Prince Albert students take part in Applied Research Student Showcase for Sask Polytech

Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Applied Research Student Showcase featured 56 project videos focused on solving real-world problems. Some participants in the showcase were from the Prince Albert campus who are taking Geographic Information Science (GIS) certificates and Integrated Resource Management diplomas.

“It’s really to celebrate and show our students outside research projects. Oftentimes these are extra in addition to their programming and they collaborate with industry partners, community partners on projects and they provide a value to our partners in that. And as far as the students they experience that get, they get that hands on experience, they get to work with that industry partner but a lot of times this differentiates our students when they go for interviews when they get into the job market they see that they have done this extra research project,” Dr. Susan Blum, associate vice-president, Applied Research and Innovation for Sask Polytech explained.

“They deliver real world solutions to help all of us in our community,” she added.

The virtual showcase is a celebration of the applied research projects of Sask Polytech’s innovative and passionate students. Videos of the student projects were shared online for adjudication by judges, industry and community partner.

Some of the students participating have previously received a $1,000 scholarship to assist with their research. Other students presented capstone projects, a final assignment part of their academic program.

Students participating from the Prince Albert campus included Dan Richert and Jonah Sutter from GIS and the duo of Lauren Lukan and Tory Frankl from Integrated Resource Management.

“It’s right from nursing, health sciences, engineering, GIS, it’s quite broad and we have had a record number of students participating this year 56. I am really hoping it continues to grow so that we will have over 100 students involved in projects like this for people in our community,” Blum said.

The showcase continues to expand according to Blum.

“It’s been growing ever since it started so this was only I think our fourth year, so we had two in person and now we have had two virtual. So next year we will be in person hopefully.”

Richert’s project was mapping opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths in Saskatchewan. Using models from the United States, Richert created a spatial analysis based on relevant data regarding opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths in Saskatchewan. His analysis shares information that can help to better communicate the problems surrounding the opioid crisis in our province.

Sutter’s project was using GIS to help reduce response times to rural emergencies. For this project Sutter applied spatial analysis to the local fire and rescue services of Springside, Saskatchewan. His analysis shows changes that could be made to improve how jurisdictions are drawn and displays the power GIS could potentially provide to rural planners.

Frankl and Lukan’s project was growing Black Spruce seeds (picea mariana) in three biochar inoculations. Frankl and Lukan compared black spruce seedling growth in biochar/sand mixtures inoculated with compost-derived worm castings, manure, forest soils, peat and non-inoculated controls. Black spruce grown in manure-inoculated biochar displayed significant growth advantages over other soil amendments. These results are likely to contribute to the future success of oil sands reclamation on disturbed forested sites.

In a release from Sask Polytech Blum explained that participating in applied research gives students hands-on experience to transition into their chosen careers.

Some of the students participating have previously received a $1,000 scholarship to assist with their research. Other students presented capstone projects, a final assignment part of their academic program.

“Some students they get a $1,000 scholarship to work on the project. And some of the students have they are called Capstone projects as part of their program they have to do one. So those students can participate in the showcase also,” Blum explained.

The 2021 Applied Research Student Showcase was held virtually for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sask Polytech received almost 200 votes in the Industry/People’s Choice category.

The judging took place across all categories with experts in the field.

“We had panels of judges, so we had two panels one for the technology projects and one for our social and health projects. And then we also had an industry people’s choice award so that’s anybody in the public can vote for that one,” Blum said.

“Applied research is where ideas meet reality, delivering practical solutions to everyday challenges,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO in a release.

“Applied research assesses a need, proves a concept, and tests new products to refine them for market. Congratulations to all of the students in this year’s virtual showcase on a job well done. You truly are the innovators of tomorrow.”