Lethbridge (Rural Roots Canada) –  Lethbridge College has ranked 16th on the list of Canada’s top 50 research colleges, its highest-ever ranking and the first time it has cracked the top 20.

The list, compiled by Research Infosource, also ranks the school fifth in research income growth, the third straight year Lethbridge College has been recognized as one of the country’s 10 fastest-growing research colleges.

Megan Shapka, Director of Applied Research Operations at Lethbridge College, says being recognized as one of the top research colleges in the country is gratifying, adding it speaks to the region’s prosperity and the need for the research it’s conducting. 

“You don’t climb in these types of rankings and build up your research capacity without that being industry driven. I really think what we’re doing here is needed by industry. We’re really focusing on our strengths, and our key niche areas of expertise and then driving that forward.”

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Shapka believes the turning point for the college was bringing in the right researchers.

“We went out and we looked internationally for those right researchers. Dr. Chandra Singh, for example, was in Australia when we brought him on board. We knew there was a need to address the value-added production capabilities of this region so we went out a found an expert. So finding the right people has helped accelerate our growth.”

As for engaging with industry partners, Shapka says the college has a simple selling point.

“The biggest selling point for industry is that we’re here for them. They come to us with their challenges and we use innovation in our research to solve those challenges. So they are coming to us because they know we’re going to do something real applied and applicable that they can commercialize.”

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Lethbridge College intends to keep growing its applied research portfolio by adding more expertise and state-of-the-art facilities in the years ahead.