The Western Medical Innovation Fellowship - the first-of-its-kind in Canada - was established in partnership with the University of Minnesota Innovation Fellows program in 2015. Highly qualified individuals are recruited from PhD graduates, medical students and residents. Six Fellows have completed the program to date; those alumni have continued to create and deliver new technologies in their professional careers through start-ups or have continued to practice medicine while applying aspects of the innovation process to improve patient care. Work of the Fellows has generated six patent applications and four start-up companies so far.
Fellows are paid similar to postdoctoral fellows for the 10.5-month program, which consists of the following:
- A five-week boot camp at the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center. There, the Fellows will be exposed to 100+ speakers (including academic researchers, clinicians, industry representatives and venture capitalists) who will provide training on innovation, prototyping, intellectual property, regulatory affairs and business strategy. They will be able to build valuable networking connections with Minnesota's medical device community and even engage in project collaborations with Minnesota Innovation Fellows
- WORLDiscoveries Week on the Western Research Park. Fellows will receive further instruction on policies, procedures, intellectual property and regulatory guidelines in Canada, at Western, Lawson and their research partners. They will learn how to complete Reports of Innovation, receive training on patent searches and business & market evaluations
- Three weeks of clinical/research immersion at London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Care and BrainsCAN. Fellows will spend the time shadowing clinicians in operating rooms, clinics and imaging suites to identify unmet clinical needs. This stage begins with pre-selected areas of high potential for development, but it does allow freedom to move to any topic that could yield a worthwhile innovation. As a team, the Fellows study and evaluate various projects within each of these areas and select those with the highest commercialization potential
- Designing and prototyping will follow the immersion phase. The Fellows will begin their research and development, collaborating with appropriate clinicians and researchers to create new devices and software to meet clinically identified needs. They will refine ideas, assess potential markets and evaluate capacity for intellectual property, filing a Report of Innovation with WORLDiscoveries for each promising innovation. They will be able to access existing services and facilities (e.g., at Robarts, Western and Lawson) to design, prototype and test technologies
For more information, see the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship program’s own website - http://www.uwo.ca/research/funding/students/MIF.html