KPU's Wilson School of Design Awarded $1 Million Research Grant

By Kwantlen Polytechnic University Modified on October 31, 2022
Tags : Academics | Money | News | STEM

New opportunities for students and faculty will spring from this new investment.

KPU's Wilson School of Design Awarded $1 Million Research Grant

A $1 million federal grant will expand research capacity at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Wilson School of Design and provide new opportunities for students and faculty.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant announced on October 14 will support Wilson School of Design students who want to engage with research projects and create real-world impact.

The Wilson School of Design plans to establish an applied design research centre dedicated to meeting the innovation needs of industry partners. The centre will create connections across disciplines and partners through applied research, focusing on themes such as sustainability, addressing climate change, and inclusivity.

The centre will build on a long history of industry-collaborative projects. Dozens of industry and community partners have already engaged with KPU's applied research capacity to solve their innovation challenges.

"This is just the first step. A research centre will provide students with more opportunities to gain experience that will help them make a positive impact," says Andhra Goundrey, dean of Wilson School of Design. "Our industry partners need connections to our research activities coupled with a steady base of skilled, critical-thinking, and creative graduates to work in hard and soft goods development, small to medium-sized enterprises, large well-established multi-national companies, and emergent tech innovators."

KPU has a well-established track record of research leadership. The university established its first research centre, the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, in 2004 to connect and share knowledge between academics and B.C.'s horticulture industries and communities. Other centres have since been established, including the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and the Applied Genomics Centre.

In May 2022, KPU appointed Stephanie Phillips as the Sherman Jen Research Chair in Next-Generation Design, elevating the profile of research at the Wilson School of Design. Phillips' research focuses on biodegradable functional materials, exploring how enhanced natural materials that remain recyclable can be used in the apparel industry.

The new funding for the Wilson School of Design comes from its College and Community Innovation program, which supports applied research at post-secondary institutions across the country.

"Applied research is integral to KPU's polytechnic experience and is key to impactful innovation through community partnerships," says Deepak Gupta, associate vice president for research, innovation, and graduate studies at KPU. "This funding is critical to providing experiential learning opportunities for students while addressing design needs of community and industry partners."

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