Submissions open for MaRS’ Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge


MaRS Discovery District has opened applications for its Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge, a competition looking for new tools to measure rehabilitation activities and their impact on individuals living with spinal cord injury.

The event has a grand prize of $100,000 and two additional prizes of $50,000 each.

The Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge is a nation-wide, open-source initiative with a prize pool of $200,000. Spinal cord injuries impact multiple bodily systems and functions, and can contribute to decreased participation and quality of life. Physical rehabilitation usually consists of exercises prescribed by a clinician to improve bodily functions.

“There is a lack of accessible technologies that track rehabilitation activities and their resulting impact on function,” MarS noted on the challenge’s website. “As a result, the relative effectiveness of both traditional and newly-developed physical rehabilitation methods, such as activity-based therapy, after spinal cord injury is difficult to evaluate.”

Each applicant must demonstrate the rehabilitation activities and measurements of function that they chose to report on, how these measurements have been validated for a person with a spinal cord injury, and a description of the individuals involved in the validation process. This information must be described in a video demonstrating the solution.

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Each participant is required to engage individuals with lived experience of spinal cord injury, and it is highly encouraged to engage with clinicians as well as caregivers or families in order to ensure that the proposed solution meets their needs and can be implemented in practice.

The challenge is open to technology providers, individuals with lived experience of the injury, clinicians, academia, public sector institutions, and private sector organizations. All intellectual property rights will be retained by the innovators.

The event has a grand prize of $100,000 and two additional prizes of $50,000 each. After the challenge, there will be opportunities for technology validation, scaling, and adoption-oriented activities. The deadline to apply to the challenge is June 11 and the winners will be announced on July 30. Entrants who are selected to receive a prize will be sent notifications by email, however MaRS has not stated whether the final winner will be announced virtually or in-person.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Joyce McCown.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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