Wanted: Innovative IDeAs for making Ontario more accessible

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario university students are being challenged to put their creative minds to work to develop solutions that will make the world more accessible for people with disabilities, including new IDeAs for devices, software, architectural design, awareness campaigns, or policies.

The Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition is being organized by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), in partnership with the Government of Ontario. The province-wide initiative is being overseen by the IDeA Working Group, comprised of representatives from engineering and design Faculties at several Ontario universities.

"Ontario universities are strongly committed to the important goal of leading the country towards greater accessibility," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and the President of the University of Guelph. "Tapping into the innovative capabilities of our students is an excellent way to build awareness and to advance ideas that lead to a more accessible world."

Students will vie for $3,000 in prizes with entries that must address barriers to accessibility in five categories: attitudinal, physical/structural, information and communications, technological, and systemic.

Student contestants can find rules and registration information at http://cou.on.ca/idea.
The deadline for contest submissions is March 31, 2012.

"Initiatives like the IDeA competition are one of many examples of how universities encourage students to apply their knowledge to the real world, and we look forward to the exciting ideas brought forward during this competition," says Bonnie Patterson, COU President and CEO.

Submissions will first be evaluated by the entrant's home institution, and then successful candidates will move on to a second round of judging conducted by a panel of experts in the five categories. Evaluations will be based on innovation, cost-effectiveness, and practicality. Judges will also place a premium on entries whose format itself demonstrates consideration to accessibility issues.

The winner will be announced at an event at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference in May 2012.

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SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Jennifer Grass
Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs
416-979-2165 x261
416-707-6787
jgrass@cou.on.ca


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