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Talking innovation in Gander

Innovation isn't limited to large urban centres.

On June 14-15, the Harris Centre and a group of Memorial researchers and grad students will travel to Gander to share their research with community leaders from the Kittiwake Regional Economic Development Zone, and discuss opportunities for innovation in the region.

Several events are planned, beginning with a bus ride to the region including stops at innovative businesses along the way and lunch at the Barbour Living Heritage Village Site in Newtown.

After checking in, Memorial guests, and community members alike, are encouraged to take in a Memorial Presents event entitled, Manufacturing and Regional Development: Opportunities and Challenges. The talk will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Andy Fisher, a faculty member with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dr. Fisher will be joined by a panel including Shane Noble, marketing and sales, with New Wood Manufacturers and Noble Mouldings, and Bill Stirling, vice president, Manufacturers and Exporters Newfoundland and Labrador.

The next day will bring the researchers and community members together at the Harris Centre's 16th regional workshop. This one is organized in partnership with the Kittiwake Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) and has been planned to reflect the needs of the region as identified by the region.

The morning session will include an overview of all Memorial research taking place in the region. Immediately after, the participants will break into four groups for focused discussion on four regionally-important topics identified by the KEDC: business and innovation, culture, heritage and tourism, natural resources, and healthy communities.

The primary point of the breakout sessions is to come up with tangible research projects that would benefit economic and regional development in the region. Once the ideas are captured, they will be brought back to Memorial, where the Harris Centre will broker them through the university, with the ultimate goal of finding researchers to take on all of the projects.

"At regional workshops, researchers and community members work together to set priorities and formulate research questions," explained Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre. "Community-based research is about listening to community needs and allowing local expertise to inform academic research," he said. "It's a two way communication process that makes for better research and better community development."

Interested in joining in at the regional workshop? Please contact Bojan Fürst at 864-2120.

The tour and Memorial Presents event on June 14 are not mandatory, but for those workshop participants interested in taking part, a free bus will leave Memorial in the morning of June 14 and return the evening of June 15.