Schulich Startups opens entrepreneurship office

Students working together in a workspace rom

York University’s Schulich School of Business recently opened new office space for Schulich Startups, which leads the development of the school’s accelerator and incubator services and helps support aspiring and established student entrepreneurs.

Schulich Startups office space
Schulich Startups new office space.

Located on the second floor of the Dezsö J. Horváth Executive Learning Centre, the new facility represents the school’s ongoing commitment to fostering an innovative and collaborative startup ecosystem. It is equipped with the following workspaces that cater to the varying needs of the student entrepreneurship community:

  • Founders Workspace (Private Lounge): tailored to startup founders seeking a quiet area for deep, focused work or confidential discussions.
  • Media Room: equipped with advanced podcasting technology, this room is ideal for startup founders and entrepreneurship-focused student clubs hosting podcasts, conducting interviews and creating multimedia content.
  • Conference Room: this versatile space can host up to 15 participants and is perfect for workshops, seminars and guest lectures, as well as Schulich “Idea Jams” with portfolio companies.
  • Co-working Space: a dynamic, collaborative environment for startup teams to come together.

“The new office space will facilitate the continued growth and development of the Schulich Startups community, which now includes more than 200 companies and over 3,000 members, and which is dedicated to creating the next generation of Schulich entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick.

For more information about Schulich Startups, visit

York-developed safe water innovation earns international praise

Child drinking water from outdoor tap water well

The Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT), an innovative technology used to help humanitarian responders deliver safe water in crisis zones, developed by two professors in York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering and Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, was recently highlighted as a success story in two international publications.

Syed Imran Ali

Built by Syed Imran Ali, an adjunct professor at Lassonde and research Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute, in collaboration with Lassonde Associate Professor Usman Khan, the web-based SWOT platform generates site-specific and evidence-based water chlorination targets to ensure water remains safe to drink all the way to the point of consumption. It uses machine learning and process-based numerical modelling to generate life-preserving insight from the water quality monitoring data that is already routinely collected in refugee camps.

One of the SWOT’s funders, the U.K.-based ELRHA Humanitarian Innovation Fund, recently published a case study on the tool to serve as an example of a successful humanitarian innovation.

As a result of that publication, the SWOT was then highlighted as a success story in another case study, this time in the U.K. government’s latest white paper, titled “International development in a contested world: ending extreme poverty and tackling climate change.”

Water quality staff tests chlorination levels in household stored water at the Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan. Photo by Syed Imran Ali.

“These international recognitions highlight the impact our research is having on public health engineering in humanitarian operations around the world,” explained Ali.

As his team works to scale up the SWOT globally, he believes these publications will help increase awareness of and confidence in the technology. “We’re excited to build new partnerships with humanitarian organizations and help get safe water to the people who need it most,” he said.

For more information about the Safe Water Optimization Tool, visit

To learn more about how this innovation is advancing, read this YFile story.

York U in the news: government leadership, spyware and more

Officials should seek to lead, not simply ‘change things,’ writes McElroy
A letter to the editor by York University Professor Emeritus Tom McElroy was published in the Hill Times Nov. 29.

Spyware being used by 13 federal departments, documents show
York University Professor Evan Light was quoted in in CBC News Nov. 29.

Do you matter?
York University Professor Gordon Flett was quoted in Psychology Today Nov. 28.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.

AMS Healthcare awards fund York research on history of medicine

Crop close up Indian woman doctor in white uniform with stethoscope taking notes, using laptop, writing in medical journal

Earlier this month, Canadian charitable organization AMS Healthcare announced two York University scholars as recipients of its 2023 History of Healthcare Awards Program: Jody Hodgins, a PhD candidate in the Department of History; and Kenton Kroker, an associate professor in the Department of Social Science, both in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

The AMS History of Healthcare Awards Program promotes scholarship, teaching and public interest in the history of health care, disease and medicine. Health-care professionals, students and researchers can apply for three types of awards: postdoctoral fellowships of $45,000, doctoral research awards of $25,000 and project grants of up to $10,000. The program aspires to convene networks, develop leaders and fund crucial activities in medical history, health-care research, education and clinical practice.

Hodgins and Kroker are two of the eleven 2023 award recipients selected by an expert review panel. These outstanding scholars will act as leaders to enhance the impact and value of history of health-care research in Canada and beyond and help shape the future of Canadian health care.

Jody Hodgins

Jody Hodgins
Jody Hodgins

Hodgins received the AMS History of Healthcare Doctoral Research Award, worth $25,000, for her project titled “Meeting Demands for Animal Healthcare: Veterinary Medicine in Rural Southern Ontario, 1862-1939,” which will explore the interdependence between animal, human and environmental health to show advancements in public health and the role veterinary medicine had in shaping our current understanding of modern medicine and health-care practices. 

“I am grateful to AMS Healthcare for their support of the history of medicine community and honoured to receive this award alongside such company,” she said.

Hodgins will examine four key developments that occurred between 1862, marking the establishment of the Ontario Veterinary College, and 1939: the production of animal health knowledge in popular sources; the need for veterinary intervention with unrecognizable diseases that could transfer from animals to humans; the popularity of quack medicine; and the technological advancements available with the rise of professionalization.

“I am thankful for this opportunity and the support of my supervisor, Sean Kheraj, and committee members Jennifer Bonnell and Colin Coates, whose invaluable guidance will help me to contribute a history of veterinary medicine that offers a better understanding of how people living in rural communities managed health before professional veterinarians were quickly available and affordable in rural environments,” she said.

Kenton Kroker

Kenton Kroker
Kenton Kroker

Kroker received the AMS History of Healthcare Project Grant, worth $20,000, for his historical study titled “Innovation, Expertise, and Equity: Creating Sleep Medicine within Canada’s Universal Health Care System, 1970 – 2000.” Kroker asks what effects Canada’s evolving system of universal health care had on sleep medicine since 1970.

“I’m thrilled to use this grant money to hire a Science and Technology Studies doctoral student (Hana Holubec) to help me examine the evolution of sleep medicine in Canada,” he said.

Drawing inspiration for his study from his late colleague Professor Gina Feldberg, who called for more comparative studies to better understand how health care has unfolded differently in Canada and the U.S., Kroker has been fascinated by the delicate balance Canadians try to execute in creating an accessible health-care system that also facilitates innovation.

“Medical interest in sleep appeared – almost out of nowhere – simultaneous with the development of Canada’s universal health-care system,” he explained, “so I started to wonder whether a close historical study of this field might reveal the ways in which the Canadian model of health-care provision affected the development of this new medical sub-specialty.”

To execute his project, Kroker will combine personal interviews of Canadian sleep medicine researchers and practitioners with a historical analysis of published biomedical literature to help reveal the ways Canada’s universal health-care system impacted technological innovation, patient care, and professional status and structure in an emerging field of medical expertise.

“The results,” he said, “will illustrate the complex ways that equitable access and biomedical innovation have interacted in the recent past. It might also help us better understand the benefits and drawbacks of our current system of health-care provision – and perhaps even improve it.”

Applications for the 2024 AMS History of Healthcare Awards will open on Jan. 8, 2024, with over $250,000 in funding available. For more information, visit the program website

York U in the news: Justin Trudeau’s legacy, traditional Indigenous foods and more

After eight years in power, what is Justin Trudeau’s legacy – and how will he cement it?
An op-ed by York University Professor Thomas Klassen was published in the Conversation Nov. 23.

Learn to make a healthy meal with Indigenous ingredients
York University PhD student Chandra Maracle was profiled on Nov. 24.

Growing number of homeless people turning to ERs for shelter and warmth, study says
York University Professor Stephen Gaetz was quoted in the Toronto Star Nov. 28.

Comment: B.C.’s ‘alternative shelter’ bill tramples on the rights of unhoused people
An op-ed co-written by Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Estair Van Wagne was published in the Vancouver Sun Nov. 24.

Haldimand council unanimously votes in favour of procedure bylaw updates, despite journalists saying it runs afoul of the Charter, freedom of the press
York University Professor Richard Leblanc was quoted in the Hamilton Spectator Nov. 25.

‘This justice system is failing our people’: Report meant to help Indigenous people in court often causes harm
York University Professor Carmela Murdocca was mentioned on Nov. 24.

The Canada Black Music Archives launches searchable database of musicians
York University was mentioned in Billboard Canada Nov. 24.

Study will test feasibility of hydrogen power in Cochrane
York University was mentioned on Nov. 27.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.

Professor wins prestigious prize for nonfiction

3d golden star golden with lighting effect on black background. Template luxury premium award design. Vector illustration

Last week, York University Professor Christina Sharpe was awarded the 2023 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for her book Ordinary Notes (Knopf Canada, Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan Publishers, Daunt Books, 2023). The prize, worth $75,000, is given annually for excellence in literary nonfiction, to a work that demonstrates a distinctive voice and a compelling command of language.

Christina Sharpe close-up portrait
Christina Sharpe

“I was thrilled that Ordinary Notes was recognized and received the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction,” said Sharpe. “It was an honour to be on the shortlist with the other authors and hopefully it means that the life of the work is extended and that the book will reach more people.”

It has been quite a year for Sharpe, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities at York. A profile in the New York Times accompanied the launch of her book in April and dubbed her “the woman shaping a generation of Black thought.” Ordinary Notes has since received extensive praise – from the Guardian, The Yale Review, the Boston Globe, Bookforum and Publisher’s Weekly, to name a few – for its literary innovation and careful examination of questions about loss and the shapes of Black life that emerge in the wake. It was also a finalist for the 2023 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

In Sharpe’s winning book, a series of 248 notes are used to weave artifacts from the past – public ones alongside others that are personal – with present realities and possible futures, constructing an immersive portrait of everyday Black existence. The notes gather meaning as they’re read.

The Writers’ Trust Prize jury said, “With tenderness, bravery and razor-sharp poetic language, Christina Sharpe invites the reader to witness the ordinary joys and sorrows of Black lives and how they are transformed within the everyday reality of systems of racial supremacy. In doing so, she creates a new narrative space at once intimate, deeply informed and uncompromising.”

When asked about the book’s unique format, Sharpe shared that this was a carefully considered choice. “I wanted to write a book in which form does something,” she explained. “There are four books in particular that greatly informed the form and approach of my book: Adrienne Kennedy’s People Who Led to My Plays, Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging and The Blue Clerk, and John Keene’s Annotations.”

The result is a book that the jury said, “calls upon the reader to witness and wrestle with the notes and stories that Sharpe, a scholar and poet, so generously shares with us.”

In addition to Ordinary Notes, Sharpe has authored two other books of nonfiction, Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects and In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, the second of which was named by the Guardian and The Walrus as one of the best books of 2016 and nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Since 2011, the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction has been sponsored by businesswoman and writer Hilary M. Weston, the 26th lieutenant Governor of Ontario. This year, it is funded by the Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation, and the prize purse has increased from $60,000 to $75,000.

For more information about the awards, visit Awards | Writers’ Trust of Canada (

Schulich triumphs in fall case competitions

Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building

This semester, the Schulich School of Business sent several case competition teams to universities across North America – to much success. Each student team received coaching from alumni and faculty as part of Schulich’s highly regarded Case Competition Program, which serves as a platform to develop essential skills in strategic thinking and presentation.

Schulich School of Business Fall 2023 case competition teams. Left photo, from left to right: Ian Chang, Disha Mittal and Abilash Sathyakumar. Right photo, top row: Siddharth Dave, Jack Goodwin and Omer Rahim; middle row: Kian Rastegar and Sophia Katzell; bottom row: Sophie MacLellan, Joanne Estephan, Joe Fayt and Mikayla Wronko.

Team Schulich clinched the $10,000 top prize at Duke University’s 2023 Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. Ian Chang (JD/MBA ’24), Disha Mittal (JD/MBA ’24) and Abilash Sathyakumar (JD/MBA ’25) competed against 60 teams from over seven countries, including finalists from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Judget Business School at the University of Cambridge. Their winning proposal offered a practical business model addressing the electrification challenges in Nigeria’s rural areas. The team’s achievement, with support from alumna Neda Riazi (BBA ’14), reflects Schulich’s commitment to developing solutions with positive social and environmental impact.

The DeGroote Innovative Solutions Competition (DISC), which took place virtually earlier this month, saw two new Schulich case teams secure second and third place. Students Mikayla Wronko, Sophie MacLellan, Sophia Katzell, Joanne Estephan, Jack Goodwin, Omer Rahim, Kian Rastegar and Siddharth Dave tackled two real-life business cases sponsored by industry leaders. The competition tested their ability to quickly devise business strategies, with one week of preparation for the first case and a three-hour timeframe for the second. The DISC teams received guidance from alumni coaches Michael Chan (MBA ’19), Santoshi Tadanki (MMAI ’23), Kristen Ferkranus (MBA ’20), Adam Wexler (MBA ’11) and Ollie Adegbulu (MF ’23).

All student teams were coached by Professor Joe Fayt, who teaches several marketing courses at Schulich and is responsible for training the graduate-level case teams. Fayt brings over a decade of experience to the Case Competition Program and has earned over 60 international competition victories through his coaching of Schulich teams.

“Congratulations to the Schulich teams on their top-tier placements at recent national and international case competitions,” said Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick. “Kudos as well to the case competition coaches, alumni advisors and supporting faculty who did an outstanding job preparing our students to compete at the very highest levels.”

York U in the news: homelessness, OpenAI and more

British Columbia’s proposed bill on ‘alternative shelter’ risks doing serious harm to unhoused people
An op-ed co-written by York University Professor Estair Van Wagner was published in the Conversation Nov. 21.

When you combine regulation and growth, governance missteps happen: Expert on OpenAI saga
York University Professor Richard Leblanc was interviewed on BNN Bloomberg Nov. 23.

Yet another tranche of propaganda from the oil industry: McElroy
An letter to the editor by York University Professor Emeritus Tom McElroy was published in the Hill Times Nov. 20.

Ontario announces it is boosting the electricity grid with hydrogen
York University was mentioned on Nov. 23.

Canada needs strong regime for end-of-life battery management
York University was mentioned in the Energy Mix Nov. 23.

New Laurentian president could be named very soon
York University was mentioned on Nov. 22.

Laurentian among several Ontario universities to get new spots to train nurse practitioners
York University was mentioned in the Sudbury Star Nov. 21.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.

Student documentary explores climate migration, urban development crises

Dhaka, Bangladesh skyline

Members of the York University community are invited to attend a documentary screening of Climate Migration and the Urban Environment: Dhaka’s Story of Development and Disaster on Friday, Nov. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. in 140 Health, Nursing and Environmental Studies Building on York’s Keele Campus.

Mara Mahmud
Mara Mahmud

To culminate the research for her master of environmental studies in York’s Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change, York student Mara Mahmud along with photographer and videographer Emily Bruno embarked on 30 days of fieldwork in Dhaka, Bangladesh. There, they filmed and conducted interviews with academics and development practitioners focused on answering the following research question: what does Bangladesh have to teach about modelling effective adaptation strategies to respond to the climate-induced migration and rapid urban development in the Global South?

The resulting investigative documentary explores the relationship between climate change and migration within urban development and planning practices in Bangladesh, a country experiencing severe consequences of anthropogenic climate change (climate change caused by human activity). The film tells stories about the complex field of resistance and resilience in Dhaka, and Bangladesh more generally, in response to the climate crisis.

Through the examination of ongoing efforts to resolve the urban development crises in Dhaka, the film identifies innovative approaches to the environmental challenges brought on by the effects of climate change. Though this film uses Dhaka as a case study, opportunity exists for application in countries that will be facing similar crises in the near future.

Join the community for an evening filled with curiosity, knowledge sharing and an inquiry into the capacity of human resilience in the wake of climatic disaster.

For more information and to register for the film screening, visit the Eventbrite page.

York U in the news: literary prizes, generative artificial intelligence and more

Why student experiments with generative AI matter for our collective learning
An op-ed co-written by York University Professor Hadi Hemmati was published in the Conversation Nov. 21.

Kai Thomas, Christina Sharpe among Writers’ Trust literary prize winners
York University Professor Christina Sharpe was mentioned on Nov. 21.

Kai Thomas on the ‘surreality’ of winning the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for debut novel
York University Professor Christina Sharpe was mentioned on Nov. 21.

Are freeloading premiers undermining Canada’s climate strategy?
An op-ed by York University Professor Mark Winfield was published in the Conversation Nov. 19.

What is it like to be a crab?
A story by York University Professor Kristin Andrews was published in Aeon Nov. 20.

Housing, transit among key issues as Scarborough Southwest byelection heads down to the wire
York University Professor Emeritus Robert MacDermid was quoted in the Toronto Star Nov. 22.

Your ultimate guide to law schools in Toronto
York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School was mentioned in Canadian Lawyer Nov. 21.

CAC advocates for the coffee industry at annual conference
York University researcher Calvin Lakhan was mentioned in Foodservice and Hospitality Nov. 21.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.