Dave Maze (left) and George Gallant (right) are two Lethbridge College instructors and researchers awarded internal research grants for 2021-22.

Lethbridge College’s skilled faculty and staff members are putting their expertise to work to help industry find solutions to real-world issues. The innovative projects will be supported by the 2021-22 internal research grants awarded by the college’s Centre for Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CARIE).

Lethbridge College employees can apply for two separate internal research grants. Centre for Applied Research Internal Fund (CARIF) grants develop applied research capacity among faculty and staff at Lethbridge College by funding short-term projects and activities that align with Centre and College strategic goals and priorities. It is expected that projects will be a starting point toward a long-term vision and plan for applied research, including funding from external sources. Meanwhile, the federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) offers SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) that fund small-scale research and research-related activities by faculty and students in the social sciences and humanities.

CARIE will support six CARIF grants and three SIG grants to nine different researchers in 2021-22.

“Often times, our college’s high-profile applied research activities are in the spotlight, but these grants showcase the wide variety of research being undertaken at Lethbridge College,” says Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Associate Vice President – Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The CARIF and SIG grants can act as an introduction to research for faculty and staff members who want to begin the process of building their research abilities. They are also are an opportunity for our researchers to align their skills and passions in ways that can benefit our industry partners.”

The six CARIF-funded projects include:

  • The Green Cosmetic Preservatives – Dr. Sophie Kernéis. The Plant Antibiotic Program at Lethbridge College has unique plant extracts that can help the cosmetic industry as it looks for green solutions to replace the chemical antimicrobial preservatives commonly used in their products.
  • Exploring the Efficacy of Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Development of Movement Skill Proficiency in Children – Dr. Simon Schaerz. 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.
  • Quantifying Justice: Metrics and Ethics in Canadian Criminal Justice – Dr. Gary Barron. This project examines the production and effects of statistics and performance metrics in the justice system, asking what are the consequences for the public good, individual agency, shaping of criminal justice and the organization of society?
  • Leveraging Biometrics to Enhance Learning in Immersive Environments – Dave Maze and George Gallant. 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 to provide appropriate feedback, enabling learners to improve their performance.
  • Games meet Films: Utilization of Virtual Production for Independent Filmmakers – George Gallant and Allyson Cikor. This project aims to discover if new virtual production workflows in the film industry are a viable alternative for small budget productions by producing a short film, both with the traditional and virtual production process, and then compare the cost and creative opportunities they both present.
  • Urban Wildlife Coexistence – Josh Hill. This project will explore the multi-city dimension of previous research around human perceptions of wildlife interactions as well as coordinate ecosystem management and conservation efforts in our national parks.

Two different types of SIG grants are available to researchers. SSHRC Exchange Grants encourage applicants to organize small-scale knowledge mobilization activities, such as workshops and seminars, in order to encourage collaboration and the dissemination of research results. SSHRC Explore Grants exist to seed new social science or humanities projects. This year’s SIG-funded projects include:

  • Find Your Voice: Author Visits and Conference Activity at Lethbridge College (SSHRC Exchange Grant) – Dr. Amy Hodgson-Bright. This project provides support to student writers by inviting authors to speak virtually to students and to begin planning for a virtual conference to be held at Lethbridge College in 2023.
  • Creating Opportunities for Lethbridge College Students' Writing and Publication: Launching a Student-Run Literary Magazine (SSHRC Explore Grant) – Dr. Amy Hodgson-Bright. A project postponed from 2020, its purpose is to create a student-run campus literary magazine to showcase students' creative writing work and provide those writers with opportunities to collaborate on the writing, editing, and publication of a magazine.
  • Justice by Numbers: The Politics of Quantification and Statistics in the Canadian Justice System (SSHRC Explore Grant) – Dr. Gary Barron. 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. This topic is important to understand how we live as citizens of a democracy under rule of law.

“Lethbridge College is one of just a handful of colleges with SSHRC institutional grants, allowing us to develop research capacity in the social sciences and humanities,” says Dave McMurray, manager of Applied Research. “We are also proud that in addition to faculty, we provide opportunities for staff to engage in research through CARIF. As a result, we have seen demand for these grants grow and have been able to produce research outcomes that have a positive, meaningful effect on society and industry.”

CARIE has developed new application processes for CARIF and SSHRC grants that will help streamline the process and align research with the academic goals of the college. Interested researchers should submit a Letter of Intent by Jan. 10, 2022, with applications due by Feb. 23, 2022.

Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE) is a catalyst for economic growth, sustainability and social development in the region. It brings together researchers, community organizations and students to collaborate on projects that use new or existing knowledge to solve real-world challenges with immediate practical applications. Research Infosource ranked Lethbridge College has one of Canada’s fastest-growing research colleges while earning its highest ever placement in 2020’s annual ranking of Canada’s top 50 research colleges. The college placed 26th on the top 50 list released by Research Infosource and ranked third in research income growth.