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December 2014 Issue

Post-Secondary Institutions: Educating our Workforce in Partnership with Industry

Post-secondary institutions have an important role in providing world-class learning experiences, employment-ready training and generating the human and information resources that will lead Canada’s knowledge-driven future.

The following stories highlight how post-secondary institutions are promoting globalized education for their students and creating new export opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Western Canada.

Camosun College: Sharing a Canadian Experience in Renewable Energy with an International Audience

Students at Camosun College in Victoria, BC, are gaining new global perspectives after an innovative guest lecture co-hosted with the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology (IFSul) in Pelotas, Brazil. Through the use of videoconference equipment, students learned about wind energy from professors at both institutions, with live interpretation in English and Portuguese.

Camosun students were part of the Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology – Renewable Energy program offered by the college, which teaches students about power electronics and control in a wide-range of renewable energy technologies including solar photovoltaics, wind, solar thermal, fuel cells, bioenergy, hydro, tidal and wave, and energy storage.

Interesting Facts:

  • Camosun College helps industry to commercialize new technologies through their Technology Access Centre.
  • There are almost 1,200 advanced technology companies in Greater Victoria, generating nearly $2.5 billion in sales.
  • To further support the development of sustainable energy sources, the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), funded a wind turbine training tower was installed in northeastern British Columbia.
Instructor Joyce van de Vegte and Professor Mauro André B. Cunha lead the virtual lecture.

Instructor Joyce van de Vegte and Professor Mauro André B. Cunha lead the virtual lecture.

Photo credit: Camosun College Audio Visual Department

Based on the success of the first guest lecture, Camosun and IFSul plan to continue their online partnership by trading ideas and perspectives, while enhancing the value of students’ educational experiences at both campuses.

WD supported the Camosun’s Marine, Aerospace, and Resource Industry Centre for Training and Technology Support (MARCenTTS) in 2013. The funding has enhanced the school’s ability to be on the leading edge of technology, both for hands-on programs through the purchase of new equipment for its skilled trades programs, and virtually. These investments are allowing Camosun students to take advantage of innovative learning approaches in a variety of fields.

 

Delta Genomics: Building on our Strengths in the Livestock Industry

The Tecan liquid handler is used to prepare samples for genotyping

The Tecan liquid handler is used to prepare samples for genotyping

Canada’s livestock industry remains an important economic sector and job creator in western Canada. Alone, the cattle sector contributes $13.2 billion to the national gross domestic product and is directly and indirectly associated with the creation of 228,811 full-time equivalent jobs. In order to remain competitive, the industry needs to further enhance product quality, lower the cost of production and expand into new markets. One way of meeting these three objectives is by working with livestock genomics, the study of an organism’s hereditary information, encoded in its DNA.

The livestock genomics industry in western Canada just became stronger, through the recent spin-out of the Delta Genomics Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, from the University of Alberta’s business incubation program. Delta Genomics was established in 2011, through a $3.5 million investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). The idea started with Livestock Gentec (LG), the world-class genetic research centre at the University of Alberta, wanting to develop a national fee-for-service non-profit facility for livestock genotype information, analysis and biobanking. After four years and with the support of government partners, research organizations and the livestock industry, Delta Genomics has succeeded in becoming the first full-service DNA lab specializing in livestock in Canada.

This 96-well tray of Nunc™ tubes holds DNA samples with individual barcodes on the bottom of each tube for identification

This 96-well tray of Nunc™ tubes holds DNA samples with individual barcodes on the bottom of each tube for identification

The positive impact that Delta Genomics provides to the livestock industry is significant. For example, producers can now determine the best outcome for each animal based on early genomic testing. Genomics will help these producers establish healthier and hardier stock, determine the optimal feed regime to improve quality, and assist in avoiding diseases. This genomic profiling is the edge needed to ensure a competitive livestock industry for Canadian producers.