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Collaboration Café

Explore our Collaboration Café

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine Collaboration Café presents an innovative platform aimed at fostering enduring connections among academics, not-for-profit entities, and for-profit organizations. These connections are envisioned to facilitate the advancement of research, the co-creation of real-world impact, and the establishment of professional development opportunities for students. 

Several significant barriers have historically impeded the initiation of lasting and impactful connections, including limited access to networks of individuals with complementary knowledge, differences in stakeholder goals and priorities, communication barriers arising from diverse cultural norms and styles, misaligned expectations, and a lack of mutual trust. 

The Collaboration Café draws upon successful best practices to mitigate these barriers. Its primary objectives include: 

  • Establishing a venue for life sciences professionals from the University of Toronto (U of T) partner hospitals and external organizations to connect on shared research interests, challenges, or projects. 

  • Cultivating new interdisciplinary connections through conversations that have the potential to evolve into future research collaborations. 

  • Offering opportunities to apply for seed funding to support the development of new collaborations. 

Why Participate?

Expand your networks and relationships.
Indentify potential collaborators.
Access the latest research in your field.
Identify and solve real-world challenges.
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How it Works

Step 1: Collecting Questions from Participants 

Organizers select a central theme for discussion (e.g., AI in Healthcare). Researchers, clinicians, and industry representatives are invited to submit their interests in the form of questions or discussion topics, along with relevant background information and the type of participants with whom they seek to connect. Questions must be submitted to organizers at least one week in advance of the Collaboration Café. 

Step 2: Setting Table Themes 

Participants register with their questions or discussion topics. Organizers curate these submissions around common themes (e.g., shared challenges, needs, and potential collaborators), forming discussion tables comprising 5-7 individuals with similar interests. 

Step 3: Collaboration Café Preparation 

One week before the scheduled event, organizers share the selected table topics and schedule with participants. 

Step 4: The Meeting Day 

Tables are set up for each identified topic, accommodating 5-7 participants each. Following a brief introduction, discussions commence, with participants self-selecting into tables based on their interests. Each discussion lasts approximately 45 minutes and is facilitated to identify synergies and alignments between individual interests. At the conclusion of discussions, participants are asked to submit a collaboration expression of interest within one week, forming the basis for seed funding applications. Attendance at the Collaboration Café is a prerequisite for funding eligibility. 

Step 5: Follow-Up 

Industry-Academic Collaborations: Expressions of interest from these discussions initiate follow-up conversations between participants, supported by appropriate confidentiality measures. If a collaboration plan is established, a Temerty Medicine based lead principal investigator (PI) can apply for a Pre-Partnership Grant of up to $10,000 to facilitate the partnership's launch.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can pose discussion topics and questions? 

Discussion topics and questions are welcome from U of T affiliated faculty, companies and other organizations. 

What kinds of discussion topics and questions can be proposed? 

There are no restrictions on the scope of questions or topics. Whether broad or narrow, all topics are considered. Organizers use these topics to create discussion groups with individuals sharing similar interests and complementary skills. 

How many discussions can I participate in? 

Collaboration Cafés typically feature two 45-minute discussion sessions, each with 2-4 discussion tables. Participants are free to move between discussions to find the most suitable topic and group. 

Will other organizations take part in the discussion groups? 

Yes, representatives from various organizations and research institutions will participate in each discussion. These sessions are designed to foster networking and identify potential collaboration opportunities in a non-competitive environment. 

What happens if I want to explore collaboration opportunities? 

If discussions lead to a desire for collaboration, organizers will assist in facilitating next steps, including follow-up meetings and confidentiality agreements. 

Are there any specific topics or industries the Collaboration Café focuses on?

The Café welcomes discussions on a wide range of topics and industries within the realm of healthcare and life sciences. However, the theme for each session may vary, so watch for announcements regarding upcoming themes. 

Is there a cost to participate in the Collaboration Café? 

Participation in the Café is typically free of charge for attendees. Registration only requires you to submit a topic you would like to discuss.  

Who can I contact for more information or to express interest in collaboration? 

For further inquiries or to express interest in collaboration opportunities, please contact Jarrod Ladouceur, Industrial Partnerships Officer, Temerty Faculty of Medicine. 

Stay Connected

For the latest updates and announcements, follow us on social media and subscribe to our Research FUNDamentals newsletter. We look forward to welcoming you to the Collaboration Café!