Faculty of Science Workshop fosters a culture of innovation and commercialization success

The Faculty of Science connected world class researchers with Manitoba’s top innovators and business leaders at its first Research Innovation and Commercialization Workshop on Friday, November 30, 2018. From the development of new biomedical equipment and devices, drugs and pharmaceutical development, artificial intelligence, big data, and renewable energy, many ideas and how to share them with the world were explored.

It was an inspiring and motivational day with an amazing lineup of guests, which included:

  • Mark Evans, President & CEO, Conquest Planning Inc.
  • Silvia De Sousa, Intellectual Property Lawyer/Partner, TDS Law,
  • Mike Williams, Registered Patent Agent, Ade & Company Inc.
  • Marshall Ring, CEO, Manitoba Technology Accelerator
  • Andrea Kraj, CEO, Core Renewable Energy
  • Darren Fast, Director, Technology Transfer Office
  • Joel Semeniuk, Founder and CEO, HORIZONthree
  • Stasi Baran, Co-Founder, nQube Data Science Inc.
  • Rick Mangat, President and CEO, NOVADAQ Technologies Inc.

A new culture of collaboration between industry and academia

“Now, more than ever, the University of Manitoba, must double down on the knowledge economy that will add even greater diversity and resilience to our economy, a fact represented well in Manitoba’s new Economic Development Plan,” stated Joel Seminuk, founder of HORIZONThree, Workshop presenter and facilitator.

Manitoba’s Economic Development plan calls for a new coordinated approach between industry leaders, academia, organizations and government in order to unlock the untapped economic opportunities in Manitoba.

“Translating research breakthroughs into economic growth requires deliberate and continual collaboration with industry,” added Seminuk. “This collaboration, combined with a strong entrepreneurial mindset, will act as the seeds used to grow and reshape Manitoba’s economy and bring more significant opportunities and prosperity to all Manitobans. The Innovation and Commercialization workshop, hosted by the Faculty of Science at the U of M, is an important step towards this future, and meeting future global demands.”

Seminuk, points to a recent report by the Council of Canadian Academies released in 2018, stating Canada, along with the rest of the world, is beginning to experience economic pressure to change driven by rapidly evolving environment, commercial, political and technological realities.

A sentiment echoed by opening plenary speaker, Mark Evans, who shared his own phenomenal story of success from founder, CEO and President of EISI, to founder and CEO of the newly established, Conquest Planning Inc.

Receiving expert perspectives and guidance

Closed mentorship breakout sessions at the Workshop provided an opportunity for researchers to get expert advice and guidance from Manitoba’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders. Legal counsel was also offered so that researchers could better understand how to protect and maximize their intellectual property.

Saman Muthukumarana, Department of Statistics, appreciated hearing the stories of success and receiving the expert perspectives and guidance on his research projects and current initiatives.

“The workshop was great and got me thinking about my research beyond the scope of what I thought was possible,” said Muthukumarana. “I’m now looking forward to what I might achieve and understand the challenges I might anticipate. This is something we don’t get in our typical academic workshops and seminars.”

Jim Mansfield, Global OEM Business Development Manager at Andor Technology, underscored not only the workshop’s importance for researchers and academics, but also  for graduate students in preparing them for careers outside of academia and raising awareness about commercialization.

“In talking to students, researchers and facilitators at the event, there is still a big knowledge gap in how to properly protect IP and commercialize it,” said Mansfield. “One mis-step along the way can greatly reduce the eventual value of any IP. It was gratifying to hear how much the participants learned from their interactions. I think that more workshops like this, across all Faculties, would be very beneficial to faculty, student and the university.”

Overall research participants unanimously agreed the event was fantastic and look forward to future events. The Faculty of Science will continue to play a leading role on campus supporting research, innovation, and industry collaboration. Initiatives like the Workshop embody the University of Manitoba’s strategic framework to be nationally and internationally recognized for research excellence and innovation and a key contributor to Manitoba’s economic development.