Dr. Timothy Bryant, professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen's and co-director of HMRC heads the new initiative.
The funding is part of a new Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) initiative named Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. CREATE was designed to help science graduates expand their professional and personal skills so they can make a successful transition from the classroom to the workplace.
"Complex research projects must be seen from every angle, and there is no better place to do this than at a university and a hospital where there are experts in almost every area," says Queen's Biochemical Engineering student Laura Towsley. "The CREATE grant will provide undergraduate and graduate students in Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Computing an opportunity to work on an applied and collaborative, biomedical research project. Being part of a multi-disciplinary, hands-on project like this would be an invaluable experience contributing to the development of my research abilities."
The funds will be used to help program participants learn professional skills that are not part of their normal academic training, such as understanding health policies, looking at business models for commercialization, understanding medical ethics issues, and learning how to participate in public events.
"One of the most exciting aspects of the program is its flexibility," says Dr. Bryant. "For example, we have partnered with the Ontario Centres of Excellence, which is providing access to its training programs in commercialization and entrepreneurship. The NSERC CREATE program takes advantage of the unique relationship between Queen's and Kingston General Hospital that supports patient-focused research and training that integrates scientific, technical and clinical skills."
This is the first year for the CREATE grants, and 20 projects at universities across Canada will share $32 million over six years. The program was initiated to improve the skills of Canada's next generation of scientists and attract high-caliber students to Canadian institutions.