SCIENTIFIC NEWS AND
INNOVATION FROM ÉTS
Starting a Business in Montreal - By : Clarisse Bascans, Sophie Jeandel, Caroline Lau,

Starting a Business in Montreal


Clarisse Bascans completed a Master of Research (abbreviated MRes.) Degree as part of the combined undergraduate/master program agreement between ÉTS and INSA Lyon. She also successfully completed the ÉTS Short Graduate Program in Surgical Innovation.

Sophie Jeandel was an exchange student and completed a MRes. as part of the agreement between ÉTS and Compiègne University of Technology. She was introduced to research during an internship on the morphofunctional analysis of the shoulder, supervised by Professor Nicola Hagemeister.

Clarisse Bascans
Clarisse Bascans Author profile
Clarisse Bascans completed a Master of Research degree specialized in Healthcare Technology at ÉTS. She holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from INSA Lyon (France) and a Certificate in Surgical Innovation from ÉTS.

Sophie Jeandel
Sophie Jeandel Author profile
Sophie Jeandel completed a Master of Research degree specialized in Healthcare Technology at ÉTS. She holds a degree in Biological Engineering from UTC (France). She is co-founder of Avisio Qualité.

Caroline Lau
Caroline Lau Author profile
Caroline Lau holds a Master of Research degree in, specialized in Healthcare Technology at ÉTS and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at McGill. She worked at the LIO as research professional and quality manager.

City of Montreal

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Introduction

We are two young French ÉTS graduates (August 2018), with a MRes. degree in health technology engineering. By the end of our Master’s degree, we set up a company with Caroline Lau, a Quebecer who also earned a MRes. at ÉTS in 2010. Both holding an engineering degree in France, we wanted to start our professional career through entrepreneurship. With this article, we want to explain what guided our choice to stay in Montréal as well as the benefits of our Master of Research.

Montréal, Our Adopted City

Our two years of graduate studies gave us time to appreciate Montreal’s charm and multicultural diversity, and to become attached to this unique city that, although expansive, remains quite human and accessible. In addition, Montréal is a very dynamic and highly innovative city, most recently in healthcare, thanks to government initiatives like the Stratégie québécoise des sciences de la vie, launched in 2017. The City of Montréal allows initiatives of all kinds to emerge, and health innovation events flourish every day, allowing for easy networking. Furthermore, we could easily be made to feel that we lack experience but the Quebec mentality is such that we feel very supported in this ecosystem. Having recently graduated is not a problem for our partners who, on the contrary, are happy to hear new ideas from young people and to give us a chance.

The Rewards of Our ÉTS Research Masters

Sophie discovered the research community during her end-of-studies internship, under the direction of Nicola Hagemeister at the LIO. Her project made her want to expand her knowledge in the health sector and acquire skills that complemented her engineering degree in biology, while acquiring actual experience in project management over two years. Sophie finally decided to complete a Master of Research, during which she acquired data on osteoarthritis patients in order to establish links between pain and muscles. Meanwhile, Clarisse, following her studies in mechanical engineering, planned to pursue a career in aerospace. After discovering Montreal’s dynamic health sector, she wanted to learn more about this field through research.

During the two years of our Master of Research, we each managed a project from beginning to end: from defining a problem and its related objectives, to developing a method, its verification as well the results analysis. Research also means discovery sharing: we became involved in national and international scientific conferences, made oral and poster presentations, and wrote a paper. Project management, autonomy and the ability to write and popularize our work are all skills that we developed during our Master’s studies. This path also brings self-confidence, because we realize that we are able to carry out a longer-term and more challenging project than before, as students.

When we arrived at ETS, we were immediately struck by the professors’ availabity and the confidence they showed us, something we have greatly appreciated and not taken for granted. We completed our Master’s degree at the Imaging and Orthopedics Research Laboratory (LIO), directed by Professor Jacques de Guise. This is where we met Caroline who was working at the Laboratory. The laboratory, made up of a group of professors including Nicola Hagemeister, our research director, is an open innovation laboratory that places the patient front and centre and maintains numerous partnerships with industry. It is also the first in Canada with an ISO 13485 certified quality management system. The dynamic nature of the laboratory has allowed us to meet and work with patients and health professionals of diverse profiles, and to be aware of new developments and opportunities.

In addition, the confidence instilled by the professors helped us to get involved in ÉTS student life, particularly in the student association, and more specifically in the Graduate Student Committee. We were part of the team that created the first ÉTS student researcher conference (Congrès des étudiants chercheurs), in November 2017. In addition, during her Master’s degree, Sophie represented the ÉTS graduate students and Clarisse completed a short joint program in surgical innovation at ÉTS and McGill and Concordia universities. These experiences allowed us to develop skills valuable in the professional world: taking initiatives, managing problems and unforeseen events, showing autonomy, etc.

Our Business – Avisio Qualité

 

Caroline Lau, Clarisse Bascans and Sophie Jeandel, founders of Avisio Qualité

Caroline Lau, Clarisse Bascans and Sophie Jeandel,
founders of Avisio Qualité

Avisio Qualité is a quality management consulting company in the field of medical devices. We offer personalized support services for the implementation and maintenance of quality management systems according to the ISO 13485 international standard, and short-term training and audit services. These services are offered to all stakeholders of the health innovation ecosystem including university research laboratories, start-ups and SMEs. Created in April 2018, our start-up company already has two clients.

 

Having evolved in an ISO 13485 certified environment has shown us the importance of the certification of healthcare research laboratories, as much for the standardization of working methods and traceability of results, as for facilitating transfer to industry. The need for support regarding quality issues in the design and development of medical devices is growing both in companies and in research centres. Through Avisio Qualité, we aim to position ourselves in the heart of the health innovation exosystem, in order to accelerate the transfer of innovative medical technologies and bring them more easily to the patient’s bedside

Throughout the creation of our company, we have received strong support and still benefit from the mentorship of the LIO professors and counsel from our mentors: Richard Chénier, director of Centech, Eric Szmutny, himself a consultant and industrial partner of the LIO (EMOVI) and Jacques de Guise, director of the LIO. Attracted by new skills external to engineering, we are now part of the 2018–2019 cohort of HEC Montréal incubator’s EntrePrism program.

Conclusion

Since arriving in Montreal, we have been constantly learning, which has driven us to seize opportunities and take risks. Completing a Master of Research or starting a business can be daunting, however our field training has allowed us to learn a great deal about ourselves, our chosen field, and the working world. We urge everyone to follow their dreams and seek new adventures, to give themselves the means of attaining their goals, and even more so, to do it in a supportive environment such as Montreal!

Clarisse Bascans

Author's profile

Clarisse Bascans completed a Master of Research degree specialized in Healthcare Technology at ÉTS. She holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from INSA Lyon (France) and a Certificate in Surgical Innovation from ÉTS.

Program : Healthcare Technology 

Research laboratories : LIO – Imaging and orthopedics research laboratory 

Author profile

Sophie Jeandel

Author's profile

Sophie Jeandel completed a Master of Research degree specialized in Healthcare Technology at ÉTS. She holds a degree in Biological Engineering from UTC (France). She is co-founder of Avisio Qualité.

Program : Healthcare Technology 

Research laboratories : LIO – Imaging and orthopedics research laboratory 

Author profile

Caroline Lau

Author's profile

Caroline Lau holds a Master of Research degree in, specialized in Healthcare Technology at ÉTS and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at McGill. She worked at the LIO as research professional and quality manager.

Program : Healthcare Technology 

Research laboratories : LIO – Imaging and orthopedics research laboratory 

Author profile


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