Georgian receives federal funding for pandemic research project

The project is to develop a state-of-the art mobile COVID-19 screening station

Georgian College is among 52 institutions that will receive close to $28 million in research infrastructure to cover projects that address the urgent need for equipment for ongoing research related to COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the funding on Friday. Funds will flow from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Georgian’s piece of the pie is $33,476, the first CFI grant for the college.

The research project will be led by Eli Kane, a professor in Georgian’s Big Data Analytics program, and is a collaboration between the college and 360 Technology and Innovation Group Inc. (360 Technology) to develop a state-of-the-art mobile COVID-19 screening station that builds on 360 Technology’s existing COVID-19 monitoring platform. The mobile nature of this screening station allows the user to move the station into position based on their needs for on-site testing. The mobile station will include thermal scanning, a digital screening survey, an automated entry system to confirm and allow safe entry for those that pass screening, facial recognition for assessing an individual’s on-site travel path to enable safe operations and aid in cleaning protocols, and an integrated contact tracing application to manage community outbreaks.

“Canadian researchers and scientists are helping to protect our health and safety and are key to finding our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “With this funding through the Exceptional Opportunities Fund, the Government of Canada is ensuring these talented Canadians have the equipment and tools to support them in their very important work.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Georgian to contribute to the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Mira Ray, Director of Research and Innovation at Georgian. “The CFI funding will enable our research team to complete development of a health detection and security solution that employs automated screening, contact tracing, and real-time notifications.”

“Proper mechanisms to mitigate the risk of increased cases are important as business and social activities increase in our communities,” added Ray. “This system will help businesses provide safe environments for their employees and customers, and in doing so, can help manage community outbreaks.”

The research project will take place over the next six months, with a prototype product available to local businesses and communities by summer 2021.

More information about Georgian’s Department of Research and Innovation and its projects can be found on the college’s website.