Learning and Applied Research

Applied Research

Okanagan College’s applied research agenda is driven by employees who are interested in participating in and contributing to solving problems and acquiring solutions for business, industry and community partners. Applied research provides students with enhanced real-world, hands-on learning experiences and it deepens the learning and teaching experiences that employees extend to students. 

andrew hay of applied research headshot

The Office of the Vice President, Education, in collaboration with internal and external colleagues is committed to nurturing meaningful partnerships that facilitate applied research initiatives, partnerships and collaborations. 

Our applied research projects are aligned with our strengths, quality assurance processes and research ethics principles. Okanagan College will continue to develop and resource the necessary infrastructure to support applied research that contributes to knowledge transfer while supporting the economic and social prosperity of our communities.  

If you have a research idea or question you would like researched, please feel free to contact our team to begin the conversation.

Dr. Andrew Hay, P.Eng.

Okanagan College’s Applied Research Strategy

The development of the Applied Research Strategy process is grounded in Okanagan College’s Inspire Plan and the related Road Map documents.   Applied research is identified by Colleges and Institutes Canada and many levels of governments as being a key driver in economic recovery for small and medium sized enterprises.  Strengthening research links and collaborations between Canadian colleges and partners will create economic, social, health and environmental benefits for Canada. Okanagan College has many areas of applied research expertise and programming that can contribute to building resilient communities. 

While Okanagan College employees have been involved in various forms of research for many years, this applied research strategy is intended to create a solid foundation for ensuring that employees interested in pursuing applied research have access to various supports and that applied research can optimally be incorporated in student projects, courses and programs that will enhance real world learning experiences for students with community partners.

Please read the Applied Research Strategy Backgrounder for more information. Consultations will be forthcoming in the near future, please watch for invitations for discussion.  If you would like to provide feedback, please email us. 

Okanagan College's Research Data Management Strategy

The Okanagan College Research Data Management (RDM) Strategy is developed at the convergence of two initiatives:

1. to meet the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy that requires all institutions seeking research funding from the federal agencies to have a research data management strategy by March 1, 2023. 

2. To fulfill the e OC’s Strategic Plan to have a research data management plan that guides RDM practices for all researchers at Okanagan College.  

To ensure best practices at all stages of the research lifecycle, RDM strategies will gradually be promoted and adopted as direction from the Tri-Agency evolves. Given this context, Okanagan College is creating an RDM Strategy to align its priorities with such development. Furthermore, Okanagan College will prioritize supporting researchers in learning and integrating RDM practices into their current and future research endeavors.

Please read the Research Data Management Strategy.

Research projects

Applied Research Podcasts/Videos

Podcast with David Wilson, On Another Track - Applied Research business feature on Maan Farms with Gaurav Maan

Audio file

Spent Grain Project with Kelsey Oudendag

See what Kelsey has cooked up with spent grain here

Beverage Industry Chemistry Research

Want to see what is happening at the BCBTAC, check it out here

Past projects

Plants in a greenhouse with hydroponics

As agriculture becomes increasingly driven by technology and constrained by environmental concerns, farmers are faced with the need to grow more food in a cost-effective way without cultivating significantly more land. This applied research initiative consists of three projects in the field of agriculture. Two of the projects involve research and development into technologies and methods to make year round operation of on-the-grid and off-the-grid greenhouses sustainable. The third project involves researching and developing an automated control system to ensure efficient air and water management for an existing mid-sized, vertical-rack hydroponic farm. These interrelated projects will help our industry partners make their businesses more economically sustainable and lead to commercialization and technology transfer opportunities that will positively impact local agricultural production.

Research Team:

Peter Janele - pjanele@okanagan.bc.ca

David Williams - dwilliams@okanagan.bc.ca

Brad Oliver - boliver@okanagan.bc.ca

Peak Environmental services include the identification, assessment and remediation of hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead paint, mold and mercury. The company uses a manual process of recording hazardous materials (hazmat) data. This is slow, cumbersome, and prone to error. This process also does not allow the company to react in a timely manner to update clients when new hazmat regulations are mandated.

In this project, a prototype mobile software application utilizing digital code scanning technology is developed. It enables rapid capture and processing of hazmat data that is immediately input into a dedicated database containing an up-to-date inventory of hazmats at a client site. Benefits include quick respond to changes in government regulations, increase data accuracy, and reduced amount of manual work involved.


Jordan Perrey 

Research Partners:

Peak Environmental

Photo credit: https://www.mysafetylabels.com/asbestos-warning-labels

frozen raspberries and blueberries

Making wine using both fresh and frozen fruits and their juices is considered a viable alternative for utilizing surplus and overripe fruits to generate additional revenue for fruit growers. Fruit forward is a popular term used to describe a style of wine where fruit flavours are dominant.

The current manual fruit thawing method used by Maan Farms Estate Winery is inadequate and wasteful, which adversely impacts the company’s bottom line. Several methods and types of equipment, including heat tunnel conveyors and continuous thawing machines, are commercially available to thaw frozen fruit prior to processing.

The goal of this project is to develop a fruit thawing process that will mitigate product loss and maximize the amount of quality fruit juice prior to fermentation. Research findings from this project will benefit the company by improving its winemaking process through increased product consistency, higher product yield and reduced production costs.


Marissa Neuner

Research Partner:

Maan Farms Ltd.

Services and funding

Applied Research services

Getting Started

Have a conversation with your supervisor. You may wish to discuss the following questions:

  • What is your proposed project? What do you hope to learn?
  • How do you envision investigating your question?
  • Will your project involve human participants? If so, have you examined Research Ethics Board approval process?
  • How much money do you think you will need? How will it be spent?
  • What type of equipment/human resources will you require?
  • Are there external industry, community or academic partners?
  • How will this project involve Okanagan College students? Does the experience relate to your program curriculum?

After you have had this conversation and have the support of your supervisor fill out the Applied Research Support Form and return it to our office.​

Implementing Your Project
Once your project is approved and funded, the Learning and Applied Research Unit and Finance will take care of the administration of your funds so you can focus on your project. Funds from external agencies, including NSERC, SSHRC, etc., are awarded to Okanagan College and these funds are managed in accordance with the agency-approved budget and guidelines.

The Learning and Applied Research Unit will also work with you to support students being paid after you have approved and submitted their time sheets.

We offer a number of ways to engage in collaborative applied research. Okanagan College employees and students will work with you to research and solve real-world problems and challenges for your business or organization, to improve your products, competitiveness, efficiency, or outcomes of your business or organization.

If you have an applied research idea that you would like Okanagan College to work on with you, please complete the Applied Research Partnership Form and submit it to: learningandappliedresearch@okanagan.bc.ca

We will schedule a project discovery meeting with you and Okanagan College employees.

Okanagan College maintains a Grants-in-Aid (GIA) fund to support research, scholarly and creative activity among members of the Okanagan College Faculty Association (OCFA). The OCFA collective agreement (Article defines scholarly activity as:

“Scholarly activity shall be understood to include scholarship, research and creative activities. Scholarship involves oral or written activities that reflect a thorough and critical collection of knowledge of one’s profession or discipline. Research involves contributing to the expansion of knowledge and the sharing of that knowledge through appropriate professional means. Research includes application of research findings for purposes of practical application. Creative activities involve creative practice, exhibition, performance, composition, multimedia presentations and other similar activities that reflect applied practice of one’s profession or discipline.”

Each OCFA member may receive up to $4,000 per fiscal year from the GIA fund. This amount is subject to annual review.

GIA Guidelines, Application Forms, and Report Forms are available:

Please note that GIA has a new email address. All applications, reports, and questions should be sent to: GrantInAid@okanagan.bc.ca

With any other questions or queries, please feel free to contact Shannon Hawthorne at shawthorne@okanagan.bc.ca, or at ext. 4962

Ongoing funding programs

  • Up to $75 000 / year for up to three years
  • Applications accepted at any time

The Applied Research and Development (ARD) Grants are intended to provide companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian colleges and to train students in essential technical skills required by companies. The mutually beneficial collaborations are expected to result in economic benefits to the company and/or Canada.

  • Up to $100 000 / year for up to two years (entry level)
  • Applications accepted annually
  • Expression of interest due: 
    • September 1, 2020

The objective of the IE Grants is to increase innovation at the community and/or regional level by enabling Canadian colleges to increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The grants support the growth of applied research capacity, leading to increased business collaborations that facilitate commercialization, as well as technology transfer, adaptation and adoption of new technologies.

  • Up to $125 000 / year for up to three years
  • Applications accepted at any time

Innovation Links Grants are intended to develop and strengthen research links between colleges, universities and businesses to accelerate the development of promising technologies and promote their commercialization into the Canadian marketplace.

Other funding sources

If you are looking for other options to fund your applied research project please contact us directly.  We can help determine the different funding opportunities available to you.

Research Ethics Board

OC is committed to ensuring the highest level of ethical conduct for research involving human subjects and to following the guidelines outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement “Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans”. It is the professional responsibility of all researchers to conduct their research according to the highest scholarly standards, and to adhere to the ethical norms and codes of conduct appropriate to their respective disciplines.



Event Type (field_event_type)
Event Audience (field_event_audience)