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Innovation in the Faculty of Science

Submitted by burnsc on Fri February 26, 2016 - 2:10pm

Innovation at UCalgary

Innovation requires a broad skill set, from teams diverse in background and experience. This includes: researchers, inventors, technicians, administrators, technology architects, developers and entrepreneurs. Some team members may only be interested in part of the innovation process. Some of the most successful research to deployed technology at UCalgary, have been driven by graduate students, postdocs, technicians and academics.

Innovation is just another part of the broad, inclusive spectrum of research and application activity at the University of Calgary, that link in a non- specific order:

  • Discovery (new knowledge, basic or applied)
  • Invention (seeing potential application in knowledge, new device or process)
  • Applied research (developing applications)
  • Innovation (impactful delivery of a solution or application to society)
  • Solutions (encompass a wide variety of forms, including but not limited to, commercial applications)


In November 2016, President and Vice-Chancellor Elizabeth Cannon hosted the 2016 Peak Scholars Celebration Luncheon. Scholars were nominated by their Deans to be recognized for their achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge engagement where their academic work has had an impact outside of the academy; including community and knowledge engagement, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, innovation, and collaborative research, resulting in a positive social or economic impact in our communities.

In 2016, we also welcomed University of Calgary patent holders to the Peak Scholars community. Innovate Calgary joined the celebration to recognize 43 individuals who received patents between 2012–2016.

Meet Steve Larter

In January 2015, Dr. Steve Larter has been appointed for a two year term as Special Advisor to the Dean, Innovation. Steve has been a long-standing member of the Department of Geoscience and comes to the role with substantial innovation experience. He is passionate about the opportunities and potential in our faculty. Recently he wrote a commentary on the importance of a innovation mindset for university’s in the Globe and Mail. 

Steve also participated in a 2013 Calgary TedX talk.

You're Invited to Skunkworks

After last weeks three inspiring stories and business pitches around food, organic photocells and tutor management, this week's skunkworks meeting will again be a startup clinic based on two startup concepts around:- energy and water cost management and assistive device solutions. The event is in the Science Collaboration Space ST 142, in the Science Theatres Area, at NOON on Wednesday May 17th.


AGENDA: Startup pitches, Sustainabills, Kadima Dynamics, Feedback and commentary on the projects. Updates and innovation news at UoC including joint meetings with Rainforest group on May 24 and the Innovation Reactor Program on Sept 13 (Update and requests and queries to be sent separately).

LOCATION: Science Collaboration Space (ST 142)

You are invited to be a part of a group of Faculty of Science innovators  come together to combine talent and ambition to talk about discovery, invention and innovation and what that looks like for our faculty.

If you aren’t familiar with a skunkworks approach – it’s a small group of people who work on a project in an unconventional way. The group's purpose is to develop something quickly with minimal management constraints. Skunkworks are often used to initially roll out a product or service that thereafter will be developed according to usual business processes.

One goal of the group is to link current activities in our faculty, the Schulich School of Engineering and the Haskayne School of Business to build stronger connections with Innovate Calgary and local, national and international business communities.

There is no agenda or format to these weekly sessions, but if you want to find out about others’ innovation and research experiences, both successes and failures, and bring your own perspectives, come along with your lunch and coffee mug.


We encourage early stage innovators and those thinking about their ideas to come to the Skunkworks innovation clinics and get feedback-every Wednesday!

 For those interested in contributing lab shows to the Beakerhead event in September, you are also encouraged to attend and discuss your ideas. Please let us know in advance when you want to come and talk.

Skunkworks student, postdoc INFORMAL advising CLINICS

Skunkworks sees its role at helping to build the burgeoning University of Calgary innovation community in any way we can. We are especially focusing on helping, encouraging and hopefully, in time, resourcing, early stage ideation, innovators and startups at, or before, their beginning points. To help achieve this, we hold informal clinics and discussion sessions whereby early stage innovators, with barely more than an idea, can come and get feedback on their ideas and recommendations for support and routes to success. It's free!

If you don't know if you have an idea or not, come and talk about it.

Calgary Tesla Award

For those interested, we also offer a clinic program that provides automatic entry to the Calgary Tesla Award competition for 2017, if you return for a second discussion session to present your idea and venture to Skunkworks.

This early stage innovator award (Calgary Tesla Award), focused at student's and postdocs, has been generously provided by the Calgary Tesla Society. Talk to Jagos Radovic if you want more information on the Calgary Tesla Society. A substantial cash prize will be awarded at the Innovation Reactor event on September 13 2017, for the most inspiring and innovative venture proposed.