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Lethbridge college receives $200,000 federal grants

Funds enhance agriculture and public safety research programs 

By Jean-Paul McDonald

Lethbridge College has recently been awarded more than $200,000 in federal research grants, signaling a significant boost to its innovative research capabilities.  

This funding, provided through the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program, underscores the college's growing influence in applied research and its contribution to local and national development. 

In the agriculture community, the focus was on the grant for $28,916, focusing on transforming the Lethbridge College Research Farm into a Smart Irrigation Farm.  

The Mueller Irrigation Research Group will use these funds to establish an outdoor WiFi network that facilitates real-time data collection and analysis on water usage and crop needs.  

This technology is aimed at optimizing water use in agriculture, a critical concern in southern Alberta's arid climate. 

These projects advance technological and educational practices while promoting sustainable and community-focused development. 

The grants were announced by Parliamentary Secretaries Yasir Naqvi and Ryan Turnbull on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.  

The funding aims to enhance the college's research infrastructure, supporting two major projects that blend technology with practical applications for industry and community partners. 

The larger project involves the Centre for Public Safety Applied Research (CPSAR) and the Spatial Technologies Applied Research and Training (START) Centre, which have received $200,000.  

These funds will be used to develop the Spatially Interactive Panorama (SIP).  

This innovative tool will offer a 200-degree panoramic view that enhances storytelling and interactive learning, with potential applications ranging from public safety training to preserving cultural heritage. 

Dr. Kirsten Fantazir, President’s Applied Research Chair in Public Safety at Lethbridge College, highlighted the SIP's role in developing intercultural competence and enhancing educational methods in police training and ethical decision-making. 

The college's commitment to applied research is also reflected in its ascent in the Canadian college research rankings, where it was placed 11th in the 2023 Research Infosource ranking of Canada’s top 50 research colleges. 

Through these funded projects, Lethbridge College continues to demonstrate its role as a leader in research and innovation, contributing to economic growth and sustainability while fostering significant academic and community collaborations.  

These initiatives highlight the college’s strategic focus on addressing real-world challenges through academic excellence and industry partnerships. 

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