Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) Praxis Grant Competition

Images of people with assistive devices

STAGE One Workshop - June 18, 2021 1 - 4 p.m.

Information for Stage 1 can be found at the bottom of this page.

STAGE Two Grant Competition 

Objectives of Stage Two (2):

A student, Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty or Staff from the University of Waterloo that has the most promising innovative project to improve the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) will be selected from a pool of applicants and supported as follows.  

  • $17,500 CAD for first place; $10,000 CAD for second place; 

  • Business planning in parallel with R&D; 

  • Coordination of an application for Mitacs funding.  

Preference will be given to applications that incorporate a lens of indigenous challenges or indigenous participants. 

Expectations and Terms of Funding:

  1. Identify a pressing challenge for individuals with SCI (preference given to projects that highlight accessibility and cultural considerations to appropriately incorporate and meaningfully engage Indigenous leaders, faculty, community, students); 

  2. Develop a prototype; 

  3. Create a spin-out company; 

  4. Funds will support the company for six months and accelerate development; 

  5. The spin-out will send a report to the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) and Praxis outlining progress on key metrics (e.g. minimum viable product progress, business plan draft, pilot data on the technology R&D, patent, incorporation, etc.); 

  6. A final report will be submitted at the end of six months; 

  7. The spin-out company will apply for Velocity and later Praxis’ Accelerator for continued support. 

Applicant demographic:

Any member or member team of the UW Community: student, postdoctoral fellow, faculty or staff. Partners external to the University of Waterloo are not required, but are encouraged. 

Application process:

Please email cbb@uwaterloo.ca with a (i) maximum two page (ii).docx or .pdf file (iii) addressing the following #1-12. 

Applications will be accepted until August 18, 2021 at 11:30 pm; the successful applicant(s) will be announced on August 25, 2021. 

  1. Name, title, affiliation, email and phone number of the applicant(s) 

  1. What is the problem or issue being addressed for the population suffering from spinal cord injuries? (e.g. Neuropathic pain, Neuro-restoration, Bladder and Bowel related complications, Sexual function, Pressure injuries, Quality of Life, Independent Living, Other – please specify) 

  1. How does your solution meaningfully engage and incorporate the challenges in healthcare accessibility and cultural sensitivity with regards to the Indigenous community in Canada? How have you engaged with these challenges and communities? What is your plan to do so? 

  1. What is the potential impact of the technology? 

  1. What is your technology’s TRL? (Technology Readiness Level – Innovation

  1. Explain what makes your product unique in the market in one sentence. 

  1. What other markets (types of patients, diagnoses) will your product benefit? 

  1. Will you or have you patented/copyrighted your technology? 

  1. Do you plan to spin-out your technology into a start-up company? How will you achieve this goal? 

  1. What is your strategy for seeking subsequent support? 

  1. What are the three (3) key objectives of your technology development and company creation in Fall 2021 (e.g. commercialization consultation, end-user consultation, research and product development, incorporation, patenting, Velocity membership, validation, pilot, etc.) 

  1. What do you need help with over the funding period? Prioritize the answers below by giving them a score from 1-7 (do not repeat) 

a) Validation, engagement and traction with end-users (SCI community) 

b) Research expertise, advisory and networks 

c) Business planning 

d) Introduction to Business-Business buyers in the US and Canada (hospitals, insurance providers, payers) 

e) Regulatory and reimbursement advice 

f) Exposure to angel and VC investors in the US and Canada 

g) Other, please elaborate

Project examples:

The following is a wide list of examples that capture potential solution applications for the SCI community and people living with SCI. This list is included to encourage innovation around the project and is by no means exclusive or exhaustive. 

  • Device/method of scanning reprocessed medical devices to ensure that there is no bioburden remaining 

  • Devices/interventions to manage neuropathic pain 

  • Devices/interventions to address bladder management and UTIs 

  • Solutions that improve mobility 

  • Chronic shoulder/wrist pain due to daily manual wheelchair use and repetitive strain injuries 

  • Functional e-stim device to be used by those individuals with SCI to address functionality, spasticity, pain or other related conditions; i.e. must be quadriplegic friendly 

  • Solutions that improve upper limb (arm) and hand functionality/mobility including, e.g: Solution for difficulty brushing teeth 

  • Device/software that tracks rehabilitation activities and their resulting impact on function 

  • Device/software to prevent or treat pressure injuries 

  • Devices/software to manage optimize spasticity 

  • Devices/software to facilitate physical activity and or rehabilitation 

  • Solutions that address sexuality and fertility conditions for individuals with disabilities 

Project Ideation Support:

CBB will support needs finding for potential applicants new to this space. Please check back here regularly for resources and virtual workshops that will explore the grand challenges of Indigenous people and those with spinal cord injury. 


Sandra A. Juutilainen, Melanie Jeffrey, and Suzanne Stewart "Methodology Matters: Designing a Pilot Study Guided by Indigenous Epistemologies," Human Biology 91(3), 141-151, (9 June 2020). https://doi.org/10.13110/humanbiology.91.3.06

Ahmed SU, Humphreys S, Rivers C, Jeffrey M, Fourney DR. Traumatic spinal cord injuries among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations of Saskatchewan: a prospective outcomes study. Canadian journal of surgery. 2020 Jun;63(3):E315. https://praxisinstitute.org/tsci-aboriginal-non-aboriginal-sk-populations/

<--break->Juutilainen SA, Jeffrey M, Stewart S. Methodology Matters: Designing a Pilot Study Guided by Indigenous Epistemologies. Human biology. 2020 Jun;91(3):141-51. https://praxisinstitute.org/methodology-study-indigenous-epistemologies/



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Indigenous SCI Grant Competition - Stage 1

June 18, 2021 1 - 4 p.m.

This will be a half day workshop featuring team building sessions and talks on Indigenous and Spinal Cord Injury challenges. Participants can submit their solutions, after the workshop, for a chance to win one of eight $2,250 CAD grants to develop their idea. Register