All posts tagged WE-Empower!

Celebrating Women Innovators and Research Commercialization: Announcing the Winners of the WE-Empower! Program Fund

on June 28, 2023

By: Maria Varon, WORLDiscoveries

We are delighted to announce the exceptional winners of the WE-Empower! Program Fund, a groundbreaking initiative developed by WORLDiscoveries. This transformative program has successfully concluded its inaugural round, showcasing self-identifying women’s immense talent and potential in research commercialization.

Exceptional Grant Recipients

The WE-Empower! Program Fund offers two $50,000 grants to WE-Empower! participants who are on the leading edge of research innovation. These grants allow the winners to begin their journey toward research commercialization. This year’s distinguished grant recipients are Meagan Furnivall and Erin Iredale.

Meagan is a Registered Midwife and Clinical Research Lead for the London Health Sciences Centre Department of Midwifery. Meagan’s project focuses on developing groundbreaking technology to enhance the safety and experience of skin-to-skin contact during cesarean birth.

Dr. Erin Iredale holds a Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics CAMPEP from Western University. Erin leads a dedicated team of researchers focused on discovering novel electrotherapeutic strategies for treating aggressive brain cancers in both adult and pediatric patients. Erin will continue her journey with Western as a recently appointed Postdoctoral Fellow.

Empowering Women in the Innovation Landscape

The WE-Empower! program, developed by WORLDiscoveries, is a free eight-month mentorship and educational program designed to unite innovative and entrepreneurial individuals who self-identify as women. WE-Empower! covers topics such as entrepreneurship, research commercialization, and Intellectual Property protection.

By providing support and training from expert industry leaders and our WORLDiscoveries business development professionals, WE-Empower! aims to promote the development of new innovations.  

Phase I: Ideation (September to December)

During this initial phase, participants engage in educational seminars and panel discussions led by esteemed industry experts. They gain invaluable insights into various aspects of business development, including entrepreneurship, intellectual property strategy, market research, and business planning. Equipped with newfound knowledge and valuable connections, participants begin their journey toward technology transfer and research commercialization.

Phase II: Innovation (January to April)

In Phase II, participants translate the knowledge acquired in Phase I into action by applying it to their innovative projects. With unwavering support from the WORLDiscoveries team, they explore funding opportunities and transform their groundbreaking ideas into commercially viable ventures. The program fosters a collaborative and supportive environment that empowers participants to navigate the complexities of bringing their research to the market.

Inspiring a Brighter Future

The exceptional talent, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by the grant winners Erin and Meagan is truly inspiring. Their innovative projects will drive positive change in the innovation ecosystem. The achievements of Meagan Furnivall, Erin Iredale, and their fellow participants exemplify the program’s commitment to empowering women in research commercialization and technology transfer. With access to invaluable resources and a nurturing environment, these women are poised to impact and shape a brighter future for all significantly.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners of the WE-Empower! Program Fund and express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported this remarkable initiative.

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ecommCelebrating Women Innovators and Research Commercialization: Announcing the Winners of the WE-Empower! Program Fund

From World to Beyond: WE-Empower! Celebrates Western Professor Innovative Research

on March 7, 2023

By: Maria Varon, WORLDiscoveries

Every year on March 8, people worldwide celebrate International Women’s Day. This global day recognizes and celebrates women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. This year, as we #EmbraceEquity, WE-Empower! (a program for people who self-identify as women from faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students at Western University), is excited to celebrate Dr. Jayshri Sabarinathan. Dr. Sabarinathan is a WE-Empower! participant and who recently submitted a Report on Invention (ROI) to Western University’s Tech Transfer Office, WORLDiscoveries. 

Dr. Sabarinathan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and was previously the Associate Director of Training (2019-2022) at Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration. She obtained her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research expertise is in developing novel nano-photonic sensors, integrated photonics, and miniature remote sensing instrumentation.

From the World to Beyond: 

Dr. Sabarinathan has worked in multi-spectral imaging for remote sensing applications for the last seven years. Inspired to build a customized multi-spectral camera for agriculture monitoring, she and her team developed custom multi-spectral imager instrumentation for unmanned aerial vehicle-based and mobile robot-based remote sensing. This has applications in precision agriculture and geological classification. This work led her to The Canada Space Agency, where Dr. Sabarinathan became involved with the Integrated Visions System Project led by Dr. Osinski (the PI and Science Lead at Western University). Dr. Sabarinathan and her team have demonstrated a compact dual-sensor multi-spectral imager for a lunar rover application capable of characterizing the lunar surface geology. 

 “What’s exciting about this multi-spectral imager is that we use a dual sensor with an extended spectral range from the visible and near-infrared to the short-wave infrared, thus allowing us to recognize more lunar mineral signatures,” explains Dr. Sabarinathan. “We also realized that this instrument can be used in many applications. This led us to apply for an ROI with WORLDiscoveries. We hope to commercialize and potentially use it for other applications such as mining and air quality monitoring.” 


Dr. Sabarinathan is a current participant in an inaugural program led by WORLDiscoveries. It creates opportunities for women to turn their innovations into business opportunities. Funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund, the WE-Empower! The program provides year-round mentorship for principal investigators, faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students who self-identify as women. The program works to support and train these researchers on the technology transfer process, research commercialization options, intellectual property (IP), and entrepreneurship. “The WE-Empower program educates women faculty on navigating the commercialization process while introducing them to available resources and networks at WORLDiscoveries and within the region.”

Dr. Sabarinathan is also a co-founder of LightSail, a start-up which develops integrated photonic solutions for the aerospace industry sector. “Being part of this start-up also led me to join the WE-Empower! program as it provides resources on how to take research to commercialization and learn the right way to do it,” she says. 

Staying Inspired 

Today, Dr. Sabarinathan is pioneering innovative ways to lead impactful research to publications and guiding her students with the skills to be successful in the space industry. “This industry is growing in Canada and worldwide,” Dr. Sabarinathan explains. “We want to see our research impact people and be used by other researchers.” When talking about her inspirations, Dr. Sabarinathan describes her drive as having a dream and staying focused on that dream. “It’s important (…) not to let challenges stop you from achieving your dream. Some of the best advice I have received is: It might take someone a certain amount of time to achieve a goal, and it might take someone else a shorter amount of time. It does not matter either way as long as the goal is achieved”  

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ecommFrom World to Beyond: WE-Empower! Celebrates Western Professor Innovative Research

New program, WE-Empower, to encourage women entrepreneurs

on June 30, 2022

A new program, funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund, seeks to provide a year-round mentorship program for women and underrepresented principal investigators, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students and training in technology transfer, research commercialization, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship.

The program was a result of an equity, diversity, and inclusion assessment that identified a gap in the number of disclosures of innovation with lead female principal investigators.

Piloted by WORLDiscoveries, the business development arm of a research partnership between Western, Robarts Research Institute and Lawson, the WE-Empower program, joins other programming like the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship and Graduate Student Innovation Scholars to help promote the commercialization of research innovations coming from our partner institutions.

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ecommNew program, WE-Empower, to encourage women entrepreneurs