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Pillar 3: High impact research

Fostering Entrepreneurship & Innovation through Research

Developing effective innovators and entrepreneurs requires a safe environment to unpack complex problems, brainstorm ideas, evaluate solutions, test concepts, take risks, and learn from failures. Dalhousie is committed to providing the environment, opportunities, and programming that encourage participation and result in success across our start-up ecosystem.

The world is changing, and our students will need resilience and ingenuity to find new and better ways forward. Dal Innovates, a hub for world-leading research, innovation and entrepreneurship, empowers students to deal with complexity and helps them develop the attitude and mindset they need to drive change.

At the backbone of the programming is the Lab2Market suite, which includes a progression of learning and support so participants can determine if an idea is ready and able to make a difference in the world. A proven success with graduate students and researchers, the program is now being expanded into undergraduate and non-research opportunities.

The effectiveness of the Dal Innovates program was recognized this past fall, when Dal received the Deshpande Symposium Award for Technology Commercialization, which recognizes leading universities globally for excellence in delivering programs that empower students and researchers to turn their research-based innovations into market-ready enterprises.

“It was a tremendous validation of our programs,” says Jeff Larsen, assistant vice-president, innovation and entrepreneurship. “It's been amazing to see our students and researchers learning how to commercialize research and start companies to make a positive impact in the world.” 

An award-winning program

Raphaela Andrade is a great example. Andrade entered the Lab2Market ecosystem as a PhD student, continued as a postdoc, and has now graduated from the Prime Stream at the Dal-hosted Creative Destruction Labs (CDL) Atlantic. Co-founder of the start-up Myomar Molecular, Andrade has developed an easy, at-home test to monitor muscle health. The innovation just recently earned her the Mitacs Outstanding Entrepreneur Award.

It’s success stories like these that have contributed to CDL-Atlantic passing the $1 billion mark in equity value creation—a solid indication of the impact the program has made within our innovation and entrepreneurship community.

From innovation to impact

By continuing to expand and evolve programming, Dal Innovates is helping our students and researchers translate their innovations into real-world impact. And by working closely with local organizations to address barriers faced by entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, we can ensure the program offerings are grounded in local needs and networks. Such progress will benefit our region and further drive our industry engagement while equipping students to find solutions for the future.