2011 ORION Summit: Innovation Needs a Backbone


Join distinguished Canadian and global leaders and innovators in science, research, education and information technology as they gather at the 2011 ORION Summit to discuss new and innovative technologies that are transforming the way we conduct research, collaborate, teach and learn.  Innovation Needs a Backbone is the theme of this year’s annual ORION Summit, taking place April 18 and 19 at the MaRS Centre in downtown Toronto.

 Opening the Summit is Peter Nowak, an award-winning journalist  specializing in technology and its effect on culture. Nowak will be  discussing how much of the technology we enjoy today, from cold  medicine to Google, can be traced back to the military, pornography  or  the fast food industry.

Kicking off the second day of the Summit is Daneal Charney, author and Gen Y ‘guru’ who develops unconventional ways to integrate the next generation of leaders. Charney’s keynote, Gen Y Calling: 3 Strategies to Harness the Most Underutilized Generation Ever, will discuss why young workers feel worlds apart from their employers even though their goals are exactly the same, and how to use this knowledge to coax them into higher productivity and engagement.

Dr. Gilles Patry, the fourth President and CEO of the Canada  Foundation for Innovation, will give a keynote presentation over  lunch on the 19th. Dr. Patry will give the national perspective on  research and innovation funding and speak about how Canada  ranks globally in driving innovation. He will also touch on the topic  of advanced technologies as critical infrastructure for enabling  research and research collaborations (especially nationally and  globally), and about research commercialization and linking centres of excellence with postsecondary institutions and business.

This year’s Summit will host a variety of exciting breakout sessions covering such topics as colleges and applied research, digital media commercialization, supercomputing, and new technologies for teaching and learning. The New Frontiers in Online & Virtual Learning Environments session will showcase some initiatives from the University of Toronto, George Brown College and Purdue University in Indiana, that are exploring innovative ways to deliver course programming online and through mobile devices, in an effort to engage increasingly tech-savvy students and introduce new technologies for learning.

Colleges & Applied Research: Key to Innovation Success in Ontario will discuss how colleges play a key role in helping to develop new products and services that drive innovation in Ontario.  Each panellist will speak to their experiences with the start-up nature of college applied research, success factors and industry engagement, and the role of engaging students and mobilizing institutions for a future workforce enabled by innovation literacy. It will end with a discussion about virtual research clusters that would address industry needs where and when needed through advanced collaboration and communication technologies.

Other stimulating sessions include Up in the Clouds, which will look at how services for research and innovation are increasingly migrating to the cloud.  Panelists include green IT consultant Bill St. Arnaud, Jordan Friedman from Google, and Andy Rindos, head of the RTP Center for Advanced Studies (CAS), which coordinates university relations for the IBM community in North Carolina.

Closing the Summit with a keynote on Pre-competitive science in  the drug discovery sector is Dr. Aled Edwards, Banbury  Professor of Medical Research at the University of Toronto and  Chief Executive of the Structural Genomics Consortium. Dr.  Edwards will be discussing the newly formed “open access”  business space and how it is creating new opportunities for  commercialization, specifically relating to Ontario as a cultural  and business force in the drug discovery sector.

Register today at www.orion.on.ca/summit2011.


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