U of G Part of Canada’s First Global Impact Competition

March 31, 2014 - Campus Bulletin

Six people from across Canada – including a University of Guelph graduate student – will pitch ambitious ideas on how to change lives and improve life during the first Canadian Global Impact Competition April 2.

The inaugural Canadian event will be held at the Linamar Hasenfratz Innovation Centre in Guelph from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

It’s one of 16 such events taking place this spring around the world. The competitions were created by California’s Singularity University (SU) to address challenges facing the world and to identify entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists and engineers whose innovations might make a difference.

The Guelph event is sponsored in part by U of G and Innovation Guelph. It was organized by Adam Little, a 2013 DVM graduate of U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College and an alumnus of Singularity University’s 2013 Graduate Studies Program.

“Global Impact Competitions are held all over the globe, and Canada has never hosted one before,” Little said.

“I approached Innovation Guelph about hosting one here in the city and they jumped on-board, along with a number of other stakeholders. As an alumnus of both SU and Guelph, it has been an incredible opportunity to build off of the tremendous foundation the University provided and bring exposure to the amazing work happening all around us.”

Entrants were invited to submit proposals for using technology to improve the standard of living in Canada in the next five years. Six finalists were chosen, including Gavin Armstrong, a U of G biomedical sciences PhD student. Armstrong heads the Lucky Iron Fish project, which aims to combat life-threatening anemia.

Each finalist will have six minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges. The winner will receive free enrolment in Singularity University’s 10-week graduate studies program, which brings together 80 students selected from thousands of applicants worldwide.

Based at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, SU runs curricula in emerging technologies, including biotechnology, computers, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, as well as executive programs and medical conferences.

“Our six finalists represent the next generation of game-changing thinkers and entrepreneurs who will help solve Canadian and global challenges,” Little said.

Besides Armstrong, finalists are:

  • Ruslan Dorfman, Maple, Ont. – a molecular geneticist, founder and CEO of GeneYouIn Inc., developer of the personalized drug response database PillCheck;.

  • Tamara Etmannski, Calgary (currently living in the U.K.) – a recent University of Oxford PhD graduate (engineering) with an idea for an online thesis archive called Stackz;.

  • Oded Greemberg, Montreal (currently living in Haifa, Israel) – an innovation strategist with an IT solution to neutralize risks from asset-sharing transactions;.

  • Lily Jain, Oakville, Ont. – a medical geneticist, integrative medicine practitioner and co-founder of the HealthBuddy medical device; and.

  • Gord Stephen, Ottawa – a software developer aiming to make energy efficiency investments easy, automatic and scalable.

The competition judges include Tom Corr, president and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence; David Roberts, director of Singularity University's graduate studies program and an award-winning CEO and entrepreneur; and Jamie Doran, chief operating officer of Innovation Guelph.

“The Canadian Global Impact Competition will catalyze change for growth, prosperity and community well-being across the country,” Doran said.

“Innovation Guelph thanks all our government and community partners who have provided support and worked with us to bring this global challenge to Canada.”

University of Guelph
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