Cambrian College in Sudbury showcased its capabilities, expertise and projects at its inaugural Applied Research Day on Sept. 30.
Cambrian's applied research department, otherwise known as Cambrian Innovates, was established in 2009. Their mission is to connect industry partners with the facilities, equipment and funding to commercialize innovative ideas and solutions.
The department specializes in mining, welding and fabrication, business services, chemical engineering, environmental science, and civil engineering.
The partnerships created are beneficial for everyone involved. Industry partners are connected to the expertise and the resources they need to develop new ideas. Faculty keep their skills and knowledge relevant to the industry.
Most importantly, students are provided the opportunity to get paid work experience and put their theoretical knowledge to the test.
Jessica Briglio is one of the students that jumped on the opportunity to participate in the program.
A recent Laurentian University graduate with a degree in environmental studies, Briglio is enrolled in the college's environmental monitoring and impact assessment graduate program.
Through applied research, Briglio conducted a mine tailings review to scan available literature to identify projects and best practices in all phases of tailings management.
Students were also involved in shotcrete testing with CPD Construction, creating campus wayfinding software with MineIQ, and working on technology to monitor vehicle performance and safety with Mintell Inc.
“In any applied research project at Cambrian, the focus is always on the students,” said Mike Commito, director of applied research and innovation.
“The paid, work-integrated opportunity for them is invaluable.”
In a roundtable discussion, faculty members said many students entering the applied research program don't realize what they can do until they get there. Cambrian Innovates gives them space to develop real-world experience and hone their technical skills.
This real-world experience, according to keynote speaker Trang Tran-Valade, president of SHYFTinc, is what leads to innovation.
“Over time, education turns into experience. Experience turns into knowledge, and knowledge turns into innovation. Innovation is what happens the moment when asking why turns into asking, why not?”