Research Day 2013 succeeds in showcasing student research to industry and strengthening ties between the two

Research Day 2013

Photo Credit: Ann Lin

On October 9, 2013, the Chemical and Biological Engineering (CHBE) Graduate Students Association hosted a successful, inaugural all-day event that aimed to foster dialogue and future collaborations between students and industry.

Research Day is an initiative that was agreed upon after the UBC Chemical and Biological Engineering Department determined that research carried out by its students should be showcased to industry more often. The CHBE Graduate Students Association took to the task, and invited five industry attendants to set up booths on Research Day.

Members of the Canadian Society for Bioengineering, BC Bioenergy Network, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Mitacs and the APEGBC attended, and were treated to a student-led poster session portraying and explaining their research. Coordinating the poster sessions to coincide with the industry booths eased the access to student work and developed working relationships between the two.

With a focus on ‘Energy, Water & Sustainability,’ Research Day’s student participants competed in a contest that sought to recognize the best research poster displayed in the session. First place was awarded to PPC researcher and PhD candidate Mehrnegar Mirkvakili for her Superhydrophobic Fiber Networks Loaded with Functionalized Fillers, and second was given to Amir Maleki from the Complex Fluid Lab for his Macro-Drop Encapsulation.

A representative of the BC Bioenergy Network praises this slight departure from the purely academic mold. “Students are solving practical problems here,” he says. “With exposure to an industrial perspective in events like this, I like to mention that their work has economically beneficial potential.”

One presentation session, two keynote speakers and professional development workshops completed the vibrant and welcoming networking atmosphere that persisted throughout the Research Day.