Impact of ORIS seen everywhere

The Office of Research and Innovation Services is active in promoting the interests of the University of Lethbridge on a number of fronts. This includes ongoing support for faculty researchers and the establishment of research initiatives and partnerships at local, regional, national and international levels.

In the past year, we have seen a number of examples that highlight the behind-the-scenes work that ORIS does in supporting research interests at the University and beyond.

Pictured (L to R), the U of L's Dr. Dan Weeks, Shaun Wedick (Consul of Canada, Chennai), Dr. Karl Staenz, Deep Mazumdar, Prashant Shulkle (Director General, Earth Sciences Sector, Natural Resources Canada).

The office was instrumental in establishing a branch Research Data Centre (RDC) through the University of Calgary. The RDC is a university-based laboratory that offers researchers secure access to confidential micro-data from a constantly growing number of datasets, primarily from Statistics Canada. Researchers also have access to fully equipped workstations, standard and highly specialized statistical analysis packages and technical support through this agreement, all provided free of charge.

ORS supported Dr. Abdie Kazemipur (sociology) during the process, as he was instrumental in this application, giving our researchers a secure level of access to vital data that they have never previously enjoyed.

The establishment of new initiatives also included support for the first inter-disciplinary conference on childhood in Canadian history, The Childhoods Conference: Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood. ORS worked with Dr. Jan Newberry, among others, to obtain funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research to present the May 5-7 event, one that has the potential to spin-off into a childhood studies institute.

"Most folks from the U of L community will associate ORIS with providing researchers the expert support necessary for developing winning proposals for research grant competitions," says Vice-President (Research) Dr. Daniel Weeks. "However, it is equally important that we provide ongoing assistance to facilitate productive partnerships that allow our researchers to advance research and/or knowledge mobilization."

The ORIS also works to create partnerships beyond the walls of the University as it looks to push research interests in local and regional quarters. Recently, the U of L signed a memorandum of understanding with Lethbridge College, Lethbridge Economic Development and SouthGrow Regional Initiative and Community Futures, Lethbridge Region.

The memorandum formalizes a partnership that intends to push innovation and commercialization activities throughout the southern Alberta region, supporting business and industry by facilitating the flow of knowledge, stimulating the transfer of innovative ideas, advancing areas of mutual interest and providing greater access to business for our students as they look to gain practical experience through applied research projects.

"The increasing pressure to commercialize and innovate research outcomes is a challenge for universities," says Weeks. "Indeed, commercialization is not a primary function of a university. We have taken the position that creating stronger alliances between community organizations and other post secondary institutions can be enormously effective and yield important benefits for everyone."

The ORIS then works to take the University message to the national and international level, facilitating partnerships that create the framework for global research projects. In January, Weeks was accompanied by Dr. Karl Staenz (geography) and Deep Mazumdar (PhD candidate, geography) as they participated in the Canadian Geomatics Science and Technology Partnering Mission in India. The mission sought to showcase how Canada's expertise and technology could assist India as it addresses its need for leading-edge geospatial solutions.

The scope of benefits gained by the U of L as it enhanced its presence in the Indian market and built essential business relationships cannot yet begin to be realized.

It is the amalgamation of this activity that makes up the breadth of the ORIS mandate and assists in growing the University's reputation as a comprehensive research institution both locally and beyond.

For a look at the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.