Prairie Post (West Edition)

Internal grants expand Lethbridge College’s research capacity


Lethbridge College’s skilled faculty and staff members are putting their expertise to work to help industry find solutions to realworld issues. The innovative projects will be supported by the 2021-22 internal research grants awarded by the college’s Centre for Applied Research, Entreprene­urship and Innovation (CARIE).

Lethbridge College employees can apply for two separate internal research grants. Centre for Applied Research Internal Fund (CARIF) grants develop applied research capacity among faculty and staff at Lethbridge College by funding short-term projects and activities that align with Centre and College strategic goals and priorities. It is expected that projects will be a starting point toward a long-term vision and plan for applied research, including funding from external sources. Meanwhile, the federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) offers SSHRC Institutio­nal Grants (SIG) that fund small-scale research and research-related activities by faculty and students in the social sciences and humanities.

CARIE will support six CARIF grants and three SIG grants to nine different researcher­s in 2021-22.

“Often times, our college’s high-profile applied research activities are in the spotlight, but these grants showcase the wide variety of research being undertaken at Lethbridge College,” says Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Associate Vice President – Applied Research, Innovation and Entreprene­urship. “The CARIF and SIG grants can act as an introducti­on to research for faculty and staff members who want to begin the process of building their research abilities. They are also are an opportunit­y for our researcher­s to align their skills and passions in ways that can benefit our industry partners.”

The six CARIF-funded projects include:

• The Green Cosmetic Preservati­ves – Dr. Sophie Kernéis. The Plant Antibiotic Program at Lethbridge College has unique plant extracts that can help the cosmetic industry as it looks for green solutions to replace the chemical antimicrob­ial preservati­ves commonly used in their products.

• Exploring the Efficacy of Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Developmen­t of Movement Skill Proficienc­y in Children – Dr. Simon Schaerz. This project seeks to explore the efficacy of leveraging augmented and virtual reality technologi­es to assess and develop movement skill proficienc­y in children with the ultimate goal of promoting childhood physical activity engagement.

• Quantifyin­g Justice: Metrics and Ethics in Canadian Criminal Justice – Dr. Gary Barron. This project examines the production and effects of statistics and performanc­e metrics in the justice system, asking what are the consequenc­es for the public good, individual agency, shaping of criminal justice and the organizati­on of society?

• Leveraging Biometrics to Enhance Learning in Immersive Environmen­ts – Dave Maze and George Gallant. The main aim of this new research project is to develop an intelligen­t training system that is able to analyze the learner’s behaviour during confrontat­ions with aggressive individual­s and other crisis situations, and to provide appropriat­e feedback, enabling learners to improve their performanc­e.

• Games meet Films: Utilizatio­n of Virtual Production for Independen­t Filmmakers – George Gallant and Allyson Cikor. This project aims to discover if new virtual production workflows in the film industry are a viable alternativ­e for small budget production­s by producing a short film, both with the traditiona­l and virtual production process, and then compare the cost and creative opportunit­ies they both present.

• Urban Wildlife Coexistenc­e – Josh Hill. This project will explore the multi-city dimension of previous research around human perception­s of wildlife interactio­ns as well as coordinate ecosystem management and conservati­on efforts in our national parks.

Two different types of SIG grants are available to researcher­s. SSHRC Exchange Grants encourage applicants to organize small-scale knowledge mobilizati­on activities, such as workshops and seminars, in order to encourage collaborat­ion and the disseminat­ion of research results. SSHRC Explore Grants exist to seed new social science or humanities projects. This year’s SIGfunded projects include:

• Find Your Voice: Author Visits and Conference Activity at Lethbridge College (SSHRC Exchange Grant) – Dr. Amy Hodgson-Bright. This project provides support to student writers by inviting authors to speak virtually to students and to begin planning for a virtual conference to be held at Lethbridge College in 2023.

• Creating Opportunit­ies for Lethbridge College Students’ Writing and Publicatio­n: Launching a Student-Run Literary Magazine (SSHRC Explore Grant) – Dr. Amy Hodgson-Bright. A project postponed from 2020, its purpose is to create a studentrun campus literary magazine to showcase students’ creative writing work and provide those writers with opportunit­ies to collaborat­e on the writing, editing, and publicatio­n of a magazine.

• Justice by Numbers: The Politics of Quantifica­tion and Statistics in the Canadian Justice System (SSHRC Explore Grant) – Dr. Gary Barron. Quantitati­ve indicators are typically regarded as a way to solve the imperative of governing from a distance and ensuring accountabi­lity and transparen­cy but may also replace democratic deliberati­on on matters of collective concern. This topic is important to understand how we live as citizens of a democracy under rule of law. “Lethbridge College is one of just a handful of colleges with SSHRC institutio­nal grants, allowing us to develop research capacity in the social sciences and humanities,” says Dave McMurray, manager of Applied Research. “We are also proud that in addition to faculty, we provide opportunit­ies for staff to engage in research through CARIF. As a result, we have seen demand for these grants grow and have been able to produce research outcomes that have a positive, meaningful effect on society and industry.”

CARIE has developed new applicatio­n processes for CARIF and SSHRC grants that will help streamline the process and align research with the academic goals of the college. Interested researcher­s should submit a Letter of Intent by Jan. 10, 2022, with applicatio­ns due by Feb. 23, 2022.

Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entreprene­urship (CARIE) is a catalyst for economic growth, sustainabi­lity and social developmen­t in the region. It brings together researcher­s, community organizati­ons and students to collaborat­e on projects that use new or existing knowledge to solve real-world challenges with immediate practical applicatio­ns. Research Infosource ranked Lethbridge College has one of Canada’s fastest-growing research colleges while earning its highest ever placement in 2020’s annual ranking of Canada’s top 50 research colleges. The college placed 26th on the top 50 list released by Research Infosource and ranked third in research income growth.

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