KPU offers research and grant program for students

Accepted applicants can receive up to $5,000 in funding for sustainable development projects

Erick Samera, one of the first students to receive funding through the SRIG program for his project on bacteria and food digestion. (KPU/Flickr)

This year, Kwantlen Polytechnic University introduced the Student Research and Innovation Grant (SRIG) program for students to gain research and innovation experience. 

After a pilot program was launched in September last year, 28 applicants were accepted into a program which granted a maximum of $5,000 to cover salary and expenses while under the guidance of an advisor for their projects. 

“It provides students at KPU, who are predominantly in undergraduate programs, a chance to experience such an innovation that many other places would be considered only at the graduate level,” says Deepak Gupta, associate VP for research, innovation and graduate studies. 

One requirement for students’ projects to qualify for the grant is applications must be connected to at least one United Nations Sustainable Development Goal

“The purpose of … students [connecting] their projects to one UN Sustainable Development Goal is to encourage and think about the impact that their work can have. It allows students to be purposeful and think about long-term consequences and benefits and the impact in which they wish to have on their communities,” Gupta says. 

Erick Samera, one of the first students to receive funding through the program, recently completed a smaller component for a larger project at the Applied Genomics Centre involving bacteria and how it can help our bodies digest food. He said some of the funding went to the necessary chemicals and reagents for the project. 

“I think the super cool part of it is, as a student, I get to go out and learn things that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do,” he says.  

Samera says his project connects to the “zero hunger” and “climate action” of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by looking at reducing methane from the byproduct of cows by altering their feed without harming them.   

Royal Roads University student Emily Townsend is also taking part in the program through a collaboration with KPU and received funding for her project. 

“My research project right now is focused on looking at the potential adaptability and palatability characteristics of Andean potato cultivars. [It] is a cross-cultural comparison between potato farmers in Canada and them potato farmers in Ecuador,” Townsend says. 

Comparing how potatoes are produced between samples in Canada and Ecuador could help incentivize the latter to keep potatoes growing in hopes of making sure potato seeds aren’t lost in the future. Townsend met with Ecuadorian farmers over the summer and will meet with a few Canadian farmers this month regarding progress on the project. 

The program is open to all current KPU students, so long as they have an advisor guiding them on their projects. Gupta says this can include faculty members.