Durham College leads the way with grand opening of Centre for Innovation and Research

Durham College (DC) celebrated the opening of its Centre for Innovation and Research (CIR) on Thursday, a collaborative, state-of-the-art space designed to fuel creative thinking, networking and synergistic partnerships between DC and the community.

“This innovative new space helps us continue driving change and adapt to meet the needs of our evolving educational, technological and community landscape,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “The opportunities in research, innovation and experiential learning are truly endless.”

The CIR is home to the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) and four of six applied research centres, including the AI Hub, Centre for Cybersecurity InnovationMixed Reality Capture Studio and the Social Impact Hub, as well as the Institutional Research Team and the Experiential Learning Hub.

“Over the past year, we’ve received and invested over $5 million that have allowed us to build a state-of-the-art cybersecurity research lab, engage in collaborative research with other Canadian colleges to address the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, and help many small and medium-sized businesses grow and innovate,” added Lovisa.

Rick Menassa, a member of DC’s AI Hub Technical Advisory Committee and CEO of Health Espresso and ICARE Home Health, spoke during the grand opening about the quality of student talent developed at DC thanks to experiential learning offered at DC.

“We consistently hire DC graduates who are ready to fill positions right away. They deliver with excellence, which is a testament to the strategic leadership planning, faculty adaptivity to the changing market needs and types of learning provided at the college,” said Menassa. “DC graduates are equipped with the hands-on skills they need in the workforce, which is why at Health Espresso, two of our three team leaders and 25% of our development team are DC graduates. They go out there and make things better, and the CIR is a place to make that happen.”

DC is committed to experiential learning for students and the CIR will provide students unique hands-on learning opportunities that boost their confidence, skillset and future employability.

First-year DC journalism student, Andrew Neary, has participated in two Experiential Learning Hub projects, including a Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada entrepreneurial podcast called Founders Drive, which recently took home first place at the Enactus Canada regional competition, as well as a virtual reality project that’s part of a Mitacs research internship.

“Being part of the Founders Drive CEWIL Canada project made my college experience better than I could have hoped and allowed me to apply my personal experiences, skills, and interests to my work,” he said at the opening. “To have the chance to create something with the skills I’m developing, learn from industry partners, and develop a sense of community and teamwork is unmatched.”