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CIMTEC - Accelerating Commercialization by Overcoming Barriers

Aaron Fenster, PhD FCCPM, Robarts Research Institute, Western University, London, Ontario, CANADA

CIMTEC - Accelerating Commercialization by Overcoming Barriers

  • CREATE-MIA Event
  • IP
  • Professional skills
When Mar 14, 2014
from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where McConnell Engineering MC103
Attendees All CREATE-MIA Trainees
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Over the last 35 years, Canadian Universities and Institutes have developed some of the world’s leading imaging research programs. With substantial funding from granting agencies, these centres have built state-of-the-art facilities and developed a significant cadre of well-trained highly qualified personnel (HQP). In addition to establishing outstanding research programs, investigators at these centres have already embraced the mission of commercialization of innovations generated in their laboratories through licensing and spin-off companies. These efforts have resulted in many imaging-focused companies and more are being proposed. Some of these companies have achieved international sales with staff of over 50 people, but most are small companies with staff of less than 20 people.

Extensive discussions among imaging investigators have clearly revealed that there is significant potential to increase commercialization of innovations from academic centres and to establish a vibrant cluster of imaging companies in partnership with the imaging research laboratories that can supply innovations and HQP. However, these discussions have also revealed some barriers preventing commercialization of innovations.

To address this important issue, the Federal Government has established the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), which offers a variety of programs that mobilize Canada’s best research, development and entrepreneurial expertise and focus them on specific issues and strategic areas. The NCE suite includes four national programs, which bring together an appropriate blend of people and organizations to address important issues affecting Canadians.  One of the NCE suites of programs is the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). The goal of these Centres is to stimulate new commercialization activities that likely would never have taken place without the CECR program. One of the 21 funded CECRs is focused on medical imaging – the Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC).

In this paper, we will describe how CIMTEC provides support along the entire product development continuum of imaging technology, from education about the requirements and steps involved in commercializing a product, developing specific value proposition, assessing freedom-to-operate and the intellectual property and regulatory landscapes, to software and hardware prototype and final commercial product development.


Dr. Fenster received his PhD degree in 1976 from the Department of Medical Biophysics of the University of Toronto. In 1987 he moved to London and became a Scientist and founding Director of the Imaging Research Laboratories (IRL) at the Robarts Research Institute and Professor at The University of Western Ontario (UWO) in Radiology. Under his leadership, the IRL has grown to a staff of 250 today.  In addition, he is the founder and Associate Director of the interdisciplinary graduate Program at UWO in Biomedical Engineering. He is also the Chair of the basic Science Division of the Department of Medical Imaging and the Director for the Biomedical Imaging Research Centre at UWO. This Division combines the strengths in imaging research across London’s Institutions, which combined, makes the London medical imaging research community one of the largest in North America with over 350 staff and students and $100M in research equipment. In 2010 he became the Centre Director of the newly formed Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization – a federally funded Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research.

Currently, he holds a Canada Research Chair-Tier 1 in Biomedical Engineering.  He is the first recipient of the Premier’s (Ontario) Discovery Award for Innovation and Leadership (2007), the Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research at the UWO (2008), and the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP) Gold Medal Award (2010).  In 2011 he was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  Fenster’s research has resulted in 270 peer-reviewed publications, 39 patents and the formation of four companies.  His patents have been licensed to 13 companies, which have commercialized them for world-wide distribution.

« January 2023 »
Funded by NSERC

Funding provided by NSERC