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Date: April 12, 2005

UVic Innovator Named B.C.'s Academic of the Year

A University of Victoria biologist who formed a team of faculty, staff and students to develop and build customized devices for the disabled has been named Academic of the Year by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C. (CUFA/BC).

Dr. Nigel Livingston is founder and director of the University of Victoria Assistive Technology Team (UVATT), which includes more than 40 faculty, staff and graduate and co-op students from a wide range of disciplines at the university, as well as hundreds of undergraduate students.

Livingston, a plant physiologist, created UVATT in 1999 after seeing first-hand the challenges faced by his daughter and other children with disabilities.

“There’s a huge need in the community for special devices or technology for the disabled, but they’re generally not available because they’re so expensive to develop,” he says. “At UVic we have all this incredible expertise and equipment, so it was just a question of bringing them all together.”

To date, the UVATT team has developed more than 25 new technologies, ranging from tricycles for visually impaired children to complex eye-tracking and brainwave communication systems for people with severe disabilities. UVATT is now so widely known that requests for devices come from across Canada and around the world.

CUFA/BC represents 3,600 faculty members, lecturers, professional librarians and other academic staff at B.C.’s five public universities. Livingston is the third UVic faculty member to win the Academic of the Year award in the last five years.
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Media contacts:
Dr. Nigel Livingston (Biology) at (250) 721-7121 or njl@uvic.ca
Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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