Growing your Research Talent (E/SI)

May 1, 2024 11:30 - 12:30 Glen Rm 206View map

In 2018 Cambrian College’s applied research department, known as Cambrian R&D, consisted of two full-time employees and a part-time secondment, but just over five years later, our headcount is now nine full-time staff and three part-time technologists. The growth of the department has been significant over these past five years, but it has been calculated and strategic. When we started our journey in building up our department, a key focus was on cultivating research talent so that we could have our own resources to move quickly on projects with industry partners. Currently, more than half of our entire staff complement are dedicated researchers and we have plans to hire two more full-time researchers in 2024. To achieve this growth, Cambrian R&D has tapped into a number of different funding envelopes to de-risk the creation of these positions, some of which are unionized and some of which are administrative. While it is easy to grow a department, the challenge is sustaining it. In this presentation, Director of Cambrian R&D, Dr. Mike Commito will talk about how the department has grown its talent pool, how this growth was achieved, both through funding opportunities and strategic consultation with the college’s senior leadership growth, and some of the challenges that lay ahead both in keeping and finding new talent. The goal of the presentation is to share best practices and lessons with colleagues but to highlight how Cambrian R&D’s growth arc is replicable at applied research departments in colleges across Canada.

Stream: Innovating through Applied Research

Colleges and institutes occupy a critical space in Canada’s innovation ecosystem through their diverse and growing applied research capacity. College and institute applied research has been and will continue to be a key driver in strengthening the economic resiliency and competitiveness of Canada’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)and fostering innovation in communities through social innovation research. Applied research plays an important role in developing Canada’s talent pipeline as it provides space for learners to collaborate with SMEs to research, analyze and develop solutions to real-world challenges.


Mike Commito
Director, Research & Innovation | Cambrian College

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