Every year brilliant discoveries are made in Dalhousie University’s research labs but without commercialization support many of those discoveries may never lead to potential social or economic benefits. The Industry Liaison and Innovation (ILI) Office, which is the business development arm of the university, is working to get those discoveries out of the labs and into the real world.
“We work to unite talented researchers with local and international companies to help them grow their business and become more competitive,” says Stephen Hartlen, assistant Vice-President of industry relations at Dalhousie and Executive Director of Industry Liaison and Innovation.
One of those unions was made when the ILI office began to work with Diagnostic Radiology Professor, Dr. Daniel Boyd and Dr. Bob Abraham an Interventional Radiologist. The office saw commercial potential in their research ideas and encouraged them to launch the company known today as ABK BioMedical.
Another success story came from Agada Biosciences, who reached out to the ILI office to investigate the prospects of transplanting their company from Washington, DC to Nova Scotia. ILI was pivotal in demonstrating the tremendous support programs for Nova Scotia life sciences companies to help ensure their success, Agada moved to Nova Scotia in 2013. Agada now employs numerous Dalhousie graduates and has extensive partnerships within the Faculty of Medicine.
The commercialization of research discoveries in Nova Scotia is an important financial boost to the region’s economy. With Dalhousie poised as the largest research enterprise in Atlantic Canada and the ILI office facilitating meaningful industry collaborations, more companies like ABK are being launched. The economic and social benefits are far reaching and include the attraction of big industry, investment, start-up formation, job creation and further contributions to research and development in the region.
The office is also a valuable asset to the business community through the transfer of knowledge and technology from the university into the hands of industry. Companies not only benefit from the collaborative facilitation and guidance of the ILI office but can also access various funding initiatives as well.
“We’re proud to be part of the innovation ecosystem in Atlantic Canada and will continue to foster meaningful collaborations with industry,” says Hartlen.