Okanagan College granted research funding opportunity
Canada’s largest research granting council has added Okanagan College’s name to the list of institutions eligible to receive and administer federal research funding.
The decision followed a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council review of college policies and practices that pertain to research.
“This is extremely positive news that comes at an opportune time,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton.
“Increasingly, colleges are being regarded as a key component in the innovation and commercialization initiatives in Canada. In the latest budget, for example, the federal government set aside funds specifically intended to spur college and community research initiatives and partnerships.”
Among the announcements in the June federal budget, for example, was allocation of 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at colleges ($3 million in 2011-12, and $5 million a year permanently beginning in 2012-13). A further $12 million over five years was earmarked for an Idea to Innovation program that supports joint college-university commercialization projects.
While the NSERC accreditation will ensure the college is able to apply for those funds, Hamilton says it is important to realize that the research agenda has always been a part of what happens at Okanagan College.
“We have many professors, instructors and students who have been engaged in innovation and research, whether it is a biology professor who is working with a developer to ascertain the effects of a marina on a fish population, or business students who are helping companies or non-profit agencies find better ways to conduct business,” said Hamilton.
“There is more applied research that goes on at a college than most would imagine,” he said.
“The federal government is seeing the close connections that colleges such as ours have to industry and community, and is coming to recognize the opportunity to leverage that by fast-forwarding innovation.”