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UCalgary-based program expands province-wide in supporting digital health researchers


We envision a vibrant eHealth and mHealth ecosystem, accelerating innovation, growth, and transforming healthcare through collaboration and partnerships.

September 11, 2023


Alex Baron, W21C Research and Innovation Centre

A nurse showing a tablet screen to a patient sitting in a hospital bed

For the first time, researchers in digital health from Alberta post-secondary institutions will all share access to expert support in translating research innovation into improved care for citizens through an expansion of the newly renamed SPARK Alberta program. The boost is thanks to a new grant from Alberta Innovates.

Launched in 2020 as SPARK Calgary, the program has been providing expert advice, education and ecosystem connections for evidence-based digital health innovations in Calgary for the last three years. Based out of the University of Calgary’s W21C Research and Innovation Centre, the program recruited its fourth cohort in spring 2023 and has worked with more than 70 faculty and researchers supporting 14 projects.

The SPARK model originated from Stanford University in 2006 with the aim of advancing research discoveries from academia to the health-care system. Now a global network of more than 60 academic institutions across six continents, SPARK Alberta represents the only active SPARK site in Canada.

Earlier this year, SPARK Alberta was awarded a grant by Alberta Innovates’ Ecosystem Development Partnerships Program. With this grant, SPARK will leverage its previous success in Calgary and expand the program provincially, further establishing Alberta’s reputation as a province with strong digital health innovation.

“This grant will allow us to offer our resources and expertise to faculty and researchers developing innovations from post-secondary institutions from across the province,” says Dr. Scott Kraft, MD, director of SPARK Alberta and clinical associate professor in the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). “Our aim is to form a central network, linking and co-ordinating digital health innovation across Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.”

Image Source: SPARK Team

Project Contact-

Alex Baron, W21C Research and Innovation Centre

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