Nov. 8, 2019

UCalgary wins seven prestigious ASTech awards

Community celebrates achievements in science and technology in Alberta
Chris Dambrowitz and Joel Neo

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

Courtesy ASTech awards

The Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) awards are celebrating 30 years of inspiring innovation this year. UCalgary researchers took home a remarkable seven awards, including an award given to Schulich School of Engineering professor, Dr. Joo-Hwa (Andrew) Tay posthumously. Projects that look at innovative ways to treat wastewater and health tools that integrate patient cardiac data were among the winners.

“The ASTech awards celebrate the brightest minds in science and technology in our province,” says Dr. Andre Buret, interim vice-president (research). “I’m proud that researchers at our university are being recognized for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and their exciting contributions to Alberta’s dynamic science and tech sectors.”

Outstanding Achievement in Technology
Dr. Joo-Hwa (Andrew) Tay, PhD – professor, University of Calgary (posthumous)

Joo-Hwa (Andrew) Tay was a world-class civil engineering researcher in the field of wastewater treatment and one of the inventors of aerobic granulation technology (AGS). His research was dedicated to developing leading-edge and sustainable biotechnological processes to treat municipal and industrial wastewater. The portability and adaptability of AGS allows it to be used across a number of industrial applications to remove contaminants from wastewater. Tay was a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering.

Outstanding Achievement in Applied Technology
VizworX co-founders Dr. Frank Maurer, PhD – professor, University of Calgary, and Jeff LaFrenz, 

Frank Maurer, and Jeff LaFrenz are finding design problems with buildings before they’re built, using visualization technology. 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. Maurer is a professor in the Faculty of Science.

Outstanding Science and Technology Startup
SensorUp CEO Dr. Steve Liang, PhD –  associate professor, University of 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. The technology allows clients to unleash the potential of their AI to run more efficient and safer operations. 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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Lockheed Martin, NASA JPL and Cando Rail Services. Liang is an associate professor in the Schulich School of Engineering.

Outstanding Achievement in Energy & Environmental Innovation
Dr. Nader Mahinpey, PhD – professor, University of Calgary

Nader Mahinpey’s research revolves around economically viable capture and conversion processes to address major concerns with greenhouse gas emissions. By capturing and converting CO2 into economically viable substances, these developments bridge the gap between short- and long-term solutions. He holds the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Novel CO2 Capture Technologies for Oil Sands Operations. He a professor at the Schulich School of Engineering.

Outstanding Achievement in Health Innovation
Dr. James White, MD – cardiologist, clinician scientist and professor, University of Calgary

James 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. He founded Cohesic Inc., an Alberta-based company that commercially delivers these cloud-based tools to health-care institutions across Canada and around the world. He is a professor in the Cumming School of Medicine and director - Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute.

Outstanding Achievement in Information and Communications Technology
Dr. Claude Laflamme, PhD – professor, University of Calgary, and Stephanie Keyowski, Lyryx Learning

Claude Laflamme, and Stephanie Keyowski  are flipping the publishing industry with open texts and better educational software. 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. Laflamme is a professor in the Faculty of Science.

Special Award: Outstanding Contribution to Wireless Technology
Dr. Fadhel Ghannouchi, PhD – professor, University of Calgary

Fadel Ghannouchi and his team developed digital predistortion techniques that 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. 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. Ghannouchi is a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering.

Celebrating 30 years in 2019, the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded through an industry initiative in 1989 to showcase the substantial achievements in science and technology in Alberta, and to promote the importance of these activities to social and economic benefit.