Niagara College earns top 10 spot among research colleges in Canada

Niagara College has earned the honour of being in the top 10 colleges in the country for research funding, according to a new national study released Thursday.

In its report “Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges,” Research Infosource Inc. has announced the rank of 10 for Niagara College, based on total research funding numbers for 2014. This represents two moves up from last year’s report, when Niagara College placed 12th, and three moves up since the inaugural report in 2013, which placed the college at 13. For the second year in a row, Niagara College improved its placing by being ranked third among Ontario’s five leading colleges.

What’s more, using data from the past two years, Niagara College’s research funding increased by more than 32% between 2013 and 2014, up to $5.34 million in 2014 from $4.036 million in 2013.

“We’ve made research and innovation a key priority, and our consistent climb in these rankings reflects that,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “By leading in this important area, we’re able to support the revitalization of the Niagara economy by helping local companies innovate, and we’re enhancing out students’ education by providing valuable real-world research opportunities.”

Research funding allows the college to partner with small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the region to conduct projects and services which provide innovative solutions for industry. These include producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products and processes.

“The College’s ranking among the top 10 colleges in Canada for research funding is a great endorsement of the wide-ranging work being done by our innovation centres, especially in the food and beverage sector, advanced manufacturing, and precision agriculture,” said Marc Nantel, associate vice-president of Research & Innovation at Niagara College. “We are encouraged by our division’s progress, and expect to see that ranking climb even higher as we add specialized equipment and infrastructure, and attract new project funding in the coming year.”

Niagara College has also made a jump in terms of partnerships and projects, climbing from No. 8 to No. 5 among large colleges for the number of formal partnerships held, and from No. 5 to No. 4 in terms of successfully completed projects — thanks to a 26% increase in that area.

Niagara College receives research funding from various regional, provincial and federal agencies. Administered by the college’s Research & Innovation division, the funding supports the hiring of students and graduates to work alongside faculty researchers in helping industry partners leap forward in the marketplace. Students come from a variety of the college’s programs, such as Mechanical Engineering Technology, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, Business Administration – Marketing, and New Media Web Design.

Research Infosource annually compiles listings of the Top 50 research universities, corporate R&D spenders and research hospitals. This year marks the third year a list has been released for the Top 50 research colleges in Canada.

A special report on all 2014 categories, including comprehensive listings, analysis and insight, will be published on Friday, Nov. 6.

Niagara College’s Research & Innovation conducts research projects with industry partners through its Agriculture & Environment Innovation Centre, Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre, and Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The division also offers support in the areas of digital media and web solutions and business and commercialization solutions.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information