College awarded $5.9 million in funding to bolster research in heavy vehicles and culinary innovation

Ray Hoemsen, Guy Levesque, Bettina Hamelin, MaryAnn Mihychuk, Paul Vogt, Karen McDonald, Mark Hoddenbagh

Red River College has received the largest influx of research funding since its applied research enterprise was first founded in 2004. The new $5.9-million investment will allow the College to boost innovation capacity in Manitoba’s vehicle technology and food development sectors.

“This is a red-letter day for the College, our partners, and for Manitoba’s innovation outlook in general,” says Paul Vogt, president and CEO of Red River College. “These national awards acknowledge not only industry needs, but the ability of the College to deliver innovation services, and Manitoba as a place where leading-edge products are developed.”

The Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (on behalf of the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science) announced today that RRC will receive $3.6 million for advanced and sustainable vehicle technology research and $2.3 million for culinary innovation.

“These new funds will be transformational for our research programs in the areas of vehicle technology and culinary innovation,” says Vogt. “Manitoba is already a major player in the world’s heavy vehicle sector, while we are undergoing a bit of a renaissance in terms of commercializing new food products. In both cases, these funds will help us work with producers to develop and test innovations.”

The awards have already sparked the establishment of a new Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) that will house MotiveLab, a 3,000-square foot research facility focused on supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle sector. MotiveLab will feature a 1,000 HP engine dynamometer test cell and a drive-in climatic chamber (large enough to fit a bus, truck or farm vehicle) with an integrated 1,000 HP chassis dynamometer.

"MotiveLab will be a development and test facility that local industry‎ partners have been asking for to support their R&D needs,” says Ray Hoemsen, executive director, Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC. “It will allow them to test performance in extreme climates (especially cold), the use of alternative fuels, emissions reductions, the use of new materials and components, and more – all right here in Manitoba. It will mean reduced time for product development and further incentive to innovate.”

On the culinary innovation side, the College has recently emerged as a key player in the province – having already helped Manitoba companies and food producers to create new products, and to develop innovative uses for locally grown food in creating healthier menu items.

“Our advanced culinary research program will complement existing resources in the province to enhance research opportunities for the entire food industry, from producers through to restaurants and cafeterias,” says Karen McDonald, chair of RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. “The skills and experiences gained by our students will impact the sector’s ability to innovate for years to come.”

The College’s culinary research program was launched in 2014 with the construction of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Since then, RRC has engaged in projects with Granny’s Poultry, the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association, Best Cooking Pulses, and a handful of small and startup businesses.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is granting two awards of $2.3-million from their College and Community Innovation – Innovation Enhancement grant program, while the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is providing $1 million from their College Industry Innovation Fund program, plus an additional $300,000 from their Innovation Operating Fund.

VTEC and MotiveLab will be based in the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC) at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus.

Shown above (left to right): Ray Hoemsen, executive director, Research Partnerships & Innovation, RRC; Guy Levesque, vice-president, Programs and Performance, CFI; Bettina Hamelin, vice-president, Research Partnerships, NSERC; MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour; Paul Vogt, president and CEO, RRC; Karen McDonald, chair, School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, RRC; Mark Hoddenbagh, vice-president, Strategic Development, RRC.