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‘Energizing’ process

Planning underway for first innovation strategy at Memorial

By Jeff Green

Memorial is creating an innovation blueprint.

Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), and Dr. Paula Mendonça, director of innovation and entrepreneurship, are leading the process to develop the university’s first Innovation Strategy.

The goal is to outline ways Memorial can enhance its support of the many facets of innovation, including innovation programming, social and cultural innovation, entrepreneurship and innovation-driven research.

Dr. Bose says it is timely for the university to take on the project.

Dr. Neil Bose is pictured in black glasses and a white striped shirt.
Dr. Neil Bose
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“Innovation is knowledge that is captured, adapted and used to create new value,” he told the Gazette.

“For decades, Memorial has supported and led innovation and innovative thinking in Newfoundland and Labrador. Developing an innovation strategy is the next step in our ongoing commitment to support and promote innovation in our province and beyond. We are formalizing a plan to take our support and services to the next level.”

Planning for an innovation strategy reflects Memorial’s response and commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal No. 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

As Newfoundland and Labrador’s university, Memorial is proud to play an active role in supporting and fostering a culture of innovation, notes Dr. Mendonça, (PhD’10).

Dr. Paula Mendonça
Dr. Paula Mendonça

“Memorial-led innovation is making a difference to communities here at home and abroad,” she said.

As examples, she points to SucSeed, a company that began as an Enactus project and is now bringing hydroponics into classrooms and communities to increase access to produce; WaterLily, a hand-held water turbine to charge electronic devices with water and wind that started as a prototype in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to monitor the subsea and seabed environment; and a research team from the Faculty of Medicine that made the groundbreaking discovery of a deadly cardiac muscle disorder and led life-saving screening methods and preventive treatments that are now being implemented in other countries.

Aligns with strategic plan

The new strategy builds upon the university’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Strategy, approved in 2015, and Memorial’s institutional strategic plan, approved in May, as well as other initiatives to support innovation.

In December 2020 Memorial announced the creation of the Signal Initiative, which co-ordinates a group of members of the provincial innovation ecosystem and Memorial for discussion and collaboration, all with the goal of supporting and strengthening innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We are hearing testimonies of Memorial’s vital role in supporting innovation.” — Dr. Paula Mendonça

The Innovation Memorial website was refreshed with updated information, and the @InnovationMUN Twitter account and #InnovationMemorial were launched.

Dr. Mendonça says the plan is to meet with a variety of internal and external stakeholders over the coming weeks.

To gather as much input as possible, an online survey is also available.

“The response so far has been energizing,” she noted.

“We are hearing testimonies of Memorial’s vital role in supporting innovation and opportunities to enhance our services. I look forward to hearing more thoughts, ideas and suggestions.”

To learn more about Memorial’s Innovation Strategy planning process, please see here. Feedback can also be provided via email.

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