Niagara College awarded silver for Applied Research and Innovative Excellence

President Dan Patterson accepting the silver award of excellence for applied research and innovation.

Niagara College was in the national spotlight on April 30, winning two awards from Colleges and Institutes Canada. Presented at CiCan’s annual conference in Victoria, B.C., the awards recognize and promote excellence within colleges, institutes, cégeps, and polytechnics in Canada, showcasing the extraordinary contribution of individuals to their communities and highlight the role of Canadian institutions in social, cultural and economic development. There are three levels of recognition: Gold, Silver and Bronze

Niagara College was awarded a silver for Applied Research and Innovative Excellence – the highest level of the award granted to any Ontario college in this category – for its impact on industry, students, faculty and the applied research ecosystem of colleges across Canada. College president Dan Patterson accepted the award on behalf of the College and its Research & Innovation Division.

“At Niagara College, we consider our Research & Innovation Division one of our most effective tools for economic development engagement in our community,” noted Patterson. “In its current configuration focusing on three major sectors – through our Agriculture and Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre, our Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and our Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre –  and two enabling commercialization platforms – Digital Media and Web Solutions, and Business and Commercialization Solutions – it has crystallized into a high-performance group.”

The committee took into account the Research division’s long-standing contributions to the applied research landscape in Canada, as well as its record for holding major grants from the federal government, including being one of only two colleges in Canada managing two Technology Access Centres, one each in advanced manufacturing and food and beverage innovation.

As the research teams work with industry and community partners to develop new products, processes and services, the College contributes to the growth of the economy and employment in Niagara, generating jobs for NC’s graduates. Just in the past six years, NC staff, faculty and students, through Research & Innovation, have engaged in more than 600 projects, with more than 350 paid research assistants (current students) and research associates (recent graduates). When including course-based projects, Research & Innovation has helped make possible more than 10,000 research experiences for NC students during that period.

“I’m proud to see our division receive this honour,” said Marc Nantel, associate vice-president, Research & Innovation. “Through our design of best practices in applied research, our leadership in funding program piloting, and constant efforts at measuring the impact that applied research is having on students and industry partners, our Research & Innovation staff is truly an example to follow.”

Holly Catalfamo: Gold Medial Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty

As well, NC professor and Human Resources program coordinator Holly Catalfamo, PhD, received CiCan’s Gold Medal Leadership Excellence, Award for Faculty – the highest level of the award in this category. The award recognizes an individual or a team who has exhibited consistent excellence in teaching and has had a significant impact on the personal and academic growth of students.

Catalfamo has been a professor in the School of Business and Management Studies since 2003 and program coordinator for Human Resources for most of her tenure. Since joining NC faculty 2003, Catalfamo was recognized for launching HR@NC, a student association focused on establishing connections to the HR community. She was applauded for her involvement in several domestic and international research initiatives, including her work as a member of the Caricom EFE CiCan project team where she helped to develop supply chain and logistics academic programming at Excelsior Community College in Jamaica, to meet growing labour market needs in the field. She was also involved with a project to measure the impact of the Mulheres Mil program, a school-to-work transition program in Brazil for marginalized women

~  Julie Greco