Engineering prof bearing torch for UWindsor in provincial research campaign

Rupp Carriveau feels like a torchbearer for UWindsor’s research community.

“We have so many people doing such incredible things and that’s what really makes me proud,” said Dr. Carriveau. An associate professor in civil and environmental engineering, he’s participating in a province-wide awareness campaign aimed at convincing the general public about the importance of university research.

Earlier this week, the Council of Ontario Universities launched “Research Matters,” a campaign that illustrates how university research ultimately impacts everyone’s life.  One of its key components is a content-rich web site that contains video, photos, blogs and stories about university researchers and their work.

Each of Ontario’s 21 universities was asked to submit a list of five candidates to represent their institution and Dr. Carriveau was selected from that list to represent UWindsor.

“I feel like I’m representing all of the outstanding work of my colleagues from all across campus,” he said. “It’s actually very humbling in a way.”

Carriveau went to Toronto last month to record his segments for the video and had the chance to meet with top researchers participating in the campaign.

“It’s a really amazing community to be a part of,” he said. “We’ve got incredible universities in this province. Every university is such a high calibre institution, and you really get a sense of that when you take part in an initiative like this.”

Ontarians invest in the work that university researchers do, and this campaign gives them an opportunity to see first-hand the return on their investment, said Patchen Barss, the campaign’s managing editor.

“Ontarians deserve the opportunity to connect directly with the wealth of university research in this province,” he said. “This campaign gives them those opportunities.”

The campaign was launched Monday in Toronto at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery conference, an annual event to showcase top academic-industrial partnerships in the province and to encourage innovation, commercialization and job creation by bringing together mentors, venture capitalists and people with great new ideas.

On Tuesday, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid made a special announcement to acknowledge some of the top new ideas in the province and one of them was a project that has consumed a fair bit of Carriveau’s time over the last few years.

Along with his team, Carriveau has been testing the validity of an energy storage system for a Toronto-based company called Hydrostor Inc. The system involves storing energy generated by wind turbines during off-peak hours by converting it into compressed air, storing it in large underwater bags moored to the bottom of the lake, and releasing it through tubes to the surface and regenerating electricity when demand is higher. Carriveau’s story is included on the Research Matters web site.

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