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Norquest College Provides $60,000 in Grants for Innovative Ideas to Support Aging Canadians

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A team of Alberta students were crowned the winners of the Healthcare for Aging Canadians Challenge, for their innovative app idea. The competition was hosted by NorQuest College’s Health Studies and Technology Department along with TECHNATION and required students to use technology to develop solutions to problems that aging Canadians face. The challenge invited students from all backgrounds to shape the future of senior care in Canada by coming up with ideas in one of three categories: artificial intelligence, sustainability, or data-driven support.

A panel of industry experts then selected five finalists from the list of 20 entries and those teams were invited to present their ideas in front of the judges on March 14.

The winning team was a group of students from the University of Alberta and MacEwan University who developed an app that matches seniors with technology and pairs them with a student to learn how to use it. In second place was a team from University of Toronto who developed an app that uses artificial intelligence to have two-way conversations with seniors as part of a mental rehabilitation program. A team from University of British Columbia came in third place with their idea of using a robot equipped with artificial intelligence to translate conversations between care providers and non-English speaking residents in long-term care homes.

The top three teams now have the chance to bring their real-world solution to life, thanks to a generous contribution of $60,000 by NorQuest College and the Institute of Continuing Care Education & Research, with funding received from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council’s Community & College Social Innovation Program. Each of the three teams will receive a $20,000 grant to help develop, build and launch their idea with the hope that it will lead to the commercialization of the product or service.

“At NorQuest College, we conduct ground-breaking applied research that informs and strengthens our communities and organizations,” said Erika Goble, NorQuest’s vice dean of research & academic innovation. “One of our goals is to support students in finding positive and productive solutions to challenges we face in society and the ideas that came out of this challenge do exactly that. We are excited to see the impact that these innovative ideas will have on seniors across Canada.”

TECHNATION provided additional cash prizes for each student on the three top placed teams with the first team receiving $2,000 each, the second team each receiving $1,250 and the third-place team each taking home $750.

TECHNATION is the industry-government nexus for technology prosperity in Canada. As a member-driven, not-for-profit, TECHNATION unites Canada’s technology sector, governments and communities to enable technology prosperity in Canada. TECHNATION champions technology prosperity by providing advocacy, professional development and networking opportunities across industry and governments at all levels; connecting Canadian scale-ups with global tech leaders; engaging the global supply chain; and filling the technology talent pipeline.

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