SFU Innovates year in review

Looking back on 2018, SFU Innovates celebrates another year of innovation, research and changemaking across the university. We saw how a PhD student used virtual reality (VR) to help people increase mindfulness. We celebrated the installation of a $4.5 million electron beam lithography system in 4D LABS, Simon Fraser University’s state-of-the-art materials science and engineering facility. And SFU’s Director of Entrepreneurship was selected as a leader of Canada’s Innovation Agenda. 

Here are just some of the many highlights from SFU Innovates in 2018.

SFU’s Joy Johnson recognized for career contributions to women’s health

SFU’s Vice-President, Research and International, Joy Johnson received an award for her career contributions in women’s health from the Women’s Health Research Institute. The annual award, recognized Johnson for her work as the Scientific Director of CIHR Institute of Gender and Health and contributions in developing and implementing initiatives surrounding gender and health. These contributions to women's health can still be felt to this day as Johnson continues to promote and support research across disciplines. 

Rethinking VR for the benefit of society: an interview with SFU changemaker and woman in tech, Mirjana Prpa

In 2017, SFU was designated as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, the first in British Columbia. SFU has a long history of changemaking prior to this designation, and the university’s commitment to change, has continued to present day. SFU PhD student, Mirjana Prpa is rethinking VR for the benefit of society. She was recently recognized as “future of the field of art, science and technology” at Leonardo’s 50th Anniversary Celebration for her work and unique approaches to researching and designing experiences in VR. It’s through Prpa’s commitment to changemaking, social innovation and her entrepreneurial mindset that make her a changemaker.

Engaging Canadians in the Innovation Agenda: digital innovation leader and SFU’s Director of Entrepreneurship, Sarah Lubik

Sarah Lubik, SFU’s director of entrepreneurship was named as one of 10 national innovation leaders that have been tasked with helping form—and engage with Canadians to inform—the Innovation Agenda’s areas for national action. As SFU’s first Director of Entrepreneurship, a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, and co-champion of the Tech Entrepreneurship@SFU program, Lubik has been actively developing, aligning and accelerating SFU’s innovation ecosystem for years.

SFU VentureLabs® Awarded Top Challenger in North America by UBI Global

SFU VentureLabs® is a world class science and technology accelerator with the mission to scale-up technology companies by connecting them with the talent, research capacity, entrepreneurial expertise, capital and international expansion opportunities needed to accelerate business growth. The year was one that held many successes for VentureLabs. The accelerator was awarded Top Challenger in North America by UBI Global.

In addition to this international recognition, through the Ignite program, Innovate BC awarded $841,500 to SFU projects (working with VentureLabs) to accelerate commercialization of innovative and technological research. The university and VentureLabs also received some local recognition on the 2018 Ready to Rocket list—a list of the top privately held companies in British Columbia that are positioned to capitalize on growth in the technology sector—for 26 of its programs and university-affiliated companies.

[Students with SFU President and Vice Chancellor, Andrew Petter, Vice-President Research and International, Joy Johnson and Associate Vice-President, Research, Dugan O’Neil.]

SFU Innovates and researchers in full force at the 2018 #BCTECH Summit

SFU continues to be committed to innovation, entrepreneurship and industry partnerships through a variety of initiatives and activities such as the #BCTECH Summit—the largest technology conference in Western Canada. Johnson was selected to present at the 2018 summit on Harnessing Big Data for Innovation

SFU has been an Innovation Partner every year since the technology conference started, three years ago. At the 2018 summit, the university showcased its innovative research, initiatives and programs. SFU Innovates programs that support the innovation ecosystem were showcased, including RADIUS, VentureLabs and Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection®. These SFU Innovates programs were developed to help SFU students and alumni transform their ideas in the classroom, lab and community into ventures that scale. 

SFU Faculty of Education’s Paula MacDowell is empowering girls to pursue education in engineering and technology

At the 2018 #BCTECH Summit, SFU faculty members exhibited their innovative research. A total of 16 SFU researchers were selected to showcase their groundbreaking projects. Just some of those in attendance were SFU Faculty of Education’s Paula MacDowell, Mechatronic Systems Engineering’s Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park, Linguistics Professor Maite Taboada, and the School of Interactive Arts and Technology Professor Wolfgang Stuerzlinger

First in Western Canada-Nanotech installs $4.5-million electron beam lithography system at SFU

SFU’s 4D LABS is a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art materials science and engineering facility. The facility exemplifies SFU’s efforts in creating industry and community research partnerships. 4D LABS had an eventful year: the company, Nanotech Security, installed a $4.5 million electron beam lithography system at the lab. This is the first of its kind in Western Canada and will create nanotechnology up to 10,000 times smaller than human hair. Further to that, in November 2018, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) invested over $1.9 million to equip 4D LABS with a new Centre of Advanced Manufacturing and Integration (CAMI). 

As we celebrate SFU’s commitment to innovation in 2018, we look forward to only more advancements and successes in 2019. We have a strong and dedicated community of changemakers, innovation and entrepreneur leaders, researchers and programs that position SFU at the forefront of innovation on a national and international scale.