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Student innovators win big at Discovery conference

Victor Yang at OCE

Victor Yang of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with President Sheldon Levy at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery conference in Toronto. Yang’s student Peter Siegler, a post-doctoral fellow in biomedical engineering, was one of eight neuroscience entrepreneurs awarded the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) – OCE Fellowships of $50,000.

Ryerson student and alumni-led innovations in energy, brain surgery, inclusive technology and crowd-sourcing jewelry manufacturing were recognized recently at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery conference in Toronto. Collectively, they received more than $100,000 in the Experiential Learning Program (ELP) Competition, Student Video Competition and the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI)-OCE Entrepreneurship Fellowship presentations.

OCE Discovery attracts more than 2,500 attendees and brings together industry, investors, researchers, entrepreneurs and other key stakeholders for the exchange of ideas, innovations and solutions that are shaping Ontario’s future.  

“It is great to see Ryerson student-led companies and researchers being recognized for their innovations at such a highly competitive and prestigious conference," said Wendy Cukier, vice-president, research and innovation. “Ryerson has mainstreamed innovation across the university – it’s not just embedded in our programs, or in our approach to experiential learning and in our research, but in our very DNA.”

Ryan Manchee from Ryerson’s iCUE took second place for his video about his company EnergySavers, collecting $2,500. Manchee’s video, along with four other Ryerson students who were competition finalists – Adrian Wong, Caitlin Curran-Blaney, Richard McIntosh and Mahyar Soeizi – can be viewed at www.ocediscovery.com/competitions/video-competition.

Two of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone companies started by recent Ryerson MBA graduates won the ELP Competition which awarded three top innovators $25,000 each to further support their business. Komodo OpenLab Inc., a developer of inclusive technologies that improve the daily lives of persons with disabilities, and Mejuri, an online company that leverages crowdsourcing to produce unique fine jewelry, demonstrated they had the strongest business models.

A third-generation jeweller, Noura Sakkijha, CEO of Mejuri, is very pleased that her company is one of the competition winners. “The grant is going to give us a great push forward to enhance our technology, increase our community of designers and customers and build partnerships with companies to crowdsource their products.”

Another Ryerson student won big. Peter Siegler, a post-doctoral fellow in biomedical engineering, was one of eight neuroscience entrepreneurs awarded a $50,000 OBI–OCE fellowship. The fellowship provides funds to help recipients pursue entrepreneurial endeavours and commercialization of technology. Siegler is investigating a technique to accurately detect the spatial position of biopsy needles used during neurosurgery.