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"Sirfing" At Humber: Research Projects Benefit Students and Faculty

Dr Andrew Scott, Acting Head of Humber’s Music Degree program (2014-2015 academic year) has been out SIRFing.

Wait, what? Don’t you spell that with a “u”?


SIRF stands for “Staff Initiated Research Fund” and it’s just one of the ways that Humber encourages research on campus. Laura Keating, research facilitator in Humber’s Research Department, explains:

“Our primary focus is to support faculty-led research that engages with students to enrich and supplement their in-class learning. We can provide access to funding programs, both internal and external. We can facilitate collaborations, help with industry partner agreements and help promote the accomplishments of our faculty and students.”


Andrew received the SIRF fund for his project, "Assessing the Business, Technology and Media Competency Needs for Tomorrow's Music Business Professionals Today." In a short video about the project, he says that help from the research office was invaluable when dealing with multiple industry partners.

“It was really a chance for me to reach out to folks in a variety of different aspects of the music industry; people that were involved in the publishing side, the music production side, the music making side, and certainly the music business side.”

SIRF Students

The Staff-Initiated Research Fund is open to full-time faculty and staff at Humber, but students are an important part of the picture. All SIRF projects must include Humber students and part of the evaluation criteria of proposals includes the potential benefit for Humber students involved.

Souleymane Guindo, a music student who worked as a research assistant on Andrew’s SIRF project, says he learned a lot and it didn’t negatively impact his schoolwork.

“If anybody is looking for a way to gain experience in the field, this is one of the easiest ways to do so without taking too much time from your studies.”

The Importance of Research

Laura says research is an important part of Humber’s commitment to providing excellence in all aspects of teaching and learning.

“Research is important in two fundamental ways: 1) when faculty are involved in a research project, this helps them keep current in their field of expertise and to stay informed of trends in their industry and 2) when students have the opportunity to engage in applied research, they have a richer learning experience and build upon the classroom learning with skills that will be valuable as they pursue their post-academic careers.”

HumberLaunch for Students

Laura points out that Humber’s research office isn’t only for faculty. HumberLaunch is an on-campus incubator and accelerator program, which opened in January 2012 to support Humber entrepreneurs.

“The program provides resources such as workspace, mentors, training and education and access to funding to members. Until recently, HumberLaunch was open only to current Humber students or alumni. We have recently been funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence to expand our services into the community. Therefore, we are pleased that we can now offer support to entrepreneurs in our community who meet the HumberLaunch eligibility criteria. Entrepreneurs who are interested in joining HumberLaunch should contact the office for an application form at”

Laura admits they haven’t had as many research proposals from the School of Creative and Performing Arts as they’d like, but, she says, they believe there is a “wealth of innovative projects and partnerships” in the school and they hope to see an increase in demand from SCAPA faculty and students.


Perhaps it’s because people aren’t aware of Humber’s Research Office, or perhaps they’re a little intimidated by the idea of a research project. If it’s the latter, Andrew will ease your fears.

“I think the best part of working on the SIRF project was really the opportunity to engage with the Research Office. I got a huge amount of support from them and it was incredibly easy and enjoyable to work with them, so a big thank you to the Research Office at Humber!”


The Research Office is here to help faculty and students as they pursue applied research and innovation ideas. We encourage people to contact us for any new projects, even if funding is not required. We have access to resources and information that may be of help. It is worth dropping us an email or a quick phone call. We also encourage faculty and staff to let us know about success stories. We promote Humber innovation to multiple stakeholders, and it helps us when we know the amazing things that our faculty and students are doing!

For more information about Humber’s Research Office, check out the website


Watch a short video of Andrew talking about his SIRF project

andrew scott