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IDEAWORKS Catalyst Fund empowers college faculty innovation in applied research

IDEAWORKS Catalyst Fund empowers innovation among college faculty through applied research


The 2023-2024 IDEAWORKS Catalyst Fund (ICF) is currently supporting 14 Mohawk College faculty and staff researchers engaged in nine different applied research across diverse fields such as biotechnology, construction materials testing, and cardiac sonography.

Since its inception in 2015, the ICF has promoted innovation at the college by investing in emerging researchers and fostering applied research collaborations with industry, non-profit, and community organizations.

The fund not only provides staff and faculty with the means to address real-world problems through research and innovation but also underscores the importance of student involvement in applied research at the college. Each project listed below offers students valuable real-world experience in their respective fields, equipping them with skills essential for the job market.

In the 2023-2024 cycle, the ICF is supporting various research projects through its seed funding:

Algae Types and Growth Trends in the Hamilton Harbour

Professors Ethan Paschos and Alysa De Bellis are conducting an analysis and testing project in collaboration with MacWater Diagnostic Research Initiative (MDRI). The goal is to leverage Mohawk’s expertise in environmental monitoring to understand cyanobacteria growth in Lake Ontario (Hamilton region), addressing its impact on drinking water, fisheries, agriculture, tourism, real estate, and water quality. The research team aims to identify algae types, monitor cyanobacteria using eDNA, and develop testing methodologies to provide crucial information to MDRI for further research.

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography for Infants in Canada

Researchers at Mohawk College’s Institute of Applied Health Sciences, including Babitha Thampinathan, Jacqueline Wheatley, Jennifer Burton, Judy Jones, and Cameron Redsell-Montgomerie, are validating Intelligent Ultrasound (IU)’s pediatric echocardiography simulation platform, Babyworks. This project aims to assess the simulator's effectiveness in training professionals to detect congenital heart disease, supporting IU’s growth strategy within Canada.

Recycled Concrete vs. Limestone and Sand & Gravel Aggregates: A Comparative Study

Professor Irene Amog collaborates with Lafarge, an international provider of building materials, to conduct performance tests on their sustainable recycled concrete material in comparison to limestone, sand and gravel aggregates. The research shows that high-quality controlled recycled concrete granular material has similar physical appearance and performance to limestone and sand & and gravel aggregates in road base applications while adhering to industry standards. Mohawk College holds the distinction of being the first Canadian post-secondary institution certified by the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL).

Indigenous Research Methodology

Led by Carlie Myke and Amanda White, this project aims to create a purpose-built methodology and procedure for research projects at Mohawk College or in partnership with the institution. The methodology involves foundational consultations with community members from Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations, and Urban Indigenous communities. It informs the procedure for Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, outlining responsibilities to partner communities.

IDEAWORKS Grant Release Fund

In addition to awarding ICF Seed Funding to four projects, the ICF Grant Release Fund also provided funding to support researchers Ian De Geer and Christine Sager for their applied research project with Interval House, Krissy Doyle-Thomas for her CIHR-funded project to advance inclusive mental health support for Black Canadians, Christine Boyko-Head for her collaboration with Rabbittown Community Centre, and Stephen Adams for his applied research collaboration with the National Air Force Museum of Canada.

The ICF program is now accepting applications for projects that will be undertaken in 2024-2025. For more information on eligibility and applications to the ICF, please email andrea.johnson4@mohawkcollege.ca