17 Nov 2016 |
Research article |
Entrepreneurship & Management
New Graduate Microprogram: Surgical Innovation at ÉTS, McGill and Concordia!
The École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), in collaboration with McGill University and Concordia University, are offering graduate students the possibility of registering for a Surgical Innovation Program. This new academic approach allows students from the three academic institutions to learn how to develop surgical innovations as a team. The main objective of the program is to conceptualize and develop innovative medical devices to improve patient care.
Participants who wish to go on to set up a business will be encouraged and supported by ÉTS.
An Exceptional Experience
This unique inter-university program allows students to observe the reality and everyday life of medical teams in order to substantiate in real time certain technical needs that could be met. To do so, interdisciplinary teams of surgical, engineering and business students will identify needs during hospital visits to the McGill University Health Center (MUHC). Together, they will then choose a technical problem that can be solved through the development of an innovative and commercially viable technology. The team members will each draw on their expertise and participate in all stages of the project, from needs analysis to marketing.
Multi-disciplinarity, an Important Factor
Combining disciplinary methods within the team enhances both knowledge and effectiveness. Being able to observe a problem or consider a solution as an engineer and analyze it with colleagues in medicine and business administration provides a whole new perspective. As mentioned by Jean-Baptiste Chossat, a former program participant:
“In our team, engineers thought of a technical solution that could work with sound alerts. Our physician colleagues quickly steered us in other directions, because too many sound devices in medical equipment make it almost impossible for a practitioner to differentiate the sounds, especially in emergency situations. As a result, our solutions were focused on a device made of indicator lights and a system of sensory vibration. This solution has since proven to be a competitive advantage for us.”
It is the cross-fertilization of observed results and different approaches that enrich the collected information. In this way, students have a more complete, even systemic, understanding of the needs they observe.
An Inter-University Partnership
The Surgical Innovation Program began in 2013 as a result of a collaborative effort between Natalia Nuño, Professor of Health Technology Engineering at ÉTS, and Dr. Kevin Lachapelle, Surgeon and Associate Professor of Surgery at McGill University. When they tried to pursue this collaborative surgeon-engineer approach with their respective students, the professors noted that there was no academic training in Canada that favored academic collaboration between physicians and engineers. The ÉTS, McGill and Concordia Surgical Innovation Program was inspired by the Biodesign program at Stanford University, in California.
Wanting to incorporate a commercial aspect in order to achieve an optimal level of innovation, the John Molson School of Business Master’s program, at Concordia University, was part of the venture from the beginning. Six co-directors implemented the first version in 2014:
|Natalia Nuño, ÉTS|
Vincent Duchaine, ÉTS
|Sandra Betton, Concordia|
Thomas Fevens, Concordia
|Dr. Kevin Lachapelle, McGill|
Jake Barralet, McGill
The NSERC CREATE Grant, Industrial Section
The new Surgical Innovation Program received a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under the CREATE industrial stream. This grant will help expand the academic program by offering industrial internships and fellowship opportunities to students.
How do I Register for this Surgical Innovation Program?
The program is offered to all enrolled students or those who intend to enroll for the 2017 fall semester in a relevant Masters or Ph.D. program. It should be noted that because of the nature of the courses (in teams and multidisciplinary) and limited access to the MUHC when observing needs, the number of participants from each university must be restricted.
Vincent Duchaine is a professor in the Department of Automated Manufacturing Engineering at ÉTS. He specializes in robotics, mechatronics and touch sensors, and directs 2 innovation programs: with McGill and Concordia, and with ESG UQAM.
Program : Automated Manufacturing Engineering
Research laboratories : CoRo – Control and Robotics Laboratory
Natalia Nuño is a professor in the Automated Manufacturing Engineering Department at ÉTS. Her research interests include biomechanical modeling, design of orthopaedic prostheses, fixation of implants and stress analysis.
Program : Automated Manufacturing Engineering
Research laboratories : LIO – Imaging and orthopedics research laboratory