Springing into Action with the Science Innovation Hub

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

While our physical doors may be closed, the Science Innovation Hub is working hard to continue supporting our students through the Spring term - and making sure to support our community by practicing proper physical distancing. We’ve been connecting through video conferencing (members from iuvoderm, Scope, Material Futures Lab, and iGEM pictured below) to make sure everyone is staying well and staying safe.

Screenshot of SIH community meeting zoom call

As the new term begins, we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the great work our community members are doing in these unprecedented times. Check out their stories below!


iGEM is in a truly extraordinary competition this year. To make sure teams across the globe are able to continue innovating while adhering to physical distancing mandates, iGEM has made their annual Giant Jamboree completely virtual.

Living up to their name as innovators, the Waterloo iGEM team has easily pivoted their operations and are making great strides on their 2020 project. They’ve been doubling down on bioinformatics, literature review, and experimental and project design as they round out their planning phase. All three sub-teams (Lab & Design, Mathematics & Modelling, and Human Practices) have also been building a valuable network of field experts, connecting with them online as they continue to delve into how they can solve the problem of metal contamination in water waste streams.

Outside of their project work, each sub-team has been making sure to focus on supporting the local iGEM community:

Screenshot of iGem Lab and Design zoom call

Lab & Design has been conducting mini synthetic biology lectures for their community members.


Picture of iGem Math and modelling zoom call

Mathematics & Modelling has also been hosting online training sessions on a variety of topics including molecular biology and differential equations. They’ve also been running technical workshops for common software tools such as Zoom, GitHub and Slack to make working remotely just as effective and easy as in-person.


Screenshot of iGem Human practices zoom call

Finally, Human Practices has moved all of their communications and planning online and are meeting with stakeholders to determine whether the team should focus on a preventative or remediation-based solution. They’ve also been drilling down on how environmental racism plays a key role in communities affected by metal-contaminated waste streams.



With the recent events of COVID-19 and the need to practice social distancing, iuvoderm has been working hard on other aspects of their business to further refine their product without the need for prototyping. They are currently focusing on customer development and deep diving into the intellectual property space and scientific literature surrounding diabetic foot ulcer epidemiology and treatment. Finally, they’re connecting with grant and pitch funding opportunities, making sure they’re prepared and well-supported for when lab space becomes available again for in-person prototyping.

Polygone Technologies

Polygone 3D printed facial maskPolygone Technologies has always worked hard to make sure their innovative solutions service and support the community, and their operations this Spring term are no different. Aside from working on their venture and making sure to keep with social distancing mandates, PolyGone Technologies has been stepping up to help with a local COVID-19 initiative by repurposing their 3D printer to produce face shield PPE for healthcare workers. Their printer has been running non-stop as they do everything that they can to help. You can find out more about the COVID-19 initiative they’re supporting and how to get involved on the Canadian Shield PPE website.


The COVID-19 landscape has been a unique change of pace, but Scope is busier than ever. While working from home, Scope has been moving forward with incorporation and are developing significantly more complex simulations. They are in the midst of designing and validating a full zooming system with hopes to prototype once in-person lab operations resume. They’ve also been making sure their business side is growing, focusing on even more market validation and traction in the coming months. Finally, they’ve been conducting extensive patent reviews to ensure our designs remain novel and patentable, with a provisional patent filing in the near future. 

Science Innovation Hub

Finally, we’d like to round out this update by highlighting some upcoming Science Innovation Hub events that we’re launching to continue to support the University of Waterloo community.

The Spring 2020 term sees the University of Waterloo rapidly innovating to shift our rich breadth of program offerings online and the Science Innovation Hub is no exception. We have continued to provide technical and business advisement support for all of our teams through online Advisory Hub meetings.

We will also be offering an online multi-stream workshop series spanning from May to August; look forward to connecting with a fantastic roster of international speakers to discuss topics ranging from entrepreneurship to global health inequity. The Science Coordinator will also be hosting a four-part skills development series on some of the core concepts that will help you in your research career from graduate school and beyond. Make sure to keep an eye on the Faculty of Science social media channels to stay up to date!

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