The provincial government is providing $3 million to support cutting-edge research through Mitacs, a not-for-profit research and training organization, Health Minister Terry Lake announced today.
“The funding we are announcing today will help Mitacs support its trainees to further cultivate their business and scientific skills,” said Lake. “This will help them in developing innovative discoveries to assist us in delivering even higher quality care.”
With offices across Canada; including at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, Mitacs offers a suite of unique training and research programs to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Students gain valuable experience in applying their advanced training in the private sector, while local businesses gain a competitive advantage by tapping into this level of expertise.
“This funding will help cultivate innovation in the life sciences sector,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. “By developing young minds and assisting businesses in identifying ways to support innovation, it is a benefit for all British Columbians.”
An example of the work Mitacs researchers have participated in is with Sechelt-based SideStix Ventures. The company has developed the first and only shock-absorbent forearm crutches with attachable tips for a variety of terrain. Their benefits over traditional forearm crutches include a built-in shock absorber, better-angled handles, and cork handgrips for comfort. SideStix crutches are mainly used by people with amputations or those with chronic disabilities.
“Investment in the next generation of innovators — those who will play an important role in the innovation and advancement of British Columbia’s health care system — are essential to the province’s long-term goal of delivering a high standard of care,” said Dr. Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director of Mitacs.
A Mitacs intern’s research showed that the crutch effectively changed body movement while reducing impact, allowing users to walk further with less pain.
“The research our Mitacs intern completed was instrumental in helping us validate and refine our products and take them to the next level, making a difference in the comfort and ease of SideStix users. Without this collaboration, our products would not be what they are today, or insured by extended benefits,” said Sarah Doherty, co-founder of SideStix.
Government has provided Mitacs with $20 million since 2006/2007.
For more information on Mitacs and the work of their researchers, please visit: www.mitacs.ca
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