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Programs | Explore | Sandboxes

Sandboxes are collaborative collision spaces bringing together multidisciplinary teams to develop ideas and innovative solutions

Male student talking to other students in classroom setting

Dalhousie currently offers five sandboxes across campus, hosted by various faculties:

ShiftKey Labs, hosted by the Faculty of Computer Science: Our goal is to have students, alumni, and community members from all disciplines come together to solve challenges that are being faced across all sectors using technology entrepreneurship & innovation.

IDEA Sandbox, hosted by the Faculty of Engineering: IDEA is a multidisciplinary initiative that integrates NSCAD Design with the Faculty of Engineering and the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University. IDEA is built around project based learning and provides workshops, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities for students to explore engineering, design, making, and manufacturing. IDEA helps everyone develop a personal toolbox of skills to support any career path. Dal Innovates provides further programming and supports to grow projects into viable businesses.

Cultiv8, hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture: Cultiv8, Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Sandbox, provides students with opportunities, skills, and experiences to have impact in their future of work. Through programming, internships and mentorship, Cultiv8 builds student capabilities around the competencies of innovation: communication, collaboration, creativity and problem-solving.

Surge, hosted by the Faculty of Science: SURGE trains STEM students in processes and competencies of design thinking and innovation in order to devise creative, science and technology-based solutions to urgent problems in the world today.

Pulse, hosted by the Faculties of Medicine, Health & Dentistry: Pulse, funded by the Ministry of Labour and Advanced Education, aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in health, technology, and the life sciences. This is accomplished by providing resources, programming, events, and seminars to students, staff, and faculty. 

Sandbox Discover Program

In addition to a variety of workshops, events, activities and programs, the Sandbox Discover Program is an ideation and innovation program for post-secondary students in any degree program.

Discover is a guided approach to innovation at the earliest stages through the Sandbox Discover program. The skills and insights gained through the program are transferrable across disciplines and will allow you to bring an innovation mindset to everything from academic group projects, current and future workplaces or potential startups. Structured as a series of six extra-curricular workshops, we will focus on understanding why you need to fall in love with the problem, not the solution; to un-derstand people before pitching an idea; to build confi dence in your creativity, and what it means to be innovative with different people. The program will wrap up with a fi nal design challenge that will allow you to bring all the pieces together.

World’s Challenge Challenge

Participating in the Sandbox Discover program is also a great way to prepare for the World’s Challenge Challenge. This international competition asks student teams to propose ideas that could have a positive impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems.

A local Dalhousie competition – to determine what team of students will represent our university at the international fi nals in June – starts in early December. The Sandbox Discover program can provide you with the opportunity to deeply understand problems and the people they impact. Our program is also a great place to meet other students and build a WCC team. We’ll provide additional coaching to WCC teams who emerge from our program and want some feedback on their application to the competition.

Dalhousie is a participant in The Nova Scotia Sandbox Project, a joint project hosted by Nova Scotia universities and community colleges which focuses on providing support for post-secondary students to develop enthusiasm for and pathways to innovation.