iBEST of both worlds: Rye, St. Mike’s tag team

Ryerson has entered a 20-year partnership with St. Michael's Hospital. (File photo)

Ryerson has entered a 20-year partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital. (File photo)

Ryerson’s new partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital may have never happened if it were not for a chance meeting between a Ryerson dean and the director of a research centre at the hospital.

The partnership for a new institute and research collaboration got its start because then dean of engineering and now provost Mohamed Lachemi and Ori Rotstein, director of the Keenan Research Centre, were close to each other.


“I was sitting with dean Lachemi at a conference, we introduced each other and said maybe we can get together,” said Rotstein.

“We would just start off with a lunch meeting and get a bunch of scientists from Ryerson and scientists from St. Mikes.”

Rotstein and the hospital announced plans last Wednesday for the creation of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology, or iBEST.

Construction on the 22,000-square-foot facility, which will be housed in the Keenan Research centre, is expected to start in the spring of 2014 and finished a year later.

“I think we all have this ambition when you bring great people together there will be things that will be discovered and ideas that will be commercialized that none ever imagined,” said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy at the project launch last Wednesday.

The space will include a 2,000-square-foot “incubator” space for transforming projects and research into commercial projects.

The incubator was inspired by Ryerson’s popular and successful Digital Media Zone, which provides resources and “energy” for Ryerson startups.

“It’s a fantastic use for students working in biomedical area, they’ll have access to a robust research institute,” Rotstein said.

Ryerson’s share is supposed to be for 15 faculty members and 40 students, though according to Rotstein as long as there are students with innovative projects there will be space.

The partnership is reportedly for 20 years but the reason for the length and Ryerson’s financial contribution have not been released because, “… construction does not start until spring 2014, the costs and other elements of the agreement are still being finalized,” according to the provost’s office.

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