Ceremony celebrates success of early-stage innovators

The innovation journey is by no means quick and easy, and it is important to recognize achievements along the way. This spring celebrated the success of 50 research teams who were looking to move their research-to-impact in the  Evolve to Innovate (e2i) program.

The e2i program, administered by Innovate Calgary and the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking and supported by the Office of the Vice-President (Research), helps postdocs, research staff and graduate students as teams with their principal investigators understand the steps to translate their research into practical solutions.

The eight-month innovation curriculum included topics such as design thinking for research innovations, tech transfer, and intellectual property, resulting in the creation of 11 companies, six patent applications, and 16 invention disclosures to the technology transfer office at Innovate Calgary.

Pitch awards

During the graduation ceremony, eight teams had the opportunity to pitch their discoveries and progress made with the following receiving pitch awards as voted by the audience.

1st place:  Dr. Sara Hassanpour Tamrin , PhD’23, postdoctoral associate, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering. (PI:  Dr. Arindom Sen, PhD ).
Tamrin’s research has led her to develop a novel microfluidic sensing platform, as a next-generation diagnostics, enabling rapid detection of early-stage cancer by identifying cancer-specific exosomes in bodily fluids using a simple liquid biopsy. 

2nd place: Sydney Pratte, MSc’17, BSc’15, BA’15, PhD candidate, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science. (Supervisors: Dr. Lora Oehlberg, PhD and Dr. Anthony Tang, PhD ).
Pratte’s company  nLITEn Tech allows creators to fashion captivating LED art, costumes, props and sculptures without specialized technical skills like soldering, circuitry or coding.

3rd place:  Emmanuel Amaechi, graduate student, Werklund School of Education. (Supervisor:  Dr. Michele Jacobsen, PhD ). 

Amaechi is championing accessible education in Nigeria with  Street2School , which creates mobile learning spaces.

Recipients of awards from the 2023/2024 e2i celebration event. Photos: Richard Saad, Innovate Calgary

Additional awards 

Additional e2i participants were recognized for their accomplishments in the program including Dr. Nicole Rosin, PhD, a research associate in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine working with professor  Dr. Jeff Biernaskie, PhD. 

During e2i, Rosin was accepted to work with the  Academic Entrepreneurs in Residence (AEiR) mentorship program, looking to commercialize their research preventing scarring in severe skin injuries with a novel application. She was recognized with the AEiR award for her commitment to her innovation and her ability to transform guidance and mentoring into groundbreaking entrepreneurial actions.

Inspiration Award:  Kathryn Wolfe, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science’s Department of Chemistry with supervisor  Dr. Gregory Welch, PhD , founded  Chromasense Technologies , which develops sensors using sustainable materials for residential and industrial applications in food safety and public health.

PI Award:   Dr. Amin Komeili, PhD , an associate professor in the Schulich School of Engineering’s Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, was recognized for the support of his e2i trainee’s journey, and dedication in moving their innovation forward. 

"These individuals have not only demonstrated exemplary entrepreneurial spirit, but also showcased their ability to translate groundbreaking research into practical applications that can make a real-world impact," says Bharat Maheshwari, program manager for e2i, and analyst, new ventures at Innovate Calgary. 

"The accomplishments of all 50 research teams from this year’s cohort were impressive and I look forward to seeing who applies as part of our next intake."

At the heart of the e2i program is a commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration. It is a testament to the vision and dedication of both the participants and the organizers who work tirelessly to cultivate an environment where ideas flourish and dreams are realized.

Applications for the 2024/2025 e2i program will open in August. Learn more about how you can be part of this transformative experience.