Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Sheridan College

By: Rhea Puri

In October 2013, Research Infosource ranked Sheridan College as the number one college in Ontario and sixth in all of Canada for applied research. Sheridan Undergraduate Research provides a unique opportunity for any sized business looking to address technical and business challenges that are preventing growth. Based on a record of supporting local industry and community partners, while enriching students’ learning experience through hands-on projects, Sheridan is making its research and innovation resources available to through various applied research project options.  Research projects involve matching a team of Sheridan Faculty leads and student researchers with a client organization looking to overcome a challenge, while enabling access to Sheridan’s facilities and Centres of Expertise. The use of such resources are generally available only to large commercial enterprises because of the great expense, but Sheridan’s programs give smaller enterprises the opportunity to access a variety of the state-of-the-art resources.  Large enterprises also find the availability of multi-disciplinary resources appealing.
Undergraduate research projects allow industry and community partners to engage the students and staff to help solve, innovate, develop, conceptualize, create prototypes and improve business processes and market knowledge. Through their participation, Sheridan’s highly-qualified students gain real experiences with advanced technologies, scenarios and problems they are studying in their classes. Sheridan Undergraduate Research (SURe) projects allow partners to offset some business risk; reduce costs for equipment and labour, and gain access to specialized talent and guidance. The supported industries include: Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Industries, Product Development & Innovation, Aerospace, Animation/Arts, Architecture, Automotive, Automation, Consumer Electronics, Consumer Products, Industrial Machinery, Health and Medical, Security, Defense and Creative Ageing Industries.

Businesses can engage SURe resources in several ways. Capstone projects engage groups of senior students in project-based courses in which the company’s needs are integrated into the curriculum as the core goal. Students complete the work for a course credit and their instructor, who supervises the project, will assess its deliverability to the client. There is also a funded, co-op or non co-op project approach where students work for several months outside of class on a specific deliverable for the client, and are compensated through the research grant or industry support of the project. With this option, the external partner works with Faculty define the deliverables. In all capstone courses, students are guided and supervised by their professor, who monitors their performance and quality of the work. In all cases, the professor and students also meet with the client on an ongoing basis to track progress, overcome roadblocks if they arise or ideate new processes for future collaboration. The conclusion of this project results when the research project has achieved the outlined deliverables. Students may also work on SURe projects as part of internships (similar to co-ops, the deliverable is driven by the client), or co-curricular research activities organized by their professor outside of class.

The facilities at Sheridan College are outstanding for supporting innovation and enhancing productivity. One example is the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT), which has a 40,000-square-foot lab at Sheridan’s Davis Campus in Brampton, Ontario. It is an automation and fabrication centre with the latest machinery, including the most sophisticated 3D production system on the market.

Anyone that works as a technologist or engineer in an industrial setting needs to know at least the basics of Instrumentation and process control, because even if that person is not directly responsible for any of the pressure scales and units of pressure measurement control systems, he or she is surrounded by them. Regardless of job function, sooner or later any industrial employee is going to have to be concerned with the working of a process control set-up. A quality professional will be more likely working in the area of statistical process control. Knowledge of actual process control will be apt to his/her profession.

Students experience hands-on applications and practical aspects of instrumentation and process control through CAMDT. They are introduced to the concept of Instrumentation and Process Control. Process control begins with the measurement of process variables. The measured variable is transmitted to a controller (such as PID) that compares the desired set point and takes the appropriate action. Students focus on various aspects of instrumentation to measure variables and how this instrumentation is used in the field of process control. The instrumentation includes electrical devices, both analog and digital, pneumatic devices, hydraulic devices and mechanical devices. Students achieve the understanding of physical variables such as pressure, current, voltage, level, flow and Temperature. By the end of the training at this lab, students will have demonstrated the ability to understand, review, and organize various instruments used to control various processes in manufacturing industry.

The passionate, hardworking students and knowledgeable staff have completed and implemented projects for companies such as: R.E. Morrison Equipment, AVP Solutions, and more. Sheridan Faculty leads and students are flexible in assisting with design, prototypes, testing, manufacturing, supporting or a combination of these. For more information on this beneficial industry/academic collaboration, contact Dianna Dinevski at dianna.dinevski@sheridancollege.ca  905-845-9430, ext. 2593.

 

Rhea is currently a student at the University of Toronto Mississauga attaining a degree in Communications, Culture, Information and Technology, as well as a certificate from Sheridan in Digital Communications. She has great interest in marketing, the effects of media, and environmentalism. Rhea intends to open a business post-graduation.

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