Sheridan Undergraduate Research Ranks First in Canada for Number of Research Projects Completed
Research Infosource Inc. has released its annual ranking of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges. The study looks at key indicators including research income (funding from external sources); number of partnerships; and number of completed projects.
Sheridan was ranked first in the country for its total completed projects (225), second for growth in number of projects, and third for number of partners (122), for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The projects at Sheridan that were captured in the ranking include a number of federally- and/or provincially-funded initiatives, as well as capstone projects completed by senior students across the College as part of the curriculum.
“These projects have a strong impact on Sheridan’s ability to engage students and faculty,” notes Dr. Darren Lawless, Dean of Undergraduate Research at Sheridan. “They provide unparalleled opportunities for hands-on learning, problem-solving and real-world experience that is part of our tradition as an applied learning institution. Beyond turning ideas into practical innovations, every project has a direct link to curriculum to ensure that the work we complete links back to classroom learning.”
Sheridan is now building on its strong track record in funded research, which has earned it an enviable reputation for excellence among granting agencies and industry partners, to broaden its conception of research to include scholarship and creative activities.
“Unlike traditional universities that focus primarily on discovery-based research or colleges that typically concentrate on applied research projects, Sheridan encourages the five dimensions of discovery, integration, applied research, scholarship of teaching and learning, and creative activities,” notes Dr. Mary Preece, Provost and Vice President Academic at Sheridan. “By supporting the full continuum of knowledge creation and scholarly output, we more accurately reflect the strengths and talents of our professoriate and our students, and Sheridan’s deliberate approach to enabling creativity and innovation to flourish.”
“The wide range of research projects captured in this year’s ranking truly highlights our integrated approach to Scholarship, Research and Creative Activities,” adds Lawless.
“Whether it’s developing a new computer program or tool, working with a company to create a new piece of furniture or music, or improving a business process for a client, our projects are rooted in teamwork, interdisciplinary thinking and creative problem solving.”
Many of the projects highlighted this year were undertaken at four Centres of Expertise at Sheridan: the Centre for Elder Research, Screen Industries and Research Training Centre (SIRT), Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT), and the Centre for Mobile Innovation (CMI).
The Centre for Elder Research, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013, conducts applied research aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults. The Centre collaborates with industry partners, students and faculty, and older adults in our communities on a range of research projects, networking events and symposiums.
SIRT supports Ontario’s film, television and interactive media cluster with research and training related to digital workflow technologies and processes including virtual production/performance capture, stereoscopic 3D and high frame rate cinema. SIRT was designated a Technology Access Centre in the spring of 2013 through funding support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
CAMDT exemplifies Sheridan’s growing role as a hub connecting industry with applied research, acting as a link between leading corporations that provide technology and expertise to the college, and local SMEs that explore how to integrate these new tools into their businesses with the help of Sheridan faculty and students.
CMI is Sheridan’s most recent research centre, a pilot initiative focused on addressing challenges related to mobile technology. The focus of the work is related to the Internet of Things and context-aware mobile applications. A ground swell of support from industry is emerging, highlighting the importance of this field to small- and medium-sized businesses.
As Sheridan progresses on its journey to become Sheridan University, scholarship, research, and creative activities will play an increasingly important role, adds Dr. Preece. “Currently, 20% of Sheridan’s full time faculty members engage in these activities. Our goal is to build on their passion for teaching, learning and discovery by providing seed funding for new initiatives, which in turn will create even more opportunities for our students to be involved in creative thinking and problem-solving throughout their studies at Sheridan.”
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