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October 30, 2019 1:43 PM

Conestoga research centres showcase impact

On October 23, an information session was held at the Doon campus to help faculty members learn more about the college’s centres of innovation and their areas of research, current projects, and how they interact with and impact Conestoga programs and the community.  

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Rose Mastnak, director, Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective, was one of three presenters showcasing the college’s centres of innovation.

The session featured presentations from three centre directors hoping to engage and collaborate with more faculty members and students to build capacity for applied research projects: Amin Yazdani from the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance (CISWP), Rose Mastnak of the Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective (CEC), and Brian Watson from the Magna Centre for Supply Chain Excellence.

Located within Conestoga’s School of Business, CISWP works to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development. Research at the centre tackles issues that include mental health and wellness strategies, workplace accommodations and disability prevention.

Yazdani spoke to the group about the critical need of their work using an example from a recent applied research project that addressed the need for ambulance design standards to help prevent injuries to paramedics.

“Let’s say you call 911 for an emergency and it takes paramedics ten minutes to arrive,” said Yazdani. “The next time you call, it might take longer if two paramedics are injured. That ten second difference could save lives.”

Second to present, Mastnak explained how the CEC advances the independence of students and graduates to realize the full potential of their entrepreneurial possibilities through a variety of services that include venture labs, experiential education co-ops, industry-led coach and mentorship support, and interactive workshops.

“We empower and inspire students to participate in the innovation economy,” said Mastnak. Participants in programs like the collective’s venture labs receive one-on-one support with a coach, as well as additional mentors and advisors as they work through the program. “We start with ideation and take them through to market validation or early commercialization,” said Mastnak. “The level of contact is intense, and that’s what makes us different.”

Coaches, mentors and advisors at the collective are pulled from Conestoga faculty members, community leaders and local entrepreneurs. Mastnak encouraged the group to get involved with CEC by volunteering as a mentor, attending workshops or directing students with big ideas to reach out.

Finishing the series of presentations, Watson discussed Canada’s productivity challenge and the need for a transformation in thinking and behaviour and the importance of integrative supply chain systems to help businesses improve value and productivity.

The Magna Centre for Supply Chain Excellence works in collaboration with government, business and industry partners to address Canada’s critical shortage of skilled supply chain specialists, develop innovative and practical solutions for real-world challenges, and leverage innovation and resources across a global network of partners and associated groups.  

The college’s six centres of innovation bring together faculty expertise, student researchers and state-of-the-art technology to support specialized research in sectors of key economic growth. Conestoga is ranked among Canada’s top 25 research colleges, supporting the needs of industry and community partners while providing students with opportunities to build real-world skills. In 2018, more than 3,600 students and close to 270 faculty and staff at Conestoga were engaged in applied research projects. 

To learn more about applied research at Conestoga or to discuss project ideas, contact the Conestoga Applied Research and Innovation office. 

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