clients.

The news was announced at the Marotta Family Innovation Complex on Tuesday.

“That research and development arm for small- and medium-sized businesses gets its hub of activity from Niagara College,” outgoing college president Dan Patterson told media and a small crowd of research and innovation team gathered at the announcement.

“We’ve become a hub for small- and medium-sized enterprises that want to grow their business, want to hire more staff and want to create more products. And so much of it starts right here,” said Patterson, who will be retiring soon.

Cégep de Trois-Rivières, which attracted $10.5 million of sponsored research income, secured the second place followed by Lambton College with its $10.3 million.

In total, 13 Ontario colleges, with a combined research funding of $71.1 million in 2018, have made it to the Top 50 list.

For the past five years, Niagara College has been ranked among the top 10 colleges for research. In 2017, it was ranked eighth.

With 216 research partnerships, Niagara College ranked third in Canada. The college also ranked first in research intensity with $329,000 of research income per faculty member.

The news arrived in time for the college’s 20th anniversary of applied research activity.

“We couldn’t have done it without great staff, students who work, faculty and industry experts,” Marc Nantel, vice-president of research, innovation and strategic initiatives told The Lake Report. “People are the key.”

Niagara College’s Research and Innovation centres work closely with faculty members, students and graduates to provide solutions and meet the needs of industry partners.

It’s synergies like these, which bring students, experts and industry partners together, that factor for success, said Canadian Food and Wine Institute centre manager Lyndon Ashton.

“The experiential learning is coupled with knowledge transfer to our industry partners so all the intellectual property that’s being developed goes back to them,” Ashton told The Lake Report.

“And for Food and Beverage Innovation centre that’s really important to us because a lot of companies that work with us need to know that they can retain those rights, they have that type of research and development supports that they need to get their products commercialized and put on the market.”

One of the recent research projects, headed by the centre, included collaborating with the Royal Canadian Mead and creating a line of craft meads with 5.6 per cent of alcohol in them.

“As we bring on new innovation centres, we’re getting more recognition from industry as a place to go,” Ashton said.

In total, colleges across Canada completed 2,344 research projects in 2018 and partnered with 4,964 organizations.

Colleges also involved 3,233 students and 3,300 college researchers to work on various research projects.

The majority of sponsored research income – 58.5 per cent – came from government sources. Industry provided 37 per cent of the funding, non-profits 3.1 per cent, and individual and foreign sources comprised the rest.