A Hotspot for Global Health Innovation

From cancer prevention to microbiome research, and from cardiovascular education and patient care to ground-breaking medicine for stroke treatment, Calgary’s talent lays the groundwork for better quality of life, while attracting international associations. With the Rocky Mountains in the backdrop providing a healthy natural environment, the just over 1 million inhabitants of this south-western Canadian city enjoy the perfect combination of high-end education and innovative breakthroughs when it comes to Life Sciences and Health Care.

As of late, Calgary has seen a record of five-year steady growth, partly due to its start-up ecosystem, especially in the Life Sciences. The more than 200 relevant companies, start-up and mature alike, located in the wider region of Alberta have increased the growth in capital by 300% since 2008. R&D spending from these companies grew by 49% in health and biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in 2018.

A full-scale hub

Evidently, Calgary is on track to taking the reins of the sector. The University of Calgary (UCalgary) has its eye on becoming one of Canada’s top research universities, currently focusing on infections, inflammation and chronic diseases, brain and mental health and biomedical engineering. Its top-range facilities and specialized researchers enable international companies and associations to have access to innovative research.

With innovation as a priority, Calgary became the home of Innovate Calgary, the innovation transfer and business incubator centre for the UCalgary, as well as the Creative Destruction Lab, a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies.

Research clusters spread across the city complete the puzzle of the sector. The Tom Baker Cancer Centre, for example, is Alberta’s leading cancer centre in innovative research, prevention, treatment and care initiatives, with the intention of becoming the largest cancer research centre in Canada by 2024. Located in University Research Park, the Life Sciences Innovation Hub is a centre for research excellence and innovation, used by students, researchers, start-ups and companies to interact, create and explore new ideas and concepts.

The non-exhaustive list includes the leading International Microbiome Centre, Canada’s largest germ-free facility, real-time imaging and droid robotics and the Ward of the 21st Century (WC21C), a beta test site for new technologies, prototypical hospital design, novel approaches to health care delivery, and human factors research.

Conference wealth

Like-minded association conferences have seen the potential impact their meetings can have in Calgary and have been piling up. This summer the 27th Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB 2019) and the 43rdAnnual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB 2019) took place at the Calgary TELUS Convention Center attracting 2000 delegates.

Dr. Walter Herzog, Conference Chair, explained why Calgary: “With an international reputation as a global leader in the field of biomechanics (#1 ranked Faculty of Kinesiology in North America), the city of Calgary, along with the University of Calgary, was a natural choice for us. The support network that the city offers congress organizers through Meetings + Conventions Calgary, was impeccable in their backing of our organizing committee and anticipation of our needs.”

More conferences are to follow in the coming years, including the Canadian Diabetes Association 2020 Professional Conference and the International Society of Quality of Life Research 28th Annual Conference in 2021.

This article was written by Boardroom Editor Vicky Koffa. The right to use this article has to be granted by the Publisher.

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