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Inaugural Governor General’s Innovation Awards winners announced

The inaugural Governor General’s Innovation Awards will be presented by Canada’s Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on the morning of May 19.
The award is designed to “recognize and celebrate outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose exceptional and transformative work help shape our future and positively impact our quality of life.”
“I’m delighted to present the first six Governor General’s Innovation Awards for groundbreaking work in a variety of spheres,” said Johnston. “In essence, innovation is about finding new and better ways to create value, to foster a more compassionate, inclusive society and to meaningfully impact our quality of life. Hailing from across the country, the recipients of these awards are demonstrating the power of creativity and collaboration to build a smarter, more caring Canada and a better world.”
Each year, up to six award recipients are identified through a two-stage, merit-based selection process, managed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Awards are given “for current or recent innovations that have a positive impact on quality of life in Canada, whether it is in the private, public or not-for-profit realms.”
Dr. Jeff Dahn, Canada Research Chair in Battery and Fuel Cell Materials and professor in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences and Department of Chemistry at Dalhousie University in Halifax, is part of a team that pioneered a new set of materials currently used in approximately one-third of all lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cells produced worldwide.
This summer, Dr. Dahn will be leaving Dalhousie to begin a five-year partnership working with Tesla Motors.
“Innovation is one of the primary driving forces behind Canada’s prosperity, standard of living and quality of life,” says the award’s website. “And while Canadians are some of the world’s most accomplished innovators, we seldom recognize ourselves as such or celebrate our outstanding contributions to our society and to humanity as a whole.”
Today, April 28, at 2:00 p.m. EST, Johnston will be answering questions posted by the public on the award’s Facebook page.
The 2016 winners are:
Christi Belcourt
Espanola, Ontario
Christi Belcourt uses cutting-edge applied arts and design and new technologies in an effort to raise awareness and to create momentum toward innovative societal change while respecting traditional protocols and ancestral cultural traditions. Her initiatives relate to a wide range of social issues and she champions forward-looking collaborations that are models of respectful partnerships and principled adaptation of Indigenous cultural influence.
Nominated by the Canada Council for the Arts
Robert E. Burrell
Edmonton, Alberta
Robert Burrell’s Acticoat is the first burn dressing to simultaneously kill bacteria and decrease inflammation. This revolutionized approach to wound care increases healing rates, reduces the need for skin grafts and cuts down on long-term scar management issues. With his innovation, he has saved thousands of lives and limbs around the world.
Nominated by Universities Canada
Jeff Dahn
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Jeff Dahn and his dedicated team of researchers have pioneered the method of high-precision coulometry to rank the life span of Li-ion cells in a few weeks of testing. Not only has this development allowed researchers worldwide to speed up the R&D process and create a better and longer-lasting Li-ion cell, but it will also contribute to the switch of our energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable resources.
Nominated by Universities Canada
J. Breanne Everett
Calgary, Alberta
Breanne Everett co-founded Orpyx Medical Technologies to develop her idea for shoe insoles that prompt patients with diabetic foot conditions to move their feet to improve blood flow. This unique, wearable technology has improved users’ quality of life and reduced health care costs by decreasing the risks of sores, infection and amputation caused by diabetes-related nerve damage and poor circulation.
Nominated by Mitacs
Boisbriand, Quebec
Co-founded by Charles Deguire, Kinova helps people push beyond their physical limitations and offers a more efficient and safer work environment in industrial settings. Kinova’s sleek, energy-efficient robotic arms are lightweight, quiet, unobtrusive and weather-resistant. Since its launch in 2010, the JACO arm has offered more autonomy, control and range of motion—as well as improved mental well-being—to Canadians with upper-body mobility restrictions.
Nominated by the National Research Council Canada
Mark G. Torchia and Richard Tyc
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Mark Torchia and Richard Tyc are the creators of the NeuroBlate System, a medical device that combines a novel laser probe system with real-time image guidance. Using magnetic resonance imaging and sophisticated software, the tool allows neurosurgeons in Canada and abroad to treat brain tumours and other intracranial targets in a minimally invasive way that also reduces post-operative care and health costs.
Nominated by the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation
The members of the 2016 Selection Committee are listed below:
Sakchin Bessette, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Moment Factory
Jocelyne Bourgon, President of Public Governance International
Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook
Naveen Jain, Board of Trustees, XPRIZE foundation
Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO, Cirque du Soleil
Heather Munroe-Blum, former principal, McGill University

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