The global need for new health technology solutions is the impetus for an agreement signed today by Simon Fraser University, the City of Surrey and France's Société d'Accélération du Transfert de Technologies (SATT Grand Centre).
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizes a relationship between Canadian researchers and SATT Grand Centre, which serves as a key interface between its network of researchers and companies to promote innovation in four French regions.
The MOU will spark collaboration and shared expertise between Canada and France across a range of innovative projects involving SFU's Digital Health Hub, a platform for digital health solutions within Surrey Innovation Boulevard.
It will also involve national research initiatives of which SFU is a member, including AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), which develops healthy aging solutions, and NeuroDevNet, dedicated to the study of children's brain development.
"As Canada's 'Engaged University,' SFU is keen to contribute its strengths in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to these collaborations in an effort to find creative solutions to critical global healthcare challenges," says SFU President Andrew Petter.
The agreement paves the way for exchanges of scientific information and technology trends, including the creation of an international innovation network and startups competition, exchanges, and technology launch support in Europe. It will also set the stage for joint grant applications and the future creation of start-ups with international reach.
"As a genuine growth accelerator, SATT Grand Centre encourages innovation by researchers from the public research sector based in its regions," says Daniel Burtin, President of SATT Grand Centre. "Our major goal within this ambitious collaboration is to share development of valorization programs or projects of mutual interest over the two continents, and to amplify the worldwide impact of our contribution to the technological progress."
SATT Grand Centre's focus on diagnostics and medical devices strongly aligns with SFU's work in areas of technology and aging underway at the University's Gerontology Research Centre (GRC) as well as the Digital Health Hub, says Andrew Sixsmith, GRC Director and AGE-WELL's Co-Scientific Director.
"AGE-WELL's focus on driving innovation, and creating technologies and services that benefit older adults and caregivers, aligns with SATT's commitment to encouraging transfer of inventions by research teams to meet the needs of new markets. AGE-WELL has played an important role in today's agreement and will collaborate with SATT to develop and deliver needed technologies that will benefit Canadians and the global community."
Dr. Daniel Goldowitz, Scientific Director, NeuroDevNet NCE says: "NeuroDevNet looks forward to sharing made-in-Canada technologies and partnering with SATT affiliates: to improve the identification of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, to employ evidence-based interventions to assist these individuals, and to support children and families in France who are living with developmental disabilities."
The Digital Health Hub, as part of Innovation Boulevard, will foster partnerships that take innovation in areas of health technologies and digital health in bold new directions. Technology "soft landings" and start-up incubations will follow.
"In Surrey, we are determined, creative, and take a decidedly "get it done" approach toward developing health-tech incubators and expertise for companies and researchers, to accelerate their work both at home and abroad," says Mayor Linda Hepner. "The MOU signed today between the City of Surrey, SFU and France's SATT Grand Centre is proof that we are forging ahead with our vision for Innovation Boulevard not just locally, but internationally."
Adds SFU Vice-President, Research Joy Johnson: "SFU is committed to improving the wellbeing of Canadians through its participation in national research initiatives, and its work with SFU Innovates' partners like Surrey Innovation Boulevard. We look forward to collaborating with France's SATT Grand Centre to extend the impact of these efforts on an international scale."