Current grant-funded research projects

Through innovation and collaboration, our researchers, faculty members, external partners and students are improving quality of life and strengthening our community, our province and our world. Explore some of our current research projects below (not all projects are listed). 

 

Internal funding

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Quantifying Justice: Metrics and Ethics in Canadian Criminal Justice

My research examines the production and effects of statistics and performance metrics. Quantitative indicators are typically regarded as a way to solve the imperative of governing from a distance and ensuring accountability and transparency, but may also replace democratic deliberation on matters of collective concern. I ask, what are the consequences for the public good, individual agency, shaping of criminal justice and the organization of society? This topic is important to understand how we live as citizens of a democracy under rule of law. It has implications for policy, professional practice, organizational ethics, and for governing the Canadian justice system.

Leveraging Bio-metrics to Enhance Learning in Immersive Environments

Over the past two years we have been working on the creation of immersive learning environments by leveraging the integration of artificial intelligence and  virtual reality "live actor" scenarios with two goals. First, we wished to fill a learning gap in experiential learning events using live actors to enhance student confidence and skills. Second, we identified the need for competency-based training for aggression deescalation training for police officers where the use of AI/VR creates a safe learning environment.

The main aim of this new research project is to develop an intelligent training system that is able to analyze the learner's behaviour during confrontations with aggressive individuals, and other crisis situations, and provide appropriate feedback, enabling learners to improve their performance. We believe our findings will support the conclusion that using bio-sensors as a quantitative research tool to investigate human behaviours, while placed in stressful events, and measure physiological responses in real time, can significantly enhance the learner's self-actualization and thus their learning.

Games meet Films: Utilization of Virtual Production for Independent Filmmakers

Blockbuster films like The Jungle Book and The Lion King and more recently The Mandalorian series have been increasingly dependent on the technology and creative opportunities being made available through gaming technology. Free software like Unreal Engine is democratizing filmmaking by giving access to powerful, real-time animation to small independent production companies who until now, could not afford it. We want to discover if this new Virtual Production workflow is a viable alternative for small budget productions by producing a short film, both with the traditional and Virtual Production process and compare the cost and creative opportunities they both present.

Understanding Human Perceptions of Wildlife Interactions

Most studies addressing the human dimesions of wildlife are focused on one city and once species (Magle et al., 2019). With our previous study, Understanding Human Perceptions of Wildlife Interactions, we were able to expand one area of that focus by addressing multiple species and ellucidate attitudes and tolerance aimed at those species. Now we wish to explore the multi-city dimension of this research as well as coordinate ecosystem management and conservation efforts in our national parks.

 

Exploring the Efficacy of Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Development of Movement Skill Proficiency in Children

Many Canadian children are not meeting the minimum physical activity guidelines that are associated with healthy growth and development. Many researchers have stressed the importance of movement skill proficiency as an important factors in children's affinity for physical activity. This project seeks to explore the efficacy of leveraging augmented and virtual reality technologies to assess and develop movement skill proficiency in children with the ultimate goal of promoting childhood physical activity engagement.

The Green Cosmetic Preservatives
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Dr. Sophie Kernéis

The cosmetic industry is looking for green solutions to replace the chemical antimicrobial preservatives commonly used in their products (paraben). The Plant Antibiotic Program at Lethbridge College has unique plant extracts of which some have the desired antibiotic properties against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. The Microbiology Laboratory at Lethbridge College will establish two key technologies to develop a natural preservative from plant extracts. This technology and the training opportunities will support the needs of the growing Alberta cosmetic industries, public interest in natural products, and continue to place Lethbridge College students at the forefront of new commercial technologies.

 

External funding


NSERC

The Integrated Agriculture Technology Centre (IATC)

The Integrated Agriculture Technology Centre (IATC) at Lethbridge College provides vital support for the agriculture industry through three key services: applied research; technical services and consulting; and education and training. These services are centred on LC’s core areas of expertise: Aquaculture, Crop Production, and Wet Processing and provide Ag-tech, greenhouse, aquaculture, and large-scale crop producers with access to, customized services for, and first-hand research data on unique technologies including integrated food production systems, aerobic bioreactors, dewatering techniques, waste treatment, water processing, precision irrigation and fertigation, agricultural engineering, automation and control systems, post-harvest technology, organoleptics, and food safety.

 

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Dimensions Pilot Program

Lethbridge College is making a commitment to identifying and improving its equity, diversity and inclusion on campus. The college is one of just 17 Canadian post-secondary institutions chosen for the Dimensions pilot program, a national initiative designed to foster transformational change within research bodies and post-secondary institutions.

The two-year project will see the college set up an internal self-assessment committee to evaluate what Lethbridge College is already doing to promote equity, diversity and inclusion, and identify areas in need of improvement. The goal of the program is to eliminate obstacles and inequalities in the research and post-secondary ecosystems to support equal access for all.

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From Self-Assessment to Sustainable Action: Growing EDI and Research

Lethbridge College has launched many initiatives to support  its institutional goals directly support principles of  EDI, such as the Niitsitapi  Strategy, Health & Wellness Strategy, and Internationalization Plan. To continue to build on this work, support from the EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant will allow Lethbridge College to 1) hire an EDI strategist and strike a formal EDI committee, with meaningful involvement from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups, to work towards identifying and removing systemic barriers that impact the success of all members of the LC community, 2) create a formal EDI strategy informed by decolonization, anti-racism, and anti-oppression 3) provide resources to allow research capacity for staff and students from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups including Indigenous peoples, members of racialized minorities, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and women; and encourage research related to EDI.

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​SSHRC​

Justice by numbers: the politics of quantification and statsitics in the Canadian Justice System

My research examines the production and effects of statistics and performance metrics. Quantitative indicators are typically regarded as a way to solve the imperative of governing from a distance and ensuring accountability and transparency, but may also replace democratic deliberation on matters of collective concern. I ask, what are the consequences for the public good, individual agency, shaping of criminal justice and the organization of society? This topic is important to understand how we live as citizens of a democracy under rule of law. It has implications for policy, professional practice, organizational ethics, and for governing the Canadian justice system.

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Find Your Voice: Author Visits and Conference Activity at Lethbridge College

The purpose of this project is to provide support to student writers by 1) inviting authors to speak virtually to students in my ENG1185 Writing for Children and Young Adults classroom in the fall 2021 semester, which will build on my previous project by recording author visits, increasing student involvement, and laying a foundation for student participation in a mentoring program and/or conference planning; and 2) begin planning a virtual conference at LC to be held in Spring 2023 with a mentorship program to encourage student involvement.

 

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Creating Opportunities for Lethbridge College Students' Writing and Publication: Launching a Student-Run Literary Magazine

The purpose of this project is to create a student-run campus literary magazine at Lethbridge College to showcase students' creative writing work, and provide those writers with opportunities to collaborate on the writing, editing, and publication of a magazine. It is my goal to co-create with students a 50-60 page first issue (print in the first year, expanding to print and digital in the second year). From this first issue, we will establish a series of best practices for creating and running a literary magazine through Lethbridge College to ensure its future success and expansion.

 

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The Emergence of the Transgender Child: Parent Politics and Social Change
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Dr. Jennifer Davis
  • Funding for the project: SSHRC Insight Grant​ ​
  • Project duration: 2017-2021
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Dyer, Memorial University.
  • Co-investigators: Dr. Jennifer Davis (Lethbridge College Instructor, General Studies); Dr. Julie James, Ryerson University; Dr. Ruth Koleszar-Green, York University; Dr. Kimberley Manning, Concordia University; Dr. Sarah Pickett and Dr. Julie Temple-Newhook, Memorial University; Dr. Annie Pullen-Sansfacon, University of Montreal

 

Recent research suggests that strong parental support of transgender youth dramatically reduces their otherwise extremely high risk of self-harm and suicide. The challenges that parents and caregivers face in supporting and advocating for a transgender child, however, are immense. This project is a national study of parent advocates of transgender children and youth. It has two objectives: 1) to explain both advocacy success and the ongoing challenges that parents face, and 2) to create new networks, organizational links, and templates for practice within rural and urban Canadian communities in which parents are advocating for their children.

Transgender children began to emerge in the Canadian public eye in 2013 when several originally independent initiatives simultaneously got underway in several parts of the country. In the space of a few short months, parents began speaking to the media, creating support networks, and lobbying to have laws changed. Resource mobilization theory, which focuses on external resources, and political process theory, which focuses on frames, offer partial explanations for this sudden burst in activity, but a shift in emotional response has also played a vital role. Many parents have moved from a position of anxiety, that gender non-conformity was a problem produced by parenting to a position of parental pride.

This project combines group auto-ethnography and participatory action research in four different regions across Canada. It involves qualitative interviews with parent advocates and a critical media analysis of representations of transgender youth and their families to better understand the phenomenon of parental advocacy. It approaches advocacy as a type of gendered work that involves a large commitment of time, energy, resources, and emotional labour and considers the many affective and ethically fraught challenges that parents of transgender children face, including public backlash. It also examines how gender and heteronormativity, whiteness, class, and urban privilege shape collective parental strategies. Thus it contributes to forging a new conversation about care work in social movements, and directly contributes to grassroots knowledge mobilization.

 

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Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)

Towards climate-robust irrigation water management for potato production

This project will study five different potato fields in southern Alberta. The watering practices of two producers near Vauxhall, as well as farms near Bow Island, Chin and Taber, are being monitored. The diversity of fields allows researchers to study a variety of different soil types and topographies, which will give a holistic look at how moisture reacts with and affects potato crops. The research team will record how producers use their existing irrigation and available water sources and the outcome it has on crops in different parts of their fields.​

 

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Enhancing Yield and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Crops under Subsurface Drip Fertigation in Southern Alberta
  • Dr. Rezvan Karimi Dehkordi
    Funding for project: Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Adapting Innovative Solutions in Agriculture Program 
  • Project duration:  2019 to 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Rezvan Karimi Dehkordi (Research Associate, Mueller Applied Research in Irrigation Science)
  • News story:

Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is gaining popularity in Alberta, currently covering 1,090 ha of field crop area. In addition to improving water use efficiency, SDI can be used for nutrient management during the growing season. Current analyses of subsurface drip fertigation (SDF) are largely based in the USA for corn, soybean, alfalfa, and cotton crops. This study aims to investigate the efficacy of SDF for crops grown in Alberta, e.g. canola, dry beans. The proposed on-farm study will help producers who operate or consider SDI systems assess the cost efficiency of SDF strategies for their crops.​

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Comparison of Traditional Crop Inputs and Biostimulants Application on Wheat, Canola and Peas in Alberta

Access to a plethora of micro-nutrients, plant growth hormones, mycorrhizae, pesticides and biostimulants have left crop producers overwhelmed with anecdotal claims of higher yielding crops and healthier soils. The proposed project aims to validate a selection of 4 full-package systems against conventional systems to determine feasibility. Over three years, each of these 4 systems will be applied to peas, canola, and wheat in Lethbridge, Forestburg, and Fahler. Plant response and economics will be studied and findings will be disseminated through planned KTT activities.​

 

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Lethbridge College Agriculture Science Farm Fair

The objective of this project is to increase student knowledge of the production, quality and safety of food. The intent is to present the scientific facts surrounding current agriculture concerns, explain the processes necessary for sustainable agriculture, the resources required to feed the world by 2050 and weave that with local industry and products they can relate with. Steps to implementation begin with development of College student presentations, coordination with local schools and industry to facilitate the Ag Sciences Farm Fair, and promotion using local media sources. 

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Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

Spatial Technologies Applied Research & Training (START) Centre
Mike McCready, President's Applied Research Chair in Virtual and Augmented Reality

Although multiple industries are exploring the integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies into their operations to enhance employee safety, improve business process efficiency, and reduce costs, many companies lack the expertise and equipment to articulate a vision and develop immersive experiences. This CFI investment will enable Lethbridge College's Spatial Technologies AppliedResearch and Training (START) Centre to address this gap. START will partner with Southern Alberta technology companies and community organizations across multiple sectors to develop and implement VR/AR applications. START projects will deliver products and services that improve operations of Southern Alberta organizations and revenues of Southern Alberta technology companies. This CFI investment will enable businesses across key sectors to: (i) Conduct partnership-based applied research projects that solve real-world problems using spatial technologies; (ii) Develop spatial technologies that can be commercialized; (iii) Integrate spatial technologies into business models, supply chains and manufacturing processes; (iv) Access cutting-edge extended reality technology, expertise and best practices; and (v) Provide experiential learning opportunities to Lethbridge College's students, enabling them to gain relevant industry, scientific, technical, discipline and professional skills that accelerate their transition into the job market.​

 

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Advanced Post-Harvest Technology Centre
Dr. Chandra Singh, Applied Research Chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology

Global food production must increase by half of current levels, before 2050, to meet increasing demand.Such a huge increase in production will put extreme pressures on the environment which, together withclimate change, threatens the sustainability of the world's food systems. One method for reducing thepressure on food production is to decrease food wastage. Approximately one third of global food produced for human consumption is wasted, an amount that could feed an additional 1.35 billion people annually. One fifth of all food produced in Canada is avoidably lost or wasted during harvesting, packing, storing,handling, transporting, processing and consuming. The application of technology to crops post-harvest cansignificantly reduce food loss and wastage. The goal of the proposed research program is to address this gap,in partnership with Southern Albertan farmers, agri-food businesses and the feed industry. This CFI investment will create the state-of-the-art Lethbridge College Advanced Post-Harvest Technology Centre, which will focus on applied research and development of innovative, low-cost, post-harvest engineering solutions designed to significantly lessen post-harvest losses of root crops, tubers, vegetables and grains, improving product quality, safety and marketability. Research outcomes will also improve profitability and sustainability of SouthernAlberta farmers, agri-food production and processing companies and the feed industry.

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The Centre for Sustainable Food Production
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The world needs to produce at least 50% more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050. However, climate change and the depletion of natural resources present significant challenges. There is urgent need to develop alternative sustainable food production systems, reduce organic waste and improve the efficacy of food systems at commercially viable scales. This CFI investment will enable Lethbridge College to create the Centre for Sustainable Food Production to help industry develop innovative technologies that: (1) convert manure and other wastes into highly efficient, soluble fertilizers; (2) improve the delivery of soluble fertilizers by optimizing fertigation systems; (3) improve organic crop production through optimized pest management (bio-pesticides); and (4) maximize greenhouse production through vertical aquaponics.

CFI funding will be used to construct a 10,000 sq. ft. research greenhouse and header house, purchase supporting laboratory equipment, greenhouse hardware, and fertigation technology. The greenhouse will provide a much needed validation tool, mirroring the exact conditions for commercial production and support research in the four identified pillars. This research aligns with the Alberta’s Research and Innovation Framework Action Plan 2017-2020, to reduce organic waste by 50% and support innovation targets to produce new, value-added products using agricultural waste. The outcomes will benefit Alberta’s farmers who produce 53 million tonnes of manure per year.

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Alberta Research Capacity Program (RCP)

 

 

Alberta Innovates

CareGiVR: Building Self-Efficacy in Dementia Care Through Immersive Education
Mike McCready, President's Applied Research Chair in Virtual and Augmented Reality

Lethbridge College's Spatial Technologies Applied Research and Training (START) initiative and Red Iron Labs have partnered to develop an immersive VR training platform for caregivers working with clients with dementia. Using motion and facial capture technologies, the platform will allow caregivers to interact with virtual clients and practice communication skills in a variety of highly realistic scenarios.

 

Smart Technology For Optimised Greenhouse Crop Production

With14.74 million ft2 of greenhouse space, the greenhouse sector in Alberta is the fourth largest greenhouse industry in Canada, after Ontario, BC, and Quebec. The industry has experienced bourgeoning growth in recent years thanks to consistently low natural gas prices. This has led to a highly competitive environment as greenhouse growers in Alberta are forced to look for innovative technologies such as: LED; advanced growing media; computer-controlled climate; integrated production, such as aquaponics; sensing technology; and more efficient water and nutrient management systems. The industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact such as wastewater discharge and light contamination.

Lethbridge College (LC) has developed a unique expertise, which allows us to dramatically improve the water, nutrient, and energy efficiency of greenhouse operations. It is proposed that a new recirculating irrigation system based on sensing technology and artificial intelligence will be built and tested at LC’s Centre for Sustainable Food Production (CSFP) to improve water and nutrient efficiency for the Alberta greenhouse industry. An energy optimization model will conserve energy and improve the competitiveness of greenhouse operations in Alberta.

 

Smart in-bin grain storage and management system for optimum quality
  • Dr. Chandra Singh, Applied Research Chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology
    Funding for project: Smart Agriculture and Food Innovation Program
  • Project duration:  2020 to 2021
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Chandra Singh
  • Partners: 
  • News story: 

Southern Alberta, which is among the most fertile and productive regions in Canada with diverse crop production including wheat, canola, pulses, corn, potatoes, sugar beets in addition to significant livestock and dairy production, generates farm revenues of over $3.11 billion. Southern Alberta farms provide high quality raw material for over 120 established agri-food businesses in the Lethbridge Region, including world leading food processors.

Due to adverse weather condition during harvest season, Southern Alberta famers have suffered losses of more than $750 million in 2019 harvest season as per the Team Alberta report. Therefore, there is an increasing need for advancing research in postharvest handling and storage of grains to minimize the losses. With advancement in postharvest technology, framers can start early harvest to minimize adverse weather effect and properly manage the grain in-storage with minimum spoilage risk.

Crops can be harvested as soon as they reach physiological maturity (typically 4-5% above safe storage limit) and dried in-bin using natural air with supplemental heat (low temperature heater). New postharvest management technologies including sensors, internet of things (IOT), wireless data transfer, cloud based monitoring and automation can significantly reduce postharvest losses of grains and beets and improve the quality. Grain/beet moisture and temperature are the two most critical factors that affect the long term storability. In this project, sensing technology will be used to monitor in-bin grain storage condition and grain will be dried using advanced automated fan and heater control.

Smart irrigation through observation and prediction

Increasing water use efficiency through site-specific irrigation management is an important tool in ongoing regional development of high-value agricultural products in Southern Alberta. Variable Rate Irrigation is an important technology in achieving this, but the uptake of said technology is low and its use suboptimal. In this project we propose to integrate various types of sensors to develop a model-based, closed-loop irrigation system that is based on the spatial distribution of soil moisture and crop water availability. We will include microwave radiometers for moisture mapping, point sensors, and simulation models to automatically create maps of irrigation amounts through data fusion. This would be a big step forward in reaching the full potential of VRI technology.​

 

Other Funding

Wild Lethbridge

The City of Lethbridge has an extensive suite of parks that run through the entire length of its deeply incised river valley system. There are 1600 Hectares of parks with 177 km of paved trails and 57 km of gravel trails. This, along with multiple green spaces and strips within the city, is considered to represent the 3rd largest city park system in Canada.

A number of these parks support substantial components of the native, natural, coulee ecosystem of Southern Alberta. Currently, there are many and varied physical obstacles to wildlife movement, including roads, bridges, gravel pits, urban infrastructure, gaps between parks, as well as habitat interruptions and degradation between and within these parks. In addition, much of the wildlife that use the parks, also use a variety of other green spaces within and about the city. These include green strips/boulevards, inner city parks and golf courses. It is known that all of these serve to provide movement corridors and habitat for a variety of species. The wildlife in question includes a number of species at risk. In addition, wildlife movement in and around the city can and does create safety conflicts between wildlife and citizens.

With this in mind, Lethbridge College and The City of Lethbridge Parks Department have developed a long term partnership. Lethbridge College will endeavour to use a combination of research projects and citizen science in a number of ways. In general, researchers (both faculty and students) will develop and use a precision, three dimensional landscape model (aerial photography and lidar based) and ground truthing plan. They will then identify and classify the physical obstacles and habitat interruptions throughout the system. They will also track selected indicator species via radio/gps tracking and other methods, in order to help determine how wildlife use the parks and the urban interface (including road crossings), as well as which features are truly obstacles to wildlife movement.

The Wild Lethbridge citizen science app and web site for smart phones will be an integral part of the wildlife observation and movement data that will help us to achieve the most comprehensive knowledge possible. We will be relying upon what we perceive to be a strong interest on the part of our citizens to help us to understand and hopefully, successfully manage at least some of the issues unique to a city with a substantial wildlife presence.

We would ultimately use all of this information to develop recommendations and methods for improved physical and habitat connectivity between and within the parks and the urban environment. These recommendations might include anything from the re-establishment of missing/damaged habitat to construction of physical structures to improve connectivity and/or avoid traffic conflicts. In addition to all of this, the research projects are designed to provide real world, practical opportunities for the education and development of our students at Lethbridge College.

EarthRenew Greenhouse Trials

EarthRenew is conducting greenhouse trials at Lethbridge College to determine how EarthRenew fertilizers will impact plant germination rates. Using Lethbridge College’s sophisticated greenhouse research facilities for the trials, results are expected to be available by early summer 2020. Trials will utilize barley and peas as test subjects to obtain results for both broad acre and specialty crops.​

 

 

Henderson Lake Phoslock Project

Lethbridge College is conducting phoslock sampling and separate water quality analysis at Henderson Lake for the City of Lethbridge.​