Today's Top Ten

August 15, 2022

URegina to develop microgrid system that will “open a range of possibilities” for exploring renewable energy

The University of Regina has received over $900K funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada to develop the space and infrastructure for a microgrid. URegina states that the microgrid – a self-sustaining electrical grid that brings together generation, consumption, storage, and control – would act as a living lab for research and teaching. “It will open a range of possibilities for students and researchers interested in the renewable energy sector,” said URegina Associate Professor Dr Irfan Al-Anbagi. Al-Anbagi further noted that the university is well positioned to lead innovation and training efforts for achieving net-zero emissions in regions that rely primarily on coal or have difficulty with transitioning to low carbon solutions. URegina (SK)

Loyalist launches new brand identity that celebrates size, community

Loyalist College has launched a brand identity that celebrates the institution’s small size and ties with community. The new look features a bold, playful palette and a design that emphasizes expanding perspectives. The brand uses an open, direct voice that highlights the benefits of becoming part of the tight-knit Loyalist community. “Our small size and close community ties allow us to provide one-on-one attention to students while remaining flexible and innovative,” said Loyalist Senior Vice President, External Relations and Business Development Jeremy Laurin. “We think differently at Loyalist, and our vibrant new brand highlights that difference.” Loyalist | Intelligencer (ON)

UBC team deploys pollution-sniffing mobile lab

A research team at the University of British Columbia has deployed an air pollution lab on wheels. The Portable Laboratory for Understanding Human-Made Emissions (PLUME) is a “pollution-sniffing” mobile lab that can measure concentrations of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone, black carbon, and ultra-fine particles that affect air quality. The team is focused on understanding air quality and its implications for environmental injustice in the Vancouver region and is already collecting information about unpleasant smells in Metro Vancouver. “Our most socially and materially deprived communities are frequently exposed to disproportionate levels of air pollution and it’s important to understand their experience of air quality,” explained UBC Professor Dr Naomi Zimmerman, who developed PLUME. “If we can start publishing maps of link to air quality and odour that would be really exciting.” UBC has also shared news about a recycling project led by doctoral student Melody Salehzadeh, whose initiative has diverted nearly 50,000 single-use nitrile and latex gloves from the landfill. UBC (1) | UBC (2) (BC)

McMaster, Northern launch new programs to support skills development

Two institutions in Ontario recently announced new programs. McMaster University Continuing Education has announced that it is launching micro-credentials for the Fall term. The 14 micro-credential programs will address workplace gaps across sectors such as business, health, and technology; and will include a program on Microsoft Excel designed with Academica’s Devant team and McGraw-Hill. Northern College has announced the launch of a new Mechanical Operator: Biomass Heating Systems program in partnership with James Bay Aski Ishkotaykan Bio Utility and Commercial Bioenergy Inc. The program will cover the fundamentals of biomass heating technologies, and students will be able to practice their skills using a new boiler system on campus. The program will deliver micro-credentials in topics such as Trade Readiness, Biomass Fuel Manufacturing, and Biomass Operation and Management. McMaster (1) | McMaster (2) | Northern | Timmins Today (ON)

USainte-Anne receives funding to migrate to new French-language information system

The Government of Canada has announced that it is providing $1.2M to Université Sainte-Anne over two years so that the university can modernize its student information system. Funding will support migration to a new, French information system that will be used to manage student records and optimize communication between admissions and prospective students. USainte-Anne has also received over $104K from the Province of Nova Scotia to support the project. “This is a major one-time project that is crucial to the functioning of our institution and will multiply our efforts to apply digital technology in the management of our institution,” said USainte-Anne President Allister Surette. Radio-Canada (FR) | Canada (NS)

NWT launches Virtual Learning Strategist online learning platform for apprentices

The Government of the Northwest Territories has launched the Virtual Learning Strategist (VLS) online learning platform to support apprentices facing barriers to completing their program. The pilot program will offer support to students who face challenges with formal learning, technical training, and exam preparation. A Learning Strategist will work with students to identify barriers such as skill gaps, learning disabilities, exam anxiety, or other individual factors preventing them from completing their program. Apprentices will be given an informal assessment and customized learning plan that will guide them towards other supports. “The program will give NWT apprentices a better chance at successfully completing their apprenticeship and will help to increase the number of competent and qualified trades professionals in the NWT,” said NWT Minister of Education, Culture and Employment RJ Simpson. NWT (NWT)

Postsecondary institutions create pollinator, community gardens, share plans for future initiatives

Several postsecondary institutions in Ontario and Alberta have shared news of the pollinator and community gardens they have built on campus and their plans to add to the gardens. Humber College will be planting a third pollinator garden that will include a variety of plants, including coneflowers and Pearly Everlasting. Fleming College’s garden plot, which was built on a vacant lot owned by Crayola Canada, is producing a bounty that is being donated to 20 agencies and 10 foodbanks. A pollinator garden at Western University’s environmental sciences field station was created last fall and is now in full bloom. The quarter-acre garden has served as a learning experience in addition to attracting and supporting a variety of pollinators. At the University of Alberta, a campus community garden run by the student union is growing after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic. The Gateway reports that there are plans to provide the Campus Food Bank with food through a future solar greenhouse created in partnership with the Renewable Energy Design club. Humber | PTBO Canada (Fleming) | Western | The Gateway (UAlberta) (National)

Olds, AFSC sign MOU to support training, applied research activities

Olds College has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) that will provide support for applied research activities at the college’s Smart Farm. AFSC will share knowledge on topics including data collection, risk management and mitigation, and technology integration with Olds students, while Olds researchers will train AFSC staff on topics including crop identification and loss. The agreement also includes projects and collaborations that include Olds researchers taking high-definition of fields after hailstorms for ASFC adjusters, conducting research on soil moisture measurements to support AFSC’s Moisture Deficiency Insurance program, and performing a historical data correlation analysis with AFSC. Olds and AFSC will also collaborate to provide training and education to producers. Olds | RD News Now | Red Deer Advocate (AB)

UPEI, Holland College announce updates on masking, vaccination on campus

Two of Prince Edward Island’s postsecondary institutions have announced updates on their masking and vaccination expectations. The University of Prince Edward Island has announced that it will require masking again for the Fall semester, with the mandate taking effect on August 25th. UPEI Interim President Greg Keefe said that the decision was made because of the changing circumstances as more students come back to campus. “There’s going to be many more people on campus which means more contacts on campus and there certainly is an expectation of a fall wave in Canada,” said Keefe. At Holland College, masks and vaccination will not be required, but will be encouraged. The college stated that it will review whether mandatory masking needs to be put in place before the beginning of the semester. CBC (UPEI) | Radio-Canada (FR) | CBC (Holland College) (PEI)

NWP, Munster Technological University partner to increase student opportunities

Northwestern Polytechnic has partnered with Munster Technological University in Ireland on a collaborative venture that will increase opportunities for students. The partnership aims to increase the program pathways and exchange opportunities available to students, as well as advancing entrepreneurial priorities shared by both institutions. “This is another example of NWP’s commitment to growing our global network and providing quality academic experiences to our students,” said NWP President Justin Kohlman. NWP (AB)