Newswise — A team of University of Saskatchewan computer scientists has been awarded the 2012 Award of Innovation for creating an iPhone application (app) – the first in Canada to offer university students broader, exceptionally secure access to confidential information such as grades.
Chad Jones and Eric Neufeld led the team of U of S developers that created the iUSask app to enhance the student life experience and provide general university information. The project became the foundation of CollegeMobile (www.collegemobile.com), a company that creates both educational and business apps for smartphones and tablet computers.
“The development of a single iPhone app at the U of S has led to the creation of a leading firm in developing customized mobile applications across computing platforms and business lines,” said Glen Schuler, managing director of the U of S Industry Liaison Office (ILO).
Co-sponsored by Innovation Place and the ILO, the Award of Innovation honours U of S researchers who have brought new and commercially viable technology to the ILO for development into marketable products. The winners were announced at the SABEX “Celebrate Success!” gala in Saskatoon on May 17th.
“Sponsoring this award is another example of how Innovation Place supports the growth of Saskatchewan’s technology sector,” said Austin Beggs, Innovation Place vice-president of corporate relations.
Founded in 2009, CollegeMobile has grown rapidly to meet demand for mobile applications. The company sets itself apart from competitors by programming for multiple mobile platforms and using complex security software to protect app users’ information.
A number of the company’s developers are U of S graduates who took Jones’ smartphone programming course. The company also employs graduates from the Edwards School of Business at the U of S.
Two other nominations were considered for this year’s Award of Innovation:
Rajendra Sharma and Anuraag Shrivastav of the U of S department of pathology have identified a marker present in the blood and bone marrow of patients with colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer diagnosed in Canada. This marker can be detected at all tumor stages, which will allow for early detection and a greater chance of survival for patients. Colorectal cancer is curable, but current methods for detection are invasive and costly. This discovery has potential to be developed into a simplified, cost-effective and accurate way to diagnose colorectal cancer.
With an international reputation in the area of plant development and hybrid seed production, U of S biology professor Vipen Sawhney has been conducting research on male sterility in tomatoes for over 30 years and developed the first commercially viable, male-sterile line of tomatoes. The line significantly reduces the cost of hybrid tomato seed production by eliminating the labour-intensive process of hand removal of the male part (stamen) of tomato flowers, ensuring a 100 per cent hybrid seed yield. The line has now been licensed to seed companies in Italy, India, and Holland.
The Award of Innovation is open to U of S employees and students. Selection criteria include innovation novelty and potential commercial impact. The selection committee includes representatives from Innovation Place and the U of S.
Innovation Place is one of North America's most successful university-related technology parks. For more information on Innovation Place, visit www.innovationplace.com.
The ILO works with inventors to help commercialize innovations developed at the U of S. For more information on the ILO, visit www.usask.ca/ilo.