School isn’t even back in session, but Red Deer College is abuzz over a recent accolade.
The Central Alberta college was named one of the 25 most innovative organizations in the province by Alberta Venture magazine in the August issue, the only post-secondary institution in the province to make the list.
Red Deer College President Joel Ward said they were surprised to get the call from the magazine.
The magazine lauded the college’s centre for innovation in manufacturing, which was built to train technical specialists in the design and development of prototypes, products and processes.
“It has gotten the kind of attention it deserves based on the work that has been done,” said Ward.
“Just this past year we’ve done 500 engagements with industry, post-secondary partners and small business.
“I think some of our clients must have called the magazine to talk about what we’re doing.”
The piece on RDC mentions the work the college is doing with Red Deer’s Better Made Wheelchairs to develop on innovative braking system for its chairs.
“The unique aspect of our centre for innovation is the combination between the creative and the technical,” said Ward.
“I think we were very unique and intentional in putting those two things together. We asked ourselves how do we connect ideas, people, processes and methods and then what kind of facility and talent would we need to ensure that.”
The centre for innovation is aimed at helping develop a workforce that looks to the future.
Ward pointed to two products the college helped work on, which led to big financial outcomes. One was the trauma clamp, which was designed by a Canadian doctor, who was in Afghanistan, in the centre.
“We assisted in multiple prototypes of that device through 3D modelling and AutoCAD and this Edmonton based company won a world top innovation of 2012 award and the Alberta science and technology for outstanding science and technology startup,” said Ward.
“Our participation was small, but it was critical for their success.
We were able to create multiple iterations for them through 3D modelling and printing, until the final product came out.
“We got the assist, but they got the goal.”
The other was the canine stifle joint, an implant for a dogs knee.
They worked with rapid proto-typing and the implant has since been licensed.
“We feel like we are an important part of the process to enable companies to do these things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do,” said Ward.
“The millions of dollars of equipment they have access to, they could never buy on their own. It’s taking a public institution and publicly funded institutions and making it available to small and medium enterprise and other folks who lack capacity, but have great ideas.”