Western has recruited some of the top PhD graduates, medical students and residents from across the country to be part of the sixth cohort of its Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program.
While some adaptations will take place because of COVID-19 restrictions, the program will still be host to all participants on campus over the course of the program’s 10-1/2 months. The fellowship immerses young scientists, engineers and clinicians in innovation and serves as a platform for starting and licencing a commercially viable product.
The fellowship – the first-of-its-kind in Canada – was established in partnership with the University of Minnesota Innovation Fellows program in 2015. Ordinarily, the majority of the fellowship is completed in Canada, with the initial five weeks spent working alongside Minnesota Innovation Fellows in an educational boot camp.
However, this year’s boot camp is going virtual. Beginning next month, participants will have two weeks online with Minnesota, and an additional week locally, where they will learn topics relevant to business and technology commercialization. The remaining two boot camp weeks will be spread out over the course of the program.
They will then then develop solutions and prototypes by working with researchers, clinicians and technology transfer offices to generate new intellectual property.
Because of restrictive access to local hospitals and clinics, participants this year will be remotely connected with physicians to discuss their project plans.
“There are a few hurdles this year and that, perhaps, can be seen as another lesson in how to overcome obstacles,” said Souzan Armstrong, MIF Program Director. “We’re all going to be together on campus, where teams will be able to help each other with their projects.”
Western’s BrainsCAN initiative committed more than $3.5 million over seven years to the program, along with MITACS and the Western Bone and Joint Institute’s Collaborative Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research.