2019 ASTech Awards Winners & Finalists

Congratulations to the following individuals and companies who have been selected by the adjudication panel as Winners and Finalists for the 30th Annual ASTech Awards.  Winners were announced Nov. 1 at SAIT at the ASTech Awards and NextGen Innovators Showcase.

Outstanding Achievement in Science and Engineering

Minister Tanya Fir and Dr. Biao Huang
Alberta Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister Tanya Fir and Dr. Biao Huang

WINNER: Dr. Biao Huang – Professor, University of Alberta

Many researchers focus on addressing the environmental consequences of the processes that make up oil sands operations. Dr. Huang focuses on the systems that control these processes by using predictive modelling and inferential sensing developments to vastly improve accuracy and reliability. This technology is being used by Syncrude, Suncor, Cenovus, Imperial Oil, Husky, CNRL and Teck Metals and is demonstrating significant economic and environmental benefits. Read more.

Outstanding Achievement in Technology

Dr. Chris Dambrowitz and Joel Neo
NAIT’s Dr. Chris Dambrowitz and Joel Neo, accepting the award on behalf of his grandfather Dr. Joo-Hwa Tay

Dr. Joo-Hwa (Andrew) Tay – Professor, University of Calgary (posthumous)

Dr. Tay’s research was dedicated to developing leading-edge and sustainable biotechnological processes to treat municipal and industrial wastewater. Aerobic granular sludge technology (AGS) is more efficient and effective than the most commonly used treatment process. The portability and adaptability of AGS allows it to be used across a number of industrial applications to remove contaminants from wastewater. See more.

Outstanding Achievement in Applied Technology

Rick Tofani. Dr. Frank Maurer, Jeff LaFrenz, Tom Bornhorst
SAIT sponsors Rick Tofani and Tom Bornhorst flank VizworX’ Dr. Frank Maurer and Jeff LaFrenz

WINNER: VizworX – Calgary

In the construction industry, rework due to errors in the design process can cost significant time and money on the physical job site. VizworX’s Panoptica technology uses real-time visualization to enable users to walk through any CAD or design model in full 1:1 scale. By interacting with 3D models as if they were physically in the room, before being built, teams build a project right virtually before building it wrong physically. Read more.

Outstanding Science & Technology Start Up

Dr. Robert Thompson, Dr. Steve Liang. Dr. Terry Rock
Dr. Robert Thompson (University of Calgary), SensorUp Founder Steve Liang, Dr. Terry Rock (Platform Calgary)

WINNER: SensorUp – Calgary

SensorUp is a cloud-based Internet of Things platform that aggregates IoT silos into a coherent system of systems and transforms them into actionable insights. Industrial companies leverage SensorUp to unlock real-time operational data and receive early warnings before problems happen or lives are risked. SensorUp’s clients include the US Department of Homeland Security, Lockheed Martin, NASA JPL and Cando Rail Services. Read more.

FINALIST: Neuraura Biotech Inc. – Calgary

The field of neuromodulation has the potential to treat a broad range of psychiatric, neurological and sensory conditions. Neuraura is revolutionizing the industry through advanced neuro sensor technology, currently in epilepsy surgery. Neuraura’s technology is outperforming legacy sensors because it is 350x smaller, provides 20x greater spatial resolution and generates a 3x improved signal-to-noise ratio. Read more.

Outstanding Achievement in Energy & Environmental Innovation

Mal Carroll and Dr. Nader Mahinpey
Syncrude sponsor Mal Carroll and Dr. Nader Mahinpey

WINNER: Dr. Nader Mahinpey – Professor, University of Calgary

Dr. Mahinpey holds the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Novel CO2 Capture Technologies for Oil Sands Operations. His research revolves around economically viable capture and conversion processes to address major concerns with green house gas emissions. By capturing and converting CO2 into economically viable substances, these developments bridge the gap between short and long term solutions. Read more.

FINALIST: Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group – University of Alberta

An understanding of geotechnical mechanisms of deformation and failure over long periods of time is needed to mitigate long-term risks associated with energy projects. Spearheaded by Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk, the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group develops tools to test and collect accurate and reliable data in hours, not decades, through a number of novel research facilities and experimental modelling processes. Read more.

FINALIST: Dr. Tariq Siddique & Dr. Aman Ullah – Associate Professors, University of Alberta

Using poultry feathers, Dr. Siddique and Dr. Ullah developed keratin biopolymers that have shown to be an innovative and promising technology for the simultaneous removal of multiple contaminants from oil sands process-affected water. By using an abundant waste material, the converted keratin biopolymers have tremendous potential as sorbents for large-scale application. Read more.

Outstanding Achievement in Health Innovation

Dr. James White flanked by presenters Len Grzyb (Worley) and Dr. Deborah James (University of Alberta)

WINNER: Dr. James White – Cardiologist, Clinician Scientist and Professor, University of Calgary

Dr. White develops innovative digital health tools designed to collect, standardize and integrate patient-specific diagnostic test data instrumental in predicting cardiovascular issues in individual patients before they occur. Dr. White founded Cohesic Inc., an Alberta-based company that commercially delivers these cloud-based tools to healthcare institutions across Canada and around the world. Read more.

FINALIST: Dr. Vincent Agyapong – Clinical Professor, University of Alberta

Long wait times and geographical barriers are common problems facing Albertans trying to access counselling for addiction and mental health issues. Dr. Agyapong developed Text4Mood, a program for those in need to self-subscribe to receive daily supportive text messages. The program has shown clinical effectiveness in two randomized pilot trials. Read more.

FINALIST:  Mr. Tim Davies – Turkana CEO, Calgary

Davies brought geophysical imaging principles to the medical field to quickly and non-invasively locate and characterize biological tissues in potential breast and prostate cancer patients. This imaging technology locates tumours as small as 2mm to better detect, diagnose and develop treatment for cancer patients. Read more.

Outstanding Achievement in Information & Communications Technology

Dr. Claude Laflamme. Shazia Zeb Sobani, Stephanie Keyowski
Dr. Claude Laflamme and Stephanie Keyowski from Lyryx Learning flank TELUS award sponsor Shazia Zeb Sobani

WINNER:  Lyryx Learning – Calgary

Online assessment platforms for education generally determine if a student has learned the material through a summative assessment, such as a multiple choice test, but lack the guidance of real formative assessment provided by an instructor. Lyryx Learning overcomes these limitations by implementing algorithms and harnessing content experts to deliver online personalized feedback. Read more.

FINALIST: Aimsio – Calgary

Aimsio develops software to help energy and construction companies digitize, transform and automate inefficient field processes, resulting in better dispatching, better field data capture and more efficient reporting on operations and profitability. The app and web portal help companies make more informed decisions through access to fast and accurate data on a centralized platform. Read more.

Special Award: Outstanding Contribution to Wireless Technology

Irene Bridger and Dr. Fadhel Ghannouchi
Bennett Jones Partner Irene Bridger and Dr. Fadhel Ghannouchi

Dr. Fadhel Ghannouchi – Professor, University of Calgary

Wireless connectivity is a crucial facet of modern life and the development and improvement of these technologies has far reaching benefits for industry and consumers. Dr. Ghannouchi and his team developed digital predistortion techniques which have revolutionized the industry by improving the cost, efficiency and deployment of wireless networks. This technological breakthrough allows for more data transfer and increased connectivity and has been adopted worldwide. Read more.

Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell, Martin Kratz, Rick Tofani

Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell and ASTech Board Chair Rick Tofani congratulate Martin Kratz for 30 years of dedicated leadership to the ASTech Foundation. See more.