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GPRC – Celebrating a Decade of Research & Innovation

By Jessica Sanderson

This year, Grande Prairie Regional College’s (GPRC) Research & Innovation (R&I) department celebrated its ten year anniversary. Over this past decade, the department has fostered a supportive culture for research by aiding student and faculty in research projects, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

In 2006, Dr. Weixing Tan started his microalgae research. In 2011, construction began on the Pollutants to Products solarium and GPRC received the grant to begin its first applied research initiative. The result of this research is that Dr. Tan and his team have created the most efficient microalgae photobioreactor in the world.

The benefits of microalgae are many, it can be used to create marketable products such as cosmetics, feedstock for fish and animals, dietary supplements, and food for people. The system can also clean air, generate oxygen, and treat wastewater. The Beaverlodge National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC), started in 2012, is the first  comprehensive laboratory in Canada to provide a full array of diagnostic services exclusively for bee pests, pathogens, and parasites. Every year, they perform over 20,000 bee diagnostic services for beekeepers, researchers, agencies, and industries.

After five years of extremely successful work, the Centre has received the funding to expand their lab space. This expansion will triple the lab’s current size and capacity, allowing them to perform even more diagnostic services. This expansion will also allow them to share lab space with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, allowing both groups to collaborate more easily.

GPRC R&I encourages and supports students and faculty in a variety of different projects that have a lasting impact on our community and beyond. One such project is Dr. Connie Korpan and Dr. Michelle Yeung’s Community Enhancement Research. In 2015, GPRC partnered with the RCMP, Alberta Health Services, and the City of Grande Prairie to find long-term solutions for mental health issues.

Student opportunities with GPRC R&I include internships with the research initiatives and also funding for their own projects. This May, R&I was able to award three students in the psychology program with $5,000 each to develop their research proposals. Research and innovation are not just for the sciences, other projects include research into the history of beer in Canada, reinventing how Indigenous Studies are taught, art installations, and literary fiction. This diverse approach to research and innovation has allowed the College to support the creation of some many exciting projects.

In order to showcase some of the amazing work they have done in the past decade, they invited the community to visit their open house on September 22. GPRC offered tours of the carbon capture solarium and the NBDC. At the campus, posters explaining many of the current R&I projects were displayed along the hallway windows. The open house was concluded with a big celebration in Howler’s Lounge.



GPRC R&I encourages and supports students and faculty in a variety of different projects that have a lasting impact on our community and beyond.


When GPRC Research & Innovation was looking to increase visibility of their department, to tie their different teams together, and catch students’ attention, they chose to work with imageDESIGN based on past experience working with our design team. The series of banners was the first step in their new look and sets the tone for an inviting, modern brand.

Contributor: Jessica Sanderson

Jessica Sanderson studied as an English major, minoring in Publishing, and graduated from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She has written for various publication, has been writing for years, and loves the written word.