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Government funding for B.C. researchers’ business and science skills


June 27, 2014
By Canadian Chiropractor staff

June 27, 2014 – The provincial government of British Columbia is providing $3 million to support cutting-edge research through Mitacs, a not-for-profit research and training organization, Health Minister Terry Lake has announced.

“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.

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“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.


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