Alexa MacDonald

Manager (Applied Sciences and Engineering) Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE), DAL
(902) 494-1693

What was your background prior to joining Dalhousie Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE)?

I came into my role at OCIE as a researcher who had previously worked with private industry as part of my MSc work at UNB in exoskeletons and gait biomechanics. When I had the opportunity to join OCIE, I was completing my MPH in Epidemiology and was with our team for just over a year before completing my final placement with our friends at the IWK. My time and ongoing relationships that I created during my time at the IWK have been so valuable both educationally and in my return to OCIE.

I think that my unique educational background has set me up well to recognize the value and opportunity in the contributions of each piece of an ecosystem, critically assess policy, and facilitate partnerships.

What opportunities do you see for Atlantic Canada doing this work?

There is potential and grit in this region. We have world class researchers across all our maritime institutions, and I think we’re just beginning tap into this potential and seeing what Atlantic Canadian institutions have to offer. Something I see, even during my short time at Dal but through my experience at UNB as well, is this fundamental shift in mindset especially among students, researchers and institutions to innovation and commercialization right here in Atlantic Canada. It benefits all Atlantic Canadians and Canadians when we work together and collaborate with the experts in our own backyards and commit to growing our own industries.

What motivates you in this line of work?

Our researchers. One of my favourite parts of this job are the people I get to meet and get to know. The research community is so diverse and dynamic that there are always new folks to meet. One of the tools I especially love are the programs that we manage which allow us to bring industry and research together. My favourite moment is connecting a new researcher or new industry partner successfully and setting the foundation for a great relationship moving forward. 

What is your day-to-day like with Dal OCIE?

My day to day is wide ranging and has changed considerably with the shift to working from home during COVID-19. In pre-pandemic times I would love to schedule coffee or walk and talks with researchers to get to know them and introduce them to what we as an office have to offer them to help achieve their short- and long-term goals, whether this is their first time engaging in research partnership with industry or if they’re looking to expand their current portfolio of work. Recently, I’ve been assisting in the legal part of the shop to really get into how to put pen to paper and learn the specifics of how to manage partnerships, commercialization, and technology transfer/protection in practice.

How does the Springboard network support that success?

I think Springboard is a great resource! Being able to bounce ideas off each other and figure out how to collaboratively work with funding agencies and overcome bigger issues together is a huge strength of the network. It also provides insight into how different solutions and strategies work in different institutions; Springboard allows us to celebrate our institutional strengths and heterogeneity while maximizing the collective influence we have as a group. By offering a collaborative space to represent Atlantic Canada in the post-secondary innovation and commercialization world, Springboard is an essential support in all our successes.

  • Supported By:
  • Canada
  • ACOA
  • Springboard Members