Selkirk Innovates Officially Launched

Tremendous Growth in Applied Research and Innovation Spurs New Umbrella


Carrying forward with a core Selkirk College commitment and streamlining exciting internal growth is the impetus behind the launch of Selkirk Innovates.

Innovation is one of five fundamental commitments in Building Remarkable Futures: Strategic Plan 2019-2024. Over the last four years, the annual operating budget for the college’s research and innovation arm has grown from $1 million to $3.9 million. In the past year, more than 100 faculty and students have worked on 97 different research and innovation projects.

Selkirk Innovates

Some of the Selkirk Innovates team outside the Applied Research & Innovation Centre that is located at the Castlegar Airport. With a budget of $3.9 million, over the last year Selkirk Innovates worked on 97 different projects that employed 106 faculty members and student research interns.

“We are the little engine that can in a rural setting,” says Dr. Terri MacDonald, the Director of Applied Research & Innovation. “We are so proud of our exceptional and unique success where a small team is able to build its own capacity through collaboration and a climate of inclusion. It’s an incredible group of people doing amazing work where they are leading change in our communities by solving problems and creating valuable learning experiences. This is what our success is built upon.”

Selkirk Innovates incorporates the different teams and work in this area that has been taking place on our campuses over the last few years—the Applied Research & Innovation Centre (ARIC), Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI), Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre (SGRC), the BC Regional Innovation Chair (RIC), and the Selkirk Technology Access Centre (STAC). These entities continue to exist, but will now fall under the Selkirk Innovates umbrella.

The launch includes new pages on and a new visual identity. Bringing it all together will make operation of the department more seamless internally and easier to understand externally, leading to more opportunity.

It All Points Back to Learners

Selkirk College is currently ranked 39th on “Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges” list and is second only to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the province.

Though making important inroads on a national level is an indicator of overall success, the focus of Selkirk Innovates remains on the learner. Along with those directly involved in paid research internships, students in a variety of Selkirk College programs are exposed to highly specialized technology and expertise. Students in the School of Business, School of Environment & Geomatics, School of University Arts & Sciences, School of Health & Human Services and the School of the Arts are all benefitting from the ongoing research, new equipment and continual knowledge enhancement for instructors.

“It’s about taking the challenges in our region and connecting it to learning,” says MacDonald. “What helps to make us leaders amongst our peers in the sector is that we are making the critical connection between applied research and learning. Our students are a part of everything that we are doing, that’s why we are doing it. It’s not about just serving the community externally, it’s about that sweet spot where we are doing both purposely with the learners right at the centre.”

Selkirk Innovates’ growth is expected to continue with both students and faculty acquiring in-demand knowledge and skills, which results in them bringing their exceptional abilities into the community. Work integrated learning allows graduates of Selkirk College to transition into positions that are sought after in a multitude of sectors.

“Employers are excited to scoop up our graduates because they have the latest in technological know-how and the latest in thinking,” says MacDonald. “The essential complex skills of the future like problem solving, collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship… how do you teach that? The best way is to throw learners into the fire of a complex real-world challenge and get them working on projects while you coach them along the way. That’s the ultimate, that’s what we are doing and that is why our graduates are so desirable. We are preparing the next generation workforce while helping our partners in a cross-section of ways.”

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