Feds give B.C. university research projects $33m boost

Three B.C. universities will receive $33 million in research money from Ottawa for projects ranging from stem cell research to an underwater monitoring project that ...

Three B.C. universities will receive $33 million in research money from Ottawa for projects ranging from stem cell research to an underwater monitoring project that uses the Internet and submarine cables and sensors study the ocean.

The University of British Columbia will receive $22.7 million for nine projects, Simon Fraser University will receive $8.7 million for two projects, one of which will involve working with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the University of Victoria will receive $1.6 million for an underwater monitoring project using the NEPTUNE Canada Cabled Observatory.

The money is part of $215 million in the Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for cutting-edge research infrastructure for research projects across Canada.

“These research projects are forceful drivers of growth in their respective communities,” said CFI CEO Gilles Patry. “The beneficiaries of these awards are our research leaders and visionaries. They have an exciting opportunity to create real impact.”

The biggest recipient of funding at SFU is a $7.7 million grant for the Prometheus Project, a multidisciplinary materials science project that has already created 13 spin-off companies and 67 patent applications. BCIT is included in this project.

Some of the projects include developing materials – including new organic polymers, nanoparticles and quantum dots – for making low-cost, high efficiency solar photovoltaic cells and miniaturized biosensors for the early detection of disease.

“This project will allow B.C.’s four most research intensive institutes to collaborate on fundamental materials research projects with a wide range of potential commercial applications,” said Neil Branda, the Prometheus project lead.

“By engaging with a large community of industry, government and NGO partners, we will move this research out of the lab and into society to solve current and future challenges in important areas such as energy, health and communications.”

A full list of the projects receiving funding are on the CFI website.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv

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