Andy Hoffer

New SFU Centre to aid research for disabled

November 29, 2007

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A new SFU Centre for Disability Independence Research and Education (CDIRE) will bring together people with disabilities and SFU researchers with bright ideas for assistive devices, says acting director Andy Hoffer, professor of kinesiology (above). He expects that CDIRE will be an excellent resource for students in SFU’s biomedical engineering program who are required to design assistive devices. "Persons with disabilities will become team members, not just test subjects," says Hoffer. He envisions them making significant contributions and even becoming co-authors of academic research papers.

Hoffer and his colleagues identified the need for the centre and decided to start it on their own. "Sometimes you start a centre because someone gives you a million dollars," says Hoffer, "but with CDIRE we did the opposite." The group is now applying for grants, but Hoffer says the centre offers a wonderful opportunity for donors who want to support research in disabilities and assistive devices.

"They can contribute money for scholarships, seed-funding for pilot projects, or materials for prototype development," he says. The centre will also form partnerships with community organizations such as the Centre for Hip Health and the G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre.

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