Welcome to the Health Innovation Hub (H2i)! In May 2015 Professors Paul Santerre and Joseph Ferenbok were appointed as Co-Directors of H2i.
Professor Paul Santerre,
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Rosebrugh
Faculty of Dentistry,
Dept of Biological and Diagnostic Sciences, Div of Biomaterials
University of Toronto Toronto
The translation of science into clinical practice for the benefit of all in society has become one of the major shifts in Canadian and International research enterprises and it moving towards becoming a hallmark feature of today’s publicly funded landscape. While in 1960, the latter may have been considered an unwelcomed invasion of pure and unbiased scientific discovery, in 2015 it is becoming more and more recognized as the best way to ensure that the process of scientific discovery can continue to be invested in at the levels needed to secure new discoveries.
The deliberate linking of science for the benefit of everyday life and the realization that industry and the creation of industry is part of the equation must be a fundamental and integrated strategy of any thriving research program today . This reality does not only affect our faculty members but also our trainees and their careers.
A recent article in of Canada’s “University Affairs” magazine reports that less than 18% of Canadian PhDs have full-time tenured or tenured track positions but yet 65 to 85% of new PhD graduates aspire to obtain a tenured-track faculty position (Feb 2015 issue). In a report from the Conference Board of Canada (January 6, 2015) it is reported that 60% of PhD’s find employment outside of academia and another 20% while in academia are not in permanent positions. The greatest dilemma with the disconnect between career aspiration and real job outcomes, is that our departmental/Faculty planning strategies within our Universities have traditionally not deliberately and pro-actively exposed their students to the extra-curricular skills sets that would allow them to apply their knowledge in fields outside of academia.
Imagine a cycle where fundamental research spins a commercializable idea that a trainee takes and drives with industry to a success story that requires research support from a University Laboratory, generating funding for that lab and success for that company, and jobs for those trainees!
The future is ours, let’s seize the opportunity to be part of it and to make Health Research Matter!
Joseph Ferenbok, PhD
Translational Research Program in Health Science,
Institute of Medical Science
The Health Innovation Hub isn’t exactly an incubator because we currently do not offer internal designated work space for our members or unstructured programming that is exclusively designed to ‘grow’ your early stage business. H2i isn’t exactly an accelerator because we currently do not offer any residency type programs that allow members with established businesses to scale their ventures. H2i is both and more.
Our focus is on enabling innovative ideas and thinking—so we are about early stage ideation and support. We are about education–teaching people who want to problem-solve in the Health Science space how to initiate their ideas. We are about facilitating through mentorship, advice and occasionally seed funding. H2i is also a collaborative mechanism to scale and diffuse existing ventures. Our advantages are our networks, our partnerships and our ability to connect people with researchers, key opinion leaders and professionals ranging from business leaders to purchasers.
Our central mandate is to help people who are trying to make a difference in health and health care. We are here to help and to enable others who want to help and do.
Division of Anatomy,
Department of Surgery,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Toronto