VANCOUVER – Yesterday at an awards ceremony in Vancouver, Innovate BC awarded $2,325,000 to eight B.C. research and development projects that are creating game-changing innovations that are improving lives for British Columbians. Specifically, this year’s funding, through Innovate BC’s Ignite program, is accelerating the commercialization of biotech, cleantech, mining, agriculture, and forestry projects.
“Innovation in is at the core of our StrongerBC Economic Plan as we explore new ways to tackle the challenges of today and plan for the future,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The commercialization of these projects through Innovate BC’s Ignite program will create jobs and lead to new investment opportunities for British Columbian companies. I want to congratulate today’s winners and look forward to seeing their initiatives help make B.C. a more sustainable province.”
The successful projects noted below were selected based on their promising commercial and technical viability as well as their ability to be market ready within three years. To be considered, projects must also address an industry problem with the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia and be realized by a group of academic and industry members.
- Cleantech/ICT/Wireless/Solar: Daanaa Resolution Inc. and Dr. Shahriar Mirabbasi of the University of British Columbia are collaborating on a project to advance Daanaa’s chip-based wireless power transfer technology in solar panels. These panels will have increased output power, data monitoring, and decreased cost and complexity. Awarded: $300,000
- Fuel/Transportation/Cleantech: Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation (HTEC) is working with Dr. Gordon McTaggart-Cowan of Simon Fraser University to support hydrogen in becoming a core element of the transportation industry. This project will increase the storage pressure of hydrogen and provide cost savings to further solidify hydrogen as the fuel of the future. Awarded: $300,000
- Mining/Civil Engineering/Construction: Minpraxis Solutions Ltd. and Dr. Bern Klein of the University of British Columbia are developing a rock compression tester that can drastically improve the quality and quantity of rock strength data that are generated for mine design, advanced exploration, production planning, and operational control. Awarded: $300,000
- Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals/Medical Products: Nanovation Therapeutics and Dr. Eric Jan of the University of British Columbia are working on a project to further RNA vaccines. This project is enabling development of novel intellectual property related to mRNA stability and production with the goal of bridging the gap between drug and delivery system. Awarded: $300,000
- Agriculture/Soil Conservation: Terramera Inc. and Dr. Sean Smukler of the University of British Columbia are developing new approaches to measuring soil carbon across agricultural landscapes. Awarded: $300,000
- Mining/Natural Resources/Road Design: Softree Technical Systems Inc. and Dr. Yves Lucet from the University of British Columbia Okanagan are working on a project to advance Softree’s vertical alignment optimization technology. The software will optimize initial construction costs and lifetime vehicle operating costs, as well as enable more efficient use of materials and construction efforts. Awarded: $225,000
- Forestry/Drone Technology: Flash Forest Inc. and Dr. John Innes of the University of British Columbia are improving reforestation. This project will advance the systems and methods for pod propagation, composition, and methodology for germination amongst pod types, optimum flight path, remote plant seedling detection, and health monitoring using machine learning and artificial intelligence. Awarded: $300,000
- Cleantech/Aquaculture/Advanced Materials: Browns Bay Packing Company Ltd. and Dr. Hossein Kazemian of the University of Northern British Columbia are formulating a renewable and fully biodegradable hybrid packaging solution. This project is one of the most promising candidates for an alternative material to replace traditional plastics. Awarded: $300,000
“It’s so thrilling to see these incredible innovations in natural resources and applied sciences being developed right here in British Columbia,” says Raghwa Gopal, President + CEO of Innovate BC. “In the past 8 years Innovate BC has invested over $10M in market driven research that is creating jobs, transforming industries, and pushing the boundaries of innovation.”
Each year Innovate BC’s Ignite program selects research projects in the natural resources and applied sciences, awarding up to $300,000 per project. To date it has funded 41 projects for a total value of $10.7M.
The Ignite Program is funded by the Natural Resources and Applied Sciences (NRAS) Endowment Fund, which was established by the Province of British Columbia to enhance the quality of life for British Columbians by building strong environments in research and development, advanced training, technology transfer, and commercialization.
Innovate BC helps foster innovation in B.C. so that British Columbians in all regions of the province can benefit from a thriving, sustainable, and inclusive innovation economy. A Crown Agency of British Columbia, Innovate BC funds and delivers programs that support the growth of the B.C. economy by helping companies start and scale, train talent that meets labour market needs, and encourage technology development, commercialization, and adoption.