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Indian and Canadian innovators partner to create solutions for people with spinal cord injury

The Rick Hansen Institute is pleased to embark on a unique partnership with IC-IMPACTS and the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) to support emerging technologies that holds the potential to benefit people with spinal cord injuries in India, Canada, and around the world.

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The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announces the partnership between RHI, IC-IMPACTS and ISIC in New Delhi on February 22. Photo source @ScienceMin.

The partnership was formally announced in New Delhi, India on February 22 by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

“Collaboration is incredibly important to the scientific process. But we know research partnerships are that much richer when scientists work with expert partners, like the Rick Hansen Institute and ‎Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, who can inform their discovery process,” said Minister Duncan. Today’s agreement and call for creative thinking to help people living with spinal cord injury is an example of the important work Canadian scientists are doing to help people with disabilities participate fully in society both in Canada and in India.”

Working closely together, the three organizations will establish a competition attracting researchers in Indian and Canadian universities to work collaboratively in developing and commercializing promising and innovative technologies in the treatment and care of people living with SCI.

The partnership will focus not only on creating relevant, efficient and effective health technologies that benefit individuals with spinal cord injuries, but will also consider the economic challenges faced by Indian and Canadian healthcare systems. At the same time, this partnership will expand the links between Canadian and Indian experts in innovation and commercialization, setting the stage for further exchanges.

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From left: Dr. Harvinder Chhabra, Chief of Spine Services and Medical Director, ISIC, Major Ahluwalia, Bill Barrable

“We are pleased to partner with our colleagues at IC-IMPACTS and ISIC and can learn much from their perspectives on innovation in technology and health research,” said Bill Barrable, CEO of the Rick Hansen Institute. Our goal is to bring together great minds and expertise to reduce the impact of spinal cord injury. This partnership exemplifies how we are working to achieve this goal.”

ISIC was founded by Major HPS Ahluwalia, who was a member of the Indian Army and an avid mountaineer, climbing Mount Everest in 1965. During the Indo-Pakistani War, he was shot which resulted in a spinal cord injury. 

"ISIC has formed one of a kind collaboration with esteemed Canadian organizations, RHI and IC-IMPACTS, both well respected names in the international medical community, to create better avenues of providing treatment to thousands of spinal injury patients in India," said Major Ahluwalia, Chairman of ISIC. "It is well understood that avenues to provide spinal injuries care amongst people of India is limited. This alliance provides us with the opportunities to share their knowledge and work collaboratively to address issues related to SCI which are not currently available. There is a huge focus towards innovation and research and the technologies thereby developed for people living in India is more likely to be of relevance in Canada and other countries." 

This partnership comes on the heels of the RHI-Hebrew University BioDesign Partnership. Both are part of the Institute's broader initiative of accelerating promising technologies and products that benefit people with SCI as part of its Commercialization Program.

Funding for this partnership was provided by the Rick Hansen Institute through the Government of Canada.