Surrey’s SCORE program wins North America gold

Global Best Awards 2016 recognizes innovative student training partnership between SFU, City of Surrey and HealthTech Connex.

  • Aug. 19, 2016 5:00 a.m.
Engineering science PhD candidates Sujoy Ghosh Hajra and Careesa Liu set up a summer training program last year to give students hands-on experience in solving real-world problems.

Engineering science PhD candidates Sujoy Ghosh Hajra and Careesa Liu set up a summer training program last year to give students hands-on experience in solving real-world problems.

An innovative student summer program based in Surrey has achieved international recognition by winning the 2016 Gold Global Best Award in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for North America.

The Surrey Collaborative Outreach and Research Experience (SCORE) program is a unique multi-faceted partnership that brings together business, academic, healthcare, and research organizations to develop the next generation of leaders in our communities. Simon Fraser University, City of Surrey and HealthTech Connex Inc. are lead partners. HealthTech Connex Inc. is also sponsoring the SCORE program this year.

The SCORE program trains students at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels by providing exposure to hands-on cutting-edge technological research as well as mentorship from leaders in business, community and academia. In addition to core technical skills, SCORE participants gain entrepreneurial knowledge through various seminars and events designed to facilitate development of translational skills critical to future success.

SCORE is strategically situated within the growing health and technology initiative known as Innovation Boulevard in Surrey, which includes three universities, more than 50 small and medium enterprises and multinational corporations, and the second-largest health authority in Canada (Fraser Health Authority). Arising as part of the Innovation Boulevard initiative, SCORE matches its participants with research, community, and industry partners in the extensive Innovation Boulevard network based on similar interests. SCORE participants then work closely with these partners to develop technological solutions that address real-world challenges.

The brainchild of PhD students Sujoy Ghosh Hajra and Careesa Liu from Simon Fraser University, SCORE has already won several regional awards since its inception in 2014, and is now garnering international recognition as a global leader in its field. As co-founders of SCORE, Ghosh Hajra and Liu have each won numerous regional and national awards and are the creators of breakthrough technologies in industry and academia. They attribute these achievements in large parts to the training and mentorship they have received in their professional development, and see SCORE as an opportunity to pay it forward.

“Innovation Boulevard is creating significant opportunities in health technologies, and we are in parallel developing the human capital to enable young innovators to becomes leaders in these fields,” says Liu. “The program has benefited tremendously from the enthusiasm and dedication of our leadership team. It’s a privilege to work with such talented individuals.”

The growing success of SCORE has led to the expansion of its leadership and operations team and now includes several members of the Surrey NeuroTech Lab.

SCORE’s success has even spawned an international collaboration with the University College Dublin in Ireland.

“As an initiative created, led, and operated by students for students, SCORE’s success has always been dependent on strong partnerships,” says Ghosh Hajra. “Working closely with the University College Dublin has enabled us to expand our reach beyond international borders by allowing for cross-fertilization of talent and expertise.”

“The SCORE program is an innovative partnership that we proudly support,” says Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, SFU’s BC Leadership Chair in Medical Technologies and the professor who supervises both Ghosh Hajra and Liu, and is also a founder of HealthTech Connex Inc. “I see a bright future where our amazing SFU talent stays in BC after graduation for growing high-tech opportunities and jobs. This is living proof of how innovation drives our economy and brings the best possible healthcare solutions. I’ve worked closely with both Sujoy and Careesa and it’s truly inspiring to see them make a difference in their work and help other young students get ahead in their careers.”

In its three years of operation, SCORE has trained more than 60 students with overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants and many of their subsequent employers. By integrating project management, business analytics, teamwork, and communication along with core technical training, the SCORE program helps graduates become more dynamic, well-rounded hybrids who can excel in today’s challenging job market.

The Global Best Awards is a bi-annual event that celebrates outstanding and effective business, education and community organization partnerships that have a significant impact on the communities in which they operate. These partnerships enhance job-relevant experiential learning, leading to increased educational attainment and advanced skills development. The Global Best Awards is supported by The Conference Board of Canada and the International education-business Partnership Network (IPN).

The SCORE program will now compete internationally in Oslo, Norway from September 14-16, representing North America in the STEM category, and as a contender for the Global Best Overall Award.

For more information about the awards, click here.

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