November 18, 2004

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Creating a successful company
Creating a successful company
What does it take to spin university intellectual property into a successful company? Moving technological innovations from the lab to a commercial application can be challenging. On Dec. 7 in ASB 9896, SFU researchers who developed ideas that later became the business focus for new companies will relate their personal experiences. Speakers include: Albert Leung, whose accelerometer patent was licenced to Memsic; Fred Popowich who, together with Paul McFetridge, created gavagai Technology Inc. (now Axonwave Software Inc.) to focus on natural language searches; Rick Hobson, who assigned a variety of chip-related patents to his spin-off Cogent Chipware Inc.; and Andy Hoffer, who created Neurostream Technologies Inc. to commercialize implanted neuro-modulation devices.

Mike Volker, director of SFU's university/industry liaison office, will explain the key points of SFU's intellectual property policy. Gavin Manning, an experienced patent attorney with Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala, will discuss some of the pitfalls of patenting.

Quilt marks 30th anniversary
For the past two months, 15 SFU clerical and technical workers have been working on an extracurricular project dear to their hearts - a decorative, handcrafted quilt commemorating 30 years of clerical/technical unionization on the Burnaby campus. The colorful quilt is just one aspect of a week-long celebration marking the anniversary. On Nov. 22, 1974 the Association of University and College Employees, local 2, (AUCE) was certified to represent SFU's clerical and technical workers. In 1991, AUCE members voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and became CUPE local 3338, the local that still represents about 800 employees at all three campuses.

The 30th anniversary events include a rally on Nov. 22 at 11:30 a.m. in convocation mall featuring the debut of the CUPE 3338 Bread and Roses choir. SFU labour historian and professor Mark Leier will speak at the rally. On Nov. 24 at 4:30 p.m., union members and supporters can enjoy a wine and cheese social at the Highland Pub's lower deck, while on Nov. 25 at 11:30 a.m., a lecture co-sponsored by the department of history and CUPE local 3338 will be presented in AQ 6229. The quilt will be on display at locations around campus until June when it will be raffled. The proceeds will support a new bursary for SFU students. For more information call CUPE local 3338 at 604-291-5494.

Maclean's ranks SFU fourth
SFU maintained its fourth place ranking in the comprehensive university category in Maclean's annual university survey. After placing second last year, the University of Waterloo was ranked first this year, exchanging positions with the University of Guelph. The University of Victoria maintained its third place ranking. SFU finished first in two categories and second in two. It was first in the category measuring the size and number of peer-adjudicated research grants from both the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canada Council. It was also first in the category that measures the size of the operating budget per weighted full-time student and the percentage of the budget devoted to student services and to scholarships and bursaries.

SFU ranked second to the University of Victoria in the category that measures the average size and number of peer-adjudicated research grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The university also ranked second in the number of students per 1,000 who have won national awards over the period 1999-2003.

Stevenson up for re-appointment
President Michael Stevenson's term as president ends on Aug. 31, 2006 and he is being considered for re-appointment. The committee to review the president prior to re-appointment invites the SFU community to submit an assessment of Stevenson's performance as president over the past four years. Submissions, which should not be longer than two pages, must be submitted by Nov. 29 to Brandt Louie, chairman of the board of governors and the committee to review the president, Strand Hall 3186, or via email to No anonymous submissions will be considered, but all submissions will be confidential unless otherwise requested. Stevenson will briefly address an open forum on Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. in AQ 3153 with audio hook-ups to Harbour Centre and Surrey. For more information visit board of governors.

Copes receives honorary degree
Former SFU professor of economics Parzival Copes, who retired in 1989 and gave up teaching at SFU in 1996, recently received an honorary degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland. The degree recognizes his role in developing the university and establishing public debate on the fisheries. Copes, who joined SFU in 1965 as head of the department of economics and commerce, continues to research and consult in his field.

Emergency office made permanent
The SFU emergency preparedness office gained permanent status recently when Teresa Sharp was appointed to the continuing full-time position of emergency planner. Sharp, who has worked at SFU since 1985, had been working on a temporary basis in the position since March 2002. She was previously assistant to the VP-finance and administration. Sharp says the appointment acknowledges that emergency planning is a necessary part of campus life today. Visit the emergency preparedness web site at SFU emergency preparedness office.

Funds available for inventions
SFU inventors, take note. The university/industry liaison office (UILO) has funding available for prototype development projects. Eligible projects include inventions, processes or ideas that relate directly to knowledge or technology developed at SFU. The underlying research should be at an advanced stage, with a clear path to commercialization identified. Awards may range up to $25,000 and have a maximum duration of two years. All current SFU faculty, staff and students are eligible to apply. For details and application forms, go to UILO. Deadline for funding proposals is Nov. 30. Deliver paper applications to the UILO, 2100 Strand Hall on the Burnaby campus, or to the 14th floor receptionist at SFU Surrey.

Undergrad website wins prize
A Surrey website design company jointly owned by SFU business undergraduate Jeff Smith and his friend Matthew Bleasdale recently won first place in the student entrepreneur of the year category at the Surrey business excellence awards. They started their company, Smooth Media, in the summer of 2003 and specialize in building websites with Flash animation to create interactive content.

One smooth move included partnering with an established South Surrey e-business company to garner more clients. Their customers include Pacific Western Rail Services, one of Canada's largest model train retailers, and Pacific Western Sales. During the summer, they designed the official website for the new Federal Hockey League and its six teams. Finalist Singh Sporting Goods and Gear is also owned by an SFU student, Manu Singh, an undergraduate in computing science.

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