Dr. Pooja Viswanathan, CEO of Braze Mobility Inc., displays obstacle-detection sensors that can transform a regular wheelchair into a “smart” wheelchair. (CNW Group/AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE))

Michael Montgomery, Ph.D., wanted to use his civil engineering expertise to make high-rise buildings safer. Pooja Viswanathan, Ph.D., wanted to apply her programming skills to make electric wheelchairs easier to use. Mayrose Salvador, Ph.D., wanted to share her love for science and belief that scientific knowledge can advance global health and improve economic success.

Each of these innovators have highly technical expertise and a passion for making an impact on the world. They are also all founders of startups selling products and providing programs that are transforming their vision into reality.

Igniting Impact: Apply your discoveries and expertise

But before they were founders they had to learn how to identify and apply their expertise to an opportunity. Our new Igniting Impact events will work with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who want to apply their discoveries and make a positive impact. Attendees will be paired with Impact Centre staff and entrepreneurs who will work to help identify opportunities where they can apply their skills in the sciences and engineering and how they can find the supports needed to develop their solutions.

“Graduate students and post-docs have spent years developing incredible expertise in their field and are interested in seeing their work have an impact in the world,” says Leo Mui, entrepreneurship program manager at the Impact Centre. “But when they want to apply their expertise and discoveries they can find it difficult to know where to start. Igniting Impact will provide a starting point and a leg up for these innovators to realize their potential across accessibility, energy and health.”

From transportation to diagnostics, read about Techno alumni making an impact.

The three events will focus on different technology areas and provide the opportunity to win up to $5,500 in cash as well as access to space, equipment, and mentorship to jumpstart their idea. January 23 will focus on assistive technologies, January 30 on energy efficiency, and February 7 on improving health. Groups that show dedication to move their ideas forward will also be eligible to participate in the Impact Centre’s Techno flagship entrepreneurship training program.

“The Impact Centre is dedicated to connecting science to society, and supporting the next generation of innovators is vital to bringing the best science the University of Toronto has to offer into the world,” says Prof. Cynthia Goh, director of the Impact Centre.

Learn more and apply to one of the Igniting Impact sessions at: http://www.impactcentre.ca/ignite