Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff                                Steve Lane, associate vice-president academic at Red Deer College, and Naveen Anand, director of applied research and innovation, say RDC’s engineering, trades and technology department is increasingly busy with research for industry and business.

Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff Steve Lane, associate vice-president academic at Red Deer College, and Naveen Anand, director of applied research and innovation, say RDC’s engineering, trades and technology department is increasingly busy with research for industry and business.

Olds and Red Deer colleges among Canada’s top 50 research colleges

Olds climbs the ranks and Red Deer tumbles

Olds College rose and Red Deer College fell in the ranking of Canada’s top 50 research colleges.

Olds College jumped to 17th place in 2015 from 21st in 2014. Red Deer College dropped to 35th from 27th in Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges 2016, produced by RE$EARCH Infosource Inc.

Olds College, which specializes in agriculture, horticulture, land and environmental management, was ranked 27th in 2013.

Toby Williams, director of Olds College Centre for Innovation, said her college has a lot of experience doing applied research in collaboration with industry.

“I think the more you do, the better you get at it,” Williams said on Monday.

“We’re a small college. We can’t do things without industry being involved.”

The college’s unique agricultural focus may have also helped it advance on the research path, she said.

“We’re going to continue to be focused on agriculture. There’s a need for innovation and problem solving and creativity in agriculture and Olds College wants to be there. It’s a really nice fit with our mandate,” Williams said.

Olds College also does apparel research at its Apparel Innovation Centre in Calgary.

The national ranking showed the number of research partnerships. Among medium-sized colleges, Red Deer College ranked sixth with 43 partnerships and Olds College was 10th with 33 partnerships.

Naveen Anand, director of applied research and innovation at Red Deer College, said rankings are based on many factors that vary between institutions and RDC’s drop is not a concern.

“The fact we’re in the top 50 is a very big credit to this region and Alberta itself. I feel that is something that speaks volumes,” Anand said.

“We have our own niche and we are the only game in the Central Alberta area which is in the engineering and trades and technology area. Our services are very much in demand.”

He said RDC has been affected by the collapse of the oil and gas sector, and more small and medium enterprises were looking for help to diversify in 2016.

“We’re already seeing an uptick in the desire for our services. Given what we see in the environment, we don’t think this trend will decrease. This trend will increase,” Anand said.

Steve Lane, RDC associate vice-president academic, said there is a breadth of programming at RDC. Not all of it lends itself to connections with industry or business which can impact the research ranking.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com