AGE-WELL and partners support rising stars in AgeTech research from across Canada

Seventeen researchers from eight institutions in four provinces are the successful recipients of this year’s AGE-WELL Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Awards in Technology and Aging.

The total value of these awards is $310,000, with $80,000 contributed through matching funds from five post-secondary and research institute partners.

Karen Lok Yi Wong, PhD student, University of British Columbia

The awards support and empower rising researchers to become future leaders in Canada’s AgeTech sector who will move forward research that has a real-world benefit for older Canadians and caregivers. The recipients are highly qualified master’s and doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who are provided with funding and access to training and mentorship opportunities through AGE-WELL’s Early Professionals, Inspired Careers (EPIC) Program.

“AGE-WELL is pleased to support and collaborate with each of our award recipients as they work to develop and drive innovation for the benefit of older adults and caregivers,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO of AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network. “Investing in trainees helps develop a pipeline of highly trained, highly qualified individuals that is critical to fulfilling AGE-WELL’s commitment to create the future of aging in Canada.”

Karen Lok Yi Wong is the recipient of the Michael F. Harcourt Policy Fellowship, named for AGE-WELL’s founding board chair. She previously completed AGE-WELL’s EPIC program and earned the AGE-WELL Innovators of Tomorrow certificate. A PhD student at University of British Columbia, Wong will explore older adults and family caregivers’ access to information and technology and how to improve their navigation of health care and social services.

Among other award recipients:

Mayank Kalra, a postdoctoral student at the University of Waterloo, will focus on improving safety for long-term care residents by developing a novel analysis of injury prevention, balance assessments and cost effectiveness of bedside mats on preventing hip fractures. Meagan Ody is a master’s student at University of Calgary who will develop an innovative Indigenous-centred approach to dementia care that is meaningful for persons living with dementia, their families and communities and provides support along the dementia journey to improve patient safety. Amel Yaddaden, a doctoral student at Université de Montréal, will design COOK, a novel application for smart tablets that connects to the stove to optimize the independence of individuals with cognitive deficits during meal preparation.

Five of the AGE-WELL Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Awards in Technology and Aging are co-funded with these valued partners: University of British Columbia; Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto; Faculty of Health, University of Waterloo; University of Calgary Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging; and McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA).

This is the first year the University of Calgary Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging and the Faculty of Health, University of Waterloo are co-funding with AGE-WELL for these awards.

“The University of Calgary’s three research priorities are to match strengths with opportunities, increase research capacity, and drive innovation,” said Dr. Ann M. Toohey, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Manager of Research and Scientific Programs, Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging, University of Calgary. “Our newly launched joint-scholarship program with AGE-WELL addresses all three of these priorities in a single initiative, while also investing in technological solutions that will benefit the aging population. We are excited to be working more closely with AGE-WELL to enhance training opportunities for talented graduate students who are working to advance technologies that support older adults and those who care for them.”

“The Faculty of Health at the University of Waterloo is proud to be a partner for this year’s AGE-WELL Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Awards,” said Dr. Lili Liu, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Health, University of Waterloo. “This opportunity allows us to apply matching funds from an endowment fund targeted for scholarships on aging. This also aligns with our Faculty’s strategic direction to ‘shape talent to respond to society’s needs and become thought leaders of tomorrow by collaborating with strategic partners to respond to timely societal issues and research needs.’”

The full list of award recipients:

Ali Abedi, University Health Network Kelly Long, University of Calgary
Gaya Bin Noon, University of Waterloo Pratik Mishra, University of Toronto
Barbara Delacourt, Université de Montréal Meagan Ody, University of Calgary
Phuong Ha, University of British Columbia Steven Phan, University of Alberta
Hadi Hojjati, McGill University Isabel Rodrigues, McMaster University
Viorica Hrincu, University of British Columbia Harmehr Sekhon, McGill University
Mayank Kalra, University of Waterloo Lais Vanzella, University Health Network
Justin Lee, University of Toronto Amel Yaddaden, Université de Montréal
Karen Lok Yi Wong, University of British Columbia

AGE-WELL recently launched the AGE-WELL Indigenous Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Awards in Technology and Aging, with an application deadline of November 4, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET. Learn more here.

Since 2015, AGE-WELL has recruited and supported more than 1,200 highly qualified personnel from over 110 institutions across nine Canadian provinces, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.