Conestoga news

October 10, 2022 2:58 PM

Research symposium explores digital transformation

On September 20, Conestoga's Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Recycling Technologies (SMART) Centre hosted its 2022 Research Symposium at Tapestry Hall in Cambridge.

The 2022 Research Symposium included an industry-focused panel, moderated by Stephen Thomson, director, Centre for Supply Chain Innovation at Conestoga, which explored supply chain visibility and resiliency.

The event theme was “Improving Manufacturing and Supply Chain Resiliency Through Digital Transformation” and brought together industry leaders from the manufacturing and supply chain sectors to celebrate industry-academic collaborations and applied research in smart manufacturing.

“Applied Research is a key area for Conestoga growth,” said Barbara Kelly, vice-president, Research, and senior vice-president, Academic/Student Affairs and Human Resources. “The 2022 symposium is focused on our partnerships - both existing and new - with industries interested in working with the SMART Centre in the field of digital transformation.”

Kelly added that more than 200 Conestoga professors were engaged in $6 million in funded research last year, with the college’s applied research projects involving more than 80 industry partners.

“Since our first symposium in 2020, collaborations with industry and opportunities for students have grown tremendously. Almost 200 student researcher contracts were issued in the past two years, most of them co-op,” said Ignac Kolenko, executive director of the SMART Centre. “Our event this year provides an ideal platform for new business development and opportunities to celebrate the achievements of our students, faculty and SMART Centre staff in solving industry challenges.”

During the symposium, keynote speaker Craig Haney, director of Business Development with ApplyBoard, spoke about the importance of digital transformation for industry. An industry-focused panel followed, moderated by Stephen Thomson, director, Centre for Supply Chain Innovation at Conestoga, which explored supply chain visibility and resiliency.

Panel members included Conestoga graduates Darren Stewart, general manager, Karmax Heavy Stamping - Magna International; Brian Ward, vice president, Operations at Nicoya; and Marisa Cornwall, contract manager with Logikor Inc. Also joining the panel was Hugo Fuentes, co-founder and chief executive officer, The Owl Solutions.

Attendees also heard presentations from several Conestoga researchers including professors So-Ra Chung and Mark Buchner, and Russ Foubert, chair, School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology.

“A sincere thank you to you - our funders, our ecosystem partners and all of our colleagues at all levels of government - for your ongoing support,” said Dr. Michelle Chrétien, associate vice-president, Research and Innovation. “We appreciate the investment of your time, your energy and your dollars and we continue to look forward to having an impact on the economic and social prosperity of the communities we serve through our partnership with you, through the work of our faculty and through the curiousity and hard work of our students.”

Following the morning session, guests were invited to take a guided tour of Conestoga’s SMART Centre located at 96 Grand Avenue South in Cambridge.

The SMART Centre was established in 2020 to support applied research, consulting and training in the areas of advanced manufacturing, advanced recycling technologies and cybersecurity. With more than 13,000 square feet of space containing state-of-the-art equipment, the SMART Centre utilizes faculty and students to connect industry with the expertise necessary to address manufacturing, recycling and cybersecurity-related issues. 

Conestoga is ranked among Canada’s top 20 research colleges and works in collaboration with industry, community and government partners to deliver innovative solutions to address real-world challenges. The college’s centres of excellence and innovation focus on applied research in a variety of areas including advanced recycling technologies, cybersecurity, seniors care, smart manufacturing and digital innovation, supply chain excellence, workforce safety, wellness and performance, and food innovation.