28 Aug 2018 |
Research article |
Life at ÉTS , Health
Bringing Together Researchers and the Health Technology Industry
On June 6, ÉTS hosted an event entitled Conférence et réseautage avec l’industrie — Technologies de la santé. As the name suggests, the conversation began with a series of presentations by players from various backgrounds and ended with a cocktail reception during which participants had the opportunity to discuss and share their experiences.
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The event began with an address by the main organizer, Mr. Lotfi Chouanine, research advisor at ÉTS, who welcomed the participants and outlined the event’s objective, which was to “bring together all the players in health technology innovation to foster partnerships with researchers and industry.” Mr. Chouanine’s presentation was followed by Jean Belzile and Claire Samson, respectively Director, Strategic Development, and Dean of Research at ÉTS, who emphasized the importance and diversity of research opportunities in health technology to meet the constant momentum of today’s world, as well as the need for win-win partnerships between all stakeholders (academics, industry, etc.) to generate significant benefits.
ÉTS holds a privileged position in this niche: indeed, 60% of health research conducted at ÉTS is done in collaboration with industry. The event was organized in partnership with NSERC and MEDTEQ, whose representatives also emphasized the importance of research collaboration in achieving positive outcomes for patients. The purpose of the event was well defined: to publicize the work of all parties and to develop successful collaboration. To better illustrate the benefits of collaboration, two speakers from the United States were also invited.
Lecture by Jennifer Gottwald
The first guest speaker was Jennifer Gottwald, PhD. Ms. Gottwald has over 15 years of experience as Senior Licensing Manager at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). WARF’s mission is to foster innovation and support researchers at the University of Wisconsin in bringing their inventions to market. The university is unique with respect to marketing major technologies, such as vitamin D administration by irradiation (in 1926) and the development of influenza vaccines. One of its features is that it grants its professors the intellectual property rights that stem from their research.
WARF is an independent non-profit organization at the University that supports researchers and helps them further their research by finding industrial partners or helping them to start businesses in order to market their products. This service is critical since, in order to avoid taking huge risks, pharmaceutical companies prefer to invest in commercializing near-market-ready products.
Lecture by Rubén D. Flores
The second speaker, Rubén D. Flores, PhD, is Director of the Office of Innovation and Commercialization at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). UCSD is the world’s leading university in the number of active patents and is involved in the creation of many companies. This is in part the result of multiple strategies implemented by the University to create, find and market innovative ideas. Among UCSD’s strategies is the establishment of multiple on-campus centres of excellence where different players/experts can gather to focus on specific technological topics. Students also get the opportunity to find mentors who can help make their products appealing for the marketplace.
These strategies include different events like marketing panels, competitions, etc. Not only do these activities allow experts to meet and potentially collaborate, but they also give innovation and marketing departments a better idea of ongoing projects on campus and provide targeted and adequate support to projects demonstrating a commercial interest. The University also recently launched a website: http://sandiegoinnovationcouncil.org, a platform that brings together players willing to invest time and money in marketing new products or to start new businesses.
Research Professors Involved in Health Technology
The conference proceeded with presentations by ÉTS professors, who described very interesting and diversified research projects in health technology. The purpose of this exercise was to showcase the tremendous work done on a daily basis by experienced ÉTS researchers, and to promote collaboration with manufacturers and investors in the audience. All projects presented targeted a specific health issue and proposed a wide variety of technologies: biomechanics to prevent and protect from traumatic injuries, big data for large-scale genetic studies, artificial intelligence, signal analysis for hearing protection, etc. Participants could see the extent of health technology research activities conducted by ÉTS professors, namely (in order of appearance):
- Yvan Petit
- Nicola Hagemeister
- Luc Duong
- Ismail Ben Ayed
- Sylvie Nadeau
- Sylvie Ratté
- Hervé Lombaert
- Natalia Nuño
- Alain April
- Jérémie Voix
- Maarouf Saad.
Industrial Partners and Marketing Support Organizations
Six industrial partners (Kaloom, Dassault Systèmes, Pega Medical, Zimmer Biomet, Elekta, Kinova Robotics) then presented their various health research projects as well as new projects for which they wanted to hire trainees, or to partner with a university. It is important to note that Kinova Robotics is a commercial success that originated from ÉTS.
Closing presentations were given by various organizations in the field of new product marketing support describing their services and how they can help entrepreneurs and project developers reach this critical stage in business: marketing. The organizations were NRC, PERFORM Centre, Centech, Aligo and CTS Healthcare.
The event ended with a networking cocktail during which participants had the opportunity to discuss and potentially find ways to collaborate in the future.
Video of the event
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Atma Adoungotchodo is a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at ÉTS. Her research project focuses on the development of injectable chitosan hydrogels for intervertebral disc regeneration.
Research chair : Canada Research Chair in Biomaterial and Endovascular Implants
Research laboratories : LIO – Imaging and orthopedics research laboratory