Today’s Poll

Selkirk Innovates Pushes Rural Research Boundaries

Bob Hall
By Bob Hall
January 30th, 2023

Digging deeper into a multitude of rural issues to establish facts and data-driven evidence for decision-makers, Selkirk Innovates is producing results and helping guide the region into a more informed future.

With more than $3.7 million in government and private sector funding actioned in the fiscal year ending March 2021, Selkirk College’s arm for research and innovation sits 29th in the latest rankings of Canada’s top research colleges. The small rural college also made the winner’s circle ranking fifth in the country for research intensity, meaning the relatively small core team of researchers are responsible for an extremely high level of R&D output.

Selkirk College also ranked second in paid student internships for institutions with an operating budget under $75 million and second for securing a high proportion of federal research funding.

“Getting to this point has been a lot of hard work, but Selkirk Innovates is now firmly established as a go-to research destination for both government and private industry,” says Dr. Terri MacDonald, the Director of Applied Research & Innovation.

“We have an experienced team in place, a long list of tangible outcomes and variety of college programs that ensure we are able to bring in enthusiastic students who are eager to problem solve. Being on the list of top colleges from across the nation helps illustrate the trust our partners have in what can be accomplished by this team.”

During the period of reporting, Selkirk Innovates had 81 research partnerships that included all three levels of government, not-for-profit organizations and an eclectic mix of private industry clients. In the one-year period, the research team completed 92 projects and were involved in 36 ongoing projects.

Some of these projects included: rural homelessness and COVID-19, community-based resilience planning, the State of the Basin, local government climate change adaptation, COVID-19 and digital technology response support for small companies, forestry and hydrological recovery, and rapid prototyping. 

Applied research and innovation is nothing new to Selkirk College. In 2006, the provincially-funded BC Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development was created.

With a goal of developing the capacity in the region for sound decision making in matters related to economic development and assisting in the diversification of the regional economy through the promotion of research and innovation, it provided vital building blocks to what has become a key component of what Selkirk College offers both students and the community.

Growth in this area of the college has been steady in recent years, from $1 million in projects in 2016 to the most recent funding figures. With the foundation of work continuing to grow annually, Selkirk Innovates is poised to build on its leadership in this area of post-secondary.

“All of this is connected to student success and providing real world learning opportunities for our students,” says MacDonald.

“At the end of the day, we are facilitating the development of a highly innovative regional workforce by making that critical connection between applied research, student learning, and community development.”

Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges is published annually by Research Infosource Inc. which can be found online at:

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