Niagara College strikes gold with top award for Applied Research and Innovation from World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics

A global Awards of Excellence ceremony ‘Down Under’ catapulted Niagara College straight to the top when it comes to applied research and innovation.

On October 9, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) announced Niagara College as the winner of its 2018 Gold Award of Excellence in Applied Research and Innovation. The Awards of Excellence were presented at the WFCP 2018 World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. 

It was the third Awards of Excellence event for the WFCP, recognizing leaders in the field of professional and technical education and training. Recipients were recognized in seven categories – with a gold, silver or bronze awarded in each category – based on the international value of the award-winning institutions, individuals, and programs, as well as their achievements, benefits to students, and innovation.

“This award is a tremendous honour for our division, as it validates Niagara College’s place as a leader in applied research,” said NC’s associate vice-president, Research & Innovation, Marc Nantel, PhD, who travelled to Australia to attend the award ceremony. “We are proud of the strides we’ve made providing solutions for key industry sectors, while training today’s students to become tomorrow’s innovative workforce. And we are encouraged to continue evolving the best practices that have placed us on this world stage.”

President Dan Patterson, PhD, applauded news of the award and congratulated his Research & Innovation division, which operates at the College’s Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses.

“Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division is second to none, thanks to the efforts of our R&I faculty, staff and students who were instrumental to winning this award. While it offers unparalleled learning experiences for our students and graduates, it continues to play a major role in the economic development of our community,” said Patterson. “Focusing on three major sectors – agriculture and environmental technologies, advanced manufacturing, and food and beverage innovation – our high-performance R&I division provides innovative solutions to help small- and medium-sized businesses leap forward in the marketplace.”

As an award recipient, Niagara College is featured in the second volume of the World’s Best Practice Guide in Professional and Technical Education and Training. The Guide highlights how NC provides real-world solutions for business, key industry sectors and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities at its three innovation centres, including the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC), the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWI IC), and the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC).

News about the award was well received among the College’s industry partners.

“We knew from working with the Niagara College professors and the students that were involved in our various projects that we were working with a world-class institution.” said Bob Benner, CEO of Niagara Falls-based Hamill Agricultural Processing Solutions. “The College winning an International gold medal for research and innovation just confirms what we thought all along. Well done to everyone involved.”

“I have had the honour of working with Niagara’s College’s Research & Innovation division on a few occasions as an industry partner. It comes as no surprise that the department has won international recognition,” said Patti Moore, director of operations, Iron Will Raw Inc. in St. Catharines. “Through partnership programs with the Research & Innovation division, Iron Will Raw Inc. has excelled as an industry leader and we look forward to continued collaboration with the College. Congratulations on this prestigious award.”

The WFCP Gold Award of Excellence follows several accolades for NC’s Research & Innovation division this year. In April, Niagara College won a silver award for Applied Research and Innovative Excellence from Colleges and Institutes Canada, and NC’s R&I Division earned the Canadian Top 50 Research Colleges standing of No. 7 in 2017 and 2016.

The WFCP received 83 nominations for its 2018 Awards program, which were evaluated by an international Awards Committee including Christine Robertson (Australia), Dr. Wilson Conciani (Brazil), Dr. Larry Rosia (Canada), and Yang Li (China).

The WFCP is a member-based international network of colleges, polytechnics, university colleges, institutions and individuals of professional and technical education and training. The Federation provides leadership in delivering workforce education for the global economy. View the media release here.

Visit NC’s Research & Innovation Division’s website here.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information

Photo: Marc Nantel, PhD (associate VP, Research & Innovation at Niagara College) receives the Gold Award of Excellence in Applied Research and Innovation from Zong Wa (WFCP deputy chair, Asia) at the WFCP 2018 World Congress in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 9.