Outstanding Innovation In Digital Technologies – Customer Applications
WINNER: Nanoprecise Sci Corp
Initiative: Predictive Maintenance & Condition Monitoring, Efficiency Monitoring using IIoT, AI & ML
Nanoprecise Sci Corp specializes in implementation of Artificial Intelligence and IoT technology devices for predictive asset maintenance and condition monitoring. Timely and accurate diagnosis of machine faults provides insights that allow operators to make decisions that will save considerable time and resources, while reducing incidents and emissions, at the same time as improving equipment performance.
Sunil Vedula, Chief Executive Officer
Sunil earned his MBA from University of Alberta, specializing in Finance and Natural Resource, Energy & Environment. Prior to being an entrepreneur, Sunil’s professional career had him working on projects associated with Oil & Gas and Mining firms. He observed a need for innovative & affordable solutions to material issues of these companies and launched Nanoprecise.
Outstanding Innovation In Digital Technologies – Research
WINNER: Dr. Xin Wang, Professor, University of Calgary
Initiative: Artificial intelligence for Logistics
Dr.Wang develops and implements innovative AI/ML methods and software tools for optimizing logistics networks and providing smart truck routing for goods delivery services under extreme weather conditions. Through this research and the developed technologies, delivery service companies are able to cut down transportation costs by better routing planning, reduce operational costs and improve productivity by optimizing the planning and better managing vehicle fleets. The results of this research help industries to evaluate potential solutions to improve their business practice
Outstanding Achievement in AI/ML Advancement – Energy and Environmental Innovation
WINNER: Dr. Omid Ardakanian, Computing Science, University of Alberta
Initiative: Making Buildings Smart and Efficient using Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things
The operation of buildings accounts for more than 30% of the total energy consumption in North America. The team has developed machine learning algorithms for data-enabled optimization and control of buildings and energy systems – that reduce energy consumption and improve their indoor environmental quality (IEQ) performance.
Outstanding Achievement in AI/ML Advancement – Social Innovation
WINNER: Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary
Initiative: Creating Scalable Digital Solutions to Support the Mental Health and Wellness of Albertans
A nursing leader whose sustained program of innovative research is leveraging digital technologies to solve real-world health challenges for individuals, families, healthcare providers, and communities. The awards she has received have included: the Faculty of Nursing Excellence in Research Award, and the UNB Alumni Award of Distinction for her research, entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge engagement activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team is focused on the urgently needed virtual delivery of mental health and wellness programs, to mitigate the lifelong consequences of socio-environmental adversities on health and psychological outcomes. Developing artificial intelligence (AI) enabled smart tools – decision support and programs by other researchers will become more accessible to clinicians and the public they serve.
Outstanding Achievement in AI/ML Advancement – Adaptive Learning and Simulation
WINNER: RUNWITHIT Synthetics
Initiative: Advances in Modelling and Synthetic Data to Explore the Future of People
RUNWITHIT Synthetics helps leaders worldwide design better, more sustainable, equitable, and resilient futures for all. Responding to the unprecedented, interconnected, and critical futures of growing cities and their stakeholders who face decarbonization imperatives, extreme acute and chronic events and disasters, along with compounding stress from changing industry, demographics, economics, and growth, RUNWITHIT generates complete Synthetic Cities to dial-forward limitless scenarios and optimize solutions for investing in policy, technology, built environment, and infrastructure. RUNWITHIT’s Synthetic Futures Platform provides world-leading 3D, Synthetic Modelling and Data environment – modelling 24 cities and growing, from Kuala Lumpur to Gibbons, Alberta.
Myrna Bittner, CEO, Founder
Armed with her BA in English, and finishing her MBA, Myrna started her first tech company in 1992, developing a commercial internet groupware product used by NASA and US West for real-time remote communications, followed by co-founding a 3D neural net visualization research company funded by an Australian billionaire. When they told her she couldn’t, she didn’t listen. Myrna passionately lives and promotes the imperative for inclusion, diversity, and representation.
Dean Bittner, CTO, Founder
Dean is an early web pioneer – delivering thought- and market-leading ventures in hypermedia clients, artificial intelligence and visualization, communications and cryptography, medical software and devices, television and advertising, and large-scale enterprise. He is an incurable dreamer, non-conformist, and coding funder and founder.
Outstanding Achievement in Energy and Environment -Environmental Innovation in Energy Applications
Initiative: Biopolymer Based Adsorbents for Water and Tailing Remediation
Dr. Ullah focuses on chemical conversions of biomass and synthesis of Biopolymers, Biochemicals, Biocomposites, Bionanocomposites, Biosorbents and Bioconjugates from Lipids & other Renewable Resources for Industrial Applications.
Dr. Siddique studies the biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons under anaerobic conditions; metabolic pathways of hydrocarbon degradation; molecular fingerprinting of hydrocarbon-degrading microbial communities, and the Biogeochemistry of oil sands tailings ponds.
This work shows that natural biopolymers are equally effective for the flocculation of clays to enhance tailings consolidation and can provide a better alternative to the existing synthetic polymers – and can be a game changer in industrial wastewater treatment and consolidation of produced tailings.
Outstanding Achievement in Energy and Environment – Excellence in Clean Energy
Initiative: Developing a New Technology for the Clean and Efficient Extraction of Lithium
Conducting research with nanoparticles, Dr. Nafie has developed a method of lithium extraction that has the potential to be a game-changer in the industry, and affect environmental considerations in a very positive way. Dr. Nafie has recently won the Elevate pitch competition award from the Firehood for $100,000, and the Inventures Net Zero Category 2022. Her research has been funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF).
Award: Outstanding Achievement in Energy and Environment – Excellence in Energy Applications
WINNER: Westgen Technologies Inc
Initiative: Eliminating Methane Emissions from Pneumatic Devices at On- or Off-grid Locations
Westgen Technologies Inc developed proprietary technology to overcome the two traditional limitations associated with low power range reciprocating internal combustion engines: maintenance interval and fuel gas quality. Westgen applied their proprietary power generation design to develop the EPOD integrated system. This cost-effective 6, 20, or 30 kW remote power generation solution powers an instrument air compressor using solar power and variable quality gas.
The Westgen executive team of mechanical engineers Connor and Ben (Rising Star recipients), Curtis Lynn, and experienced scale-up executive James Freeman are combining technologies and approaches to eliminate venting in specific applications – resulting in emissions reductions by more than 98%.
Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Sustainability – Excellence in Forest Management Research
WINNER: Dr. Quazi Hassan, Professor of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary
Initiative: Application of Remote Sensing Technologies in Forest Fire Management
Dr. Hassan’s work includes the development of advanced forest fire danger forecasting system using publicly available satellite data from NASA; a wildland fire risk modelling framework for the Greater Athabasca oil sands region; and a policy framework for forest fire-induced risks and community resilience for the people of Fort McMurray.
Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Sustainability – Innovative Applications
WINNER: Dr. John Nychka, Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering,. Vice-Provost (Learning Initiatives), Provost & Vice-President Academic – Admin
Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, Professor, Biological Sciences – Behavioural Ecology, Conservation Biology in the discipline of Conservation Behaviour.
Dr. Jonathan Backs, Engineering Scientist, Wilson Analytical
Initiative: Warning Systems to Improve Train Detectability and Reduce Collisions with Wildlife
University of Alberta – In response to deaths of grizzly bears and other wildlife from train collisions in Alberta’s mountain parks, the team developed and tested a warning system, consisting of light and sound that are triggered by approaching trains, similar to road crossing signals that reduce risk of train collisions for people. This pioneering work on warning system technology and understanding of collision risk has the potential to support mitigation of wildlife–train collisions in Alberta and beyond, both for existing railways with known collision hotspots and new projects where high-risk locations could be predicted in advance. Recognized by National News and the Discovery Channel – this team’s work was supported by Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Conservation Association, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canadian Pacific, and the University of Alberta.
Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Sustainability – Innovative Applications in Environmental Protection
WINNER: Future Fields
Initiative: Applying Insect Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering to Manufacture Sustainable Recombinant Proteins
Future Fields – uses fruit flies to make sustainable recombinant proteins. Produced by the EntoEngine™, Future Fields’ insect biotechnology, Future Fields provides scientists with the quality biomolecules they need to economically and sustainably do great science. Producing serum-free proteins with the EntoEngine™, Future Fields helps agritech, health tech, and other life sciences industries in growing their innovation, while radically reducing their environmental footprint and production costs.
Outstanding Achievement in Urban Development – Research
WINNER: Lina Kattan, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary
Initiative: Transportation, Smart Cities, Sustainability
Dr. Kattan is the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Transportation through Automation and Connectivity; Director of NSERC CREATE on Integrated Infrastructure for sustainable Cities; Urban Alliance Chair in Transportation Systems Optimization.
Dr. Lina Kattan’s most recent work in emerging transportation technologies focuses on integrating Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) into existing transportation systems—a deployment that will radically change those systems. Depending on how they are deployed, the emergence of CAVs will bring tremendous opportunities, complexities, challenges. CAVs can collect and disseminate information in the traffic network through vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and more.
Outstanding Achievement in Urban Development – Applications
WINNER: ZS2 Technologies
Initiative: Development & Commercialization of Low-Carbon Prefabricated Cement Technologies
Team Submissions: Scott Jenkins; Doug Brown; Kristin Davis – Co-Founders
ZS2 Technologies has developed and is rapidly commercializing proprietary Made in Canada cement products which are high strength, fire resistant, sustainable and cost effective vs. conventional building materials. ZS2’s proprietary TechBoard, TechFloor, TechTile and other solutions in various stages of development have been recognized as a Solar Impulse Efficient Solution and ZS2 was recently recognized as Milestone Finalist in the Carbon Removal X-Prize sponsored by the Musk Foundation.
Outstanding Achievement in Health – Application
WINNER: Tactile Orthopaedics Inc.
Initiative: Realistic, Tactile Surgical Training
Team Submission: Tactile Orthopaedics Inc.’s Knee and Tactile Shoulder learning platforms replicate the tactile experience of operating on a patient, allowing novices to experts to learn the surgical intricacies before operating on a patient.
Outstanding Achievement in Health – Research
WINNER: Pan-Alberta Team Monitoring COVID-19 in Wastewater – including the Universities of Alberta and Calgary.
Initiative: Alberta’s Wastewater COVID-19 Monitoring
This team is testing wastewater from throughout the province for traces of the virus that causes COVID-19. This cost-effective and inclusive molecular tracking technology reveals community trends in COVID-19 in real time. Data is made public three times per week, empowering Albertans to make evidence-based decisions about COVID-19 and other infections such as influenza.
Outstanding Achievement in Health – Medical Diagnosis
Initiative: Applications of Advanced Markerless Human Motion Capture in Healthcare
Kinetisense is based in Medicine Hat, and is the world’s first patented markerless motion capture technology that is forever changing how human motion is assessed and treated. The Kinetisense system is being used worldwide by health care and human performance organizations to better assess their patients/clients and track changes over the course of care, with advanced population norm comparisons.
Dr. Ryan D. Comeau, CEO
Co-Founder and CEO of Kinetisense. Dr. Comeau played NCAA Division 1 Hockey at the University of Alaska before completing his Doctorate at the Southern California University of Health Sciences. His love for sports performance and neuromusculoskeletal rehabilitation drove Dr. Comeau to develop an efficient and objective markerless motion capture system.
Outstanding Achievement in Health – Pharmaceutical
WINNER: Entos Pharmaceuticals
Initiative: Ushering in a New Era of Genetic Medicines
Entos Pharmaceuticals develops next generation genetic medicines with Entos’ proprietary Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) drug delivery system – and has partnered with pharmaceutical companies, sister companies, and in-house programs to develop genetic therapies that will change the way diseases are treated and cured. Entos is passionate about playing a role in the development of Alberta as a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Lewis is the Bird Dogs Chair in Translational Oncology at the University of Alberta. As a scientist and serial entrepreneur, he pioneered the use of intravital imaging in the in vivo study of tumour cell invasion and metastasis to discover key targets for cancer therapeutics. Dr. Lewis also develops novel nanotechnology, nanoparticle drug delivery technologies, and imaging-based treatments for chronic diseases, such as aging and cancer, as well as for early detection of cancers.
2022 ASTech Award Winners – Leading Change
Social Innovation – Early-Career Change-Maker: Industry Community Leader
WINNER: Monika Rao, P.Eng, Products Lead – Enbridge Technology and Innovation Lab; Chair of the FEMINEN Calgary Chapter
Initiative: Leading Advancement of Technology and Innovation Solutions in the Energy Industry; Advocating for Advancement of Women in Engineering and Technology Roles
Monika is a young, emerging leader at Enbridge – uniquely positioned to be an innovation leader. Monika’s team is charged with developing digital products for the largest energy transportation company in North America. By providing product leadership to agile development teams that use disruptive technologies such as AI/ML, advanced visualization, agile, and design thinking practices – Monika and her team have made a material impact on business value returns. Collectively these products will optimize operations and processes, while ensuring safe and reliable operation.
Monika is also advancing Enbridge’s diversity and inclusion goals – in her role with FEMINEN (FEmales IN ENgineering), an employees resource group at Enbridge that strives to improve the attraction, engagement, and retention of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) roles.
Social Innovation – Early-Career Change-Maker: Company
Initiative: Applications of Graph Architecture and ML for Legal and Insurance Claim Automation
Painworth helps victims and insurers calculate, manage and settle injury claims without the need for expensive middlemen. The system is faster, cheaper and easier than the status quo and allows all citizens to get access to fast and equitable justice regardless of income, race, gender or age. Painworth has helped over 2,000 of the most vulnerable victims with over $200 million in claims and was the first to discover and highlight real data in our justice system around the implicit negative biases found in the status quo system that had been prejudiced against sex, race and age.
Michael Zouhri, Co Founder
Painworth was awarded the 2021 title of the ‘Global Best Emerging Insurance Product,’ and Mr. Zouhri was recognized as one of the 50 global leaders transforming the law by the Fastcase 50 award program. Through direct personal injury experience, Mike was motivated to change the system. Less than a year after the accident, he started his company, collaborating with legal and technology experts to create the award-winning PainWorth.
Social Innovation – Early-Career Change-Maker: Research
WINNER: Dr. Catherine Lebel, Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Radiology
Initiative: Study of Brain Development in Children Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Over the past 10 years, Dr. Lebel has made substantial contributions to pediatric neuroimaging and mapped structural and functional brain development across early childhood in unprecedented detail. Dr. Lebel has also forged new understanding of how the prenatal environment affects child brain development, both in terms of prenatal substance exposures and psychosocial stress. She and her team continue to investigate brain development in these children to understand how these brain changes may relate to behaviour and learning.
Social Innovation – Innovative Approaches for Learning
WINNER: LX Labs by Onlea
Initiative: Lowering Barriers to Health Education through Hybrid Learning
LX Labs by Onlea – Sherwood Park Primary Care Network (PCN) quickly pivoted to online learning at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. The PCN recognized that a hybrid of online and in-person learning could meet diverse patient needs while expanding the capacity of busy clinician educators. The Onlea team supported this goal through the lens of universal design and learning design.
William Fritzberg, Lead Design Strategist & LX Labs Lead
William is a human-centred designer, technologist, strategist and storyteller. He has a Masters in Research for Design and Innovation from the ELISAVA School of Design at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from the University of British Columbia. Today with Onlea’s LX Labs, he works with a wide range of organizations, educators and creatives to develop innovative, engaging and accessible online learning experiences and strategies.
Social Innovation – Programs Promoting Indigenous People
Initiative: I-STEAM Pathways Environmental Education and Research program for Indigenous Undergraduate Students
Dr Makere Stewart-Harawira, Faculty of Education
Dr Greg Goss, Faculty of Science – Biological Sciences
Jessica Vandenberghe, Asst Dean, Indigenous Engineering – Faculty of Engineering – University of Alberta
I-STEAM – Providing opportunities for Indigenous youth to participate in experiential post-secondary environmental research at the University of Alberta and pathways to advanced degrees; Providing hands-on mentorship or students by experienced researchers who undertake training in reconciliation. Introducing and interweaving western science and Indigenous knowledge systems throughout the program, drawing on Indigenous elders as well as scientists.
Since launching in a pandemic in 2019, I-Steam Pathways has provided 49 Indigenous students from across Canada with four months of fully-paid, mentored internships in cross-disciplinary environmental research.
Social Innovation – Programs Promoting Women (Gender Inclusion)
WINNER: AWSN, Team Submission
Initiative: AWSN Equitable Scholarship
AWSN designed an innovative scholarship program for undergraduate and re-engaging STEM students using an intersectional lens. Through the guidance of a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+), the program allows AWSN to distribute the awards in an equitable manner, limiting unconscious bias, stereotypes, and other barriers commonly faced by underrepresented groups.
Social Innovation – Programs Promoting Autism (Neurodiversity Inclusion)
WINNER: Autism CanTech!
Initiative: Empowering Autistic Individuals and Employers to Build More Inclusive Workplaces
Autism CanTech! is a recipient of the Higher Ed XR Innovation Grant through Unity Technologies and Meta and will be presenting at the Disability and Work in Canada 2022 Conference, the Cannexus 2023 Conference, the Future Works of Canada Conference, and the ASU+GSV Summit.