Applied research projects offer students the opportunity to do something above and beyond their normal academic activities. They can explore new ideas and gain insight into corporate strategies: aspects of learning that take them outside the constraints of traditional educational models.
Greg Robertson, Director of Applied Research and Innovation, believes applied research at Conestoga provides exceptional experiences for students. "It is the intersection of a very practical industry need and the applied knowledge students experience in their program. Each project is unique and tailored to the needs of the company and the student's abilities."
One such project was with Katan Kitchens, brainchild of green entrepreneur, Jamie Draves. Katan Kitchens was launched in 2009 as a specialty food company addressing the needs of those with intolerances or restricted diets. Jamie was searching for materials to be used for packaging his food products. Not simply bio-degradable packaging, however. He was looking for a chemical-free, bio-compostable option for his line.
"The student involved had the opportunity to dive into research on many levels, searching through hundreds of materials to find a suitable one," explains Greg. "It's a clear example of research with a very practical outcome."
The project itself was one of sixteen that were funded through the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario's Applied Research and Commercialization (FedDev Ontario ARC) initiative in 2011-2012. "Without the relationship with Applied Research and Innovation at Conestoga and the FedDev funding, Jamie could not have moved forward with the research to develop this product."