What is an Innovation Academy?

The W21C Innovation Academy is a fast-paced scientific and business pitch competition. Participants showcase their novel and creative strategies that have the potential to stimulate significant change related to innovations in health care and health systems delivery.

The W21C Innovation Academy at the University of Calgary is part of an international partnership with Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the University of Geneva in Switzerland, the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom, and Unity Health Toronto. Each of these sites host individual Innovation Academies. The winners from each of these Innovation Academies will be sent to compete at the fourth Global Healthcare Innovation Academy to take place in June 22-23, 2020 in Toronto, ON.

Previous Innovation Academies

The idea for the first Innovation Academy originated from the 2011 International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control in Geneva, Switzerland. The original Innovation Academy was used to promote innovations in the practice of infection control and prevention of antimicrobial resistance. The event was a resounding success and helped network local innovators with industry to commercialize the products presented and bring them into the health care setting.

In 2013, W21C hosted its first W21C Innovation Academy. The top three winners were invited to compete at the inaugural World Innovation Day in Geneva, Switzerland on Aug 28-29, 2014 against competitors from an international network of innovation competitions in Hong Kong, Pretoria and Geneva. The Calgary teams took first, third and fourth place in the World Innovation Day competition.

The second W21C Innovation Academy took place on September 24, 2015 at MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary and saw 11 health care innovations compete for three spots at the 2016 Global Healthcare Innovation Academy. The global competition took place in Calgary, Alberta on August 25-26, 2016 where LifeVest from Toronto, Ontario took top prize.

The third W21C Innovation Academy took place on November 1, 2017 at UCalgary Foothills Campus. This was the first W21C Innovation Academy to introduce streams for commercial and social innovations. Two commercial innovations and one social were sent to the 2018 Global Healthcare Innovation Academy in Hong Kong, where Montane Medical from Calgary took first place.

The fourth W21C Innovation Academy was held on October 30, 2019 at MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary. Two biomedical innovations and one social innovation will now compete at the 2020 Global Healthcare Innovation Academy in Toronto, ON. 

A complete list of past competitors and their videos from the W21C Innovation Academy events are available on the past competition section of our website.