May 2, 2022

Advancing health technologies to improve patient care

NEWS RELEASE

(Taken from Government of Alberta News Release)

Through Alberta Innovates’ Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program (HIPP), the Alberta government is enabling innovators access to the platforms, infrastructure, tools and resources they need to turn their groundbreaking health innovations into reality.

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation (CAMS) is a state-of-the-art interactive simulation centre that was built in 2016 to allow health and life sciences students and industry practise true-to-life clinical situations. Through Alberta Innovates, the CAMS Innovation Platform is receiving more than $1.2 million in funding to enhance access to the CAMS facility.

While NAIT has traditionally used the 6,000-square-foot facility for training and teaching purposes, the new funding will extend access to Alberta innovators and job creators. This means that Alberta’s health innovators will have the tools, resources and expertise they need to test and advance new health technologies in a safe and controlled environment.

The facility has nine simulation theatres that can be set up to mimic a variety of clinical and real-world settings, including Canada’s first ambulance simulator and audiovisual capabilities that allow innovators to record or watch simulations remotely with partners for feedback and analysis.

NAIT’s CAMS Innovation Platform is one of three projects that has received funding through Stage 2 of Alberta Innovates’ Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program. The other funding recipients are:

  • The Institute of Health Economics, which has received more than $1.9 million for its economic analysis platform to provide small and medium-sized enterprises and their partners with the analyses and evidence they need to help determine the commercial potential of new health technologies they are developing and help guide important research and development decisions.
  • The Alberta Diagnostics Ecosystem Platform for Translation (ADEPT), a provincewide partnership between the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, the Alberta Precision Exchange (APEX), Alberta Precision Laboratories and DynaLIFE Medical Laboratories, which has received a total of $3 million to establish three living laboratories where Alberta’s innovators can test new diagnostic technologies.

Stage 2 funding for these three projects was previously announced on January 31, 2022.

QUOTES

“Alberta has so much potential to lead the way in health innovation. Our health and life sciences sector has the talent and entrepreneurship to transform ideas into solutions and businesses that will benefit Albertans. This investment is part of our strategy to fuel Alberta’s health innovation economy and attract job-creating investment.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“The Health Innovation Platform Partnership Program helps Alberta innovators access the infrastructure, tools and resources they need, like NAIT’s state-of-the-art CAMS Centre. Partnering with NAIT ensures our investment will contribute to the strengthening of a digital health ecosystem in the province, driving jobs, new businesses and a thriving economy.”

Tim Murphy, Vice-President of Health, Alberta Innovates

“This partnership between NAIT, the Government of Alberta and Alberta Innovates is about making Albertans healthier. NAIT’s Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation is already a cutting-edge space for health-care teaching and training. This funding enables us to open CAMS to innovators developing new and critical health technologies. This investment gives future health-care providers the tools they need to create better health outcomes for Alberta.”

Laura Jo Gunter, President and CEO, NAIT

“Access to state-of-the-art medical simulation services in our own community provides local health and medical companies like ours the ability to test and validate our health and medical innovations right here in Edmonton. The exceptional capabilities of the Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation and their incredible staff collaborating with the great and innovative minds developing these devices and technologies will help us all add value to the health ecosystems in our communities and beyond.”

Talwinder Punni, Chief Executive Officer, Naiad Lab

BACKGROUND

  • Alberta Innovates is a public agency that reports to the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
  • Alberta Innovates’ Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program was launched in September 2020.
    • In Stage 1 of Alberta Innovates’ Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program, 11 platform partnership applicants were each approved for $200,000 in funding to develop their pilot project’s proof of concept over six months.
    • The three successful applicants moving to Stage 2 are receiving funding for up to 75 per cent of eligible expenses to support the partnered platform for up to three years.
  • This investment is part of Alberta Innovates’ strategy to create a digital health industry in the province that serves as a competitive advantage for innovators and delivers better health outcomes for Albertans.
  • According to Bio Alberta’s Life Sciences in Alberta – State of the Industry 2021 report:
    • Alberta’s life sciences organizations are responsible for more than $1 billion in revenues and were expected to employ about 12,400 Albertans in 2021.
    • The majority of life sciences companies are located in Calgary and Edmonton.