News Archives: Complete Tri-council Approval Now in Place for Applied Research at GPRC
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
The newly-achieved eligibility of GPRC to apply for research funds from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) completes full tri-council approval and opens the door for a broad range of applied academic research at GPRC. "Official documents have been signed, policies put in place, and processes reviewed; GPRC has achieved the necessary approvals and validations from all three national research funding bodies which may be approached for support of applied research projects at GPRC," explains Susan Bansgrove, Vice-President Academics and Research. "We have been working toward this status for many years. This is a very important moment in the history of our College."
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are the three councils which fund academic research. NSERC approval was granted to GPRC in 2007, and several notable projects have been undertaken in the past five years. All three councils have rigorously examined faculty credentials, processes, policies and facilities at GPRC, and approval is now complete. The Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI) at GPRC previously achieved official status with the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI.)
The CRI has been working steadily toward this goal for the past five years, and for the unit's director Dr. Bruce Rutley, the achievement means opportunity. "The final details will all be complete by the end of this semester," Rutley says, "and we look forward to facilitating the applied research projects which we know have been waiting for this opportunity. We can move in a way we have never been able to move before."
While numerous applied research projects have been undertaken by GPRC faculty in past decades, the tri-council approval opens the door for research funding in a broader range of disciplines. Building on the strength of this status, GPRC will develop applied research programs at GPRC that are consistent with current capacity, current and emerging programs. Students and faculty will have greater opportunity for engagement in applied research, and increased potential to deliver social and economic benefits to the region and beyond.
The CRI is the facilitating unit for applied research at GPRC; such a unit is essential in order to receive research monies at a college. At a university those funds go to an individual; at a college, those funds must go to a designated research office. GPRC would not be eligible for funding from sources such as NSERC, SSHRC or CHIR without the services of the CRI.
Applied research and scholarly activity is an obligation of comprehensive community institutions such as GPRC, as per the Roles and Mandate Policy Framework of Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education; innovation is a clearly stated priority of our Provincial government.
The eligibility for applied research allows the College to attract PhD-prepared faculty, and provides enhanced opportunity for current faculty to be actively researching during tenure. Research projects over recent years have engaged faculty in Arts, Science and Nursing. Current projects include disciplines such as forestry and social work. "The GPRC Centre for Research & Innovation is noted for its contributions to our community and our region," says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO. "The activities of the CRI, such as the National Bee Diagnostic Centre or the Peace Country Unmanned Vehicle Systems partnership have catapulted GPRC and the Peace region onto the national stage, strengthening the profile of our College."
To date, the CRI has touched approximately 40 communities in northwestern Alberta, working with over 250 clients, and reaching over 1750 participants through workshop and related activities. The regular services of the intellectual property lawyer and the manager of innovation services are among the most utilized services of the CRI. The recently achieved approvals are expected to prompt growth in applied research projects within the coming year.
"At GPRC we are exceptionally proud of the Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI) and reliant upon the services it provides in support of applied research for our students, faculty and greater community," Gnatiuk says.