The B.C. government has committed a total of over $2.5 billion for research and innovation in B.C. since 2001, through various ministries, programs and investments.
As part of the #BCTECH Strategy, the Government of British Columbia supports the development of innovation through its Crown agency, the BC Innovation Council (BCIC).
The B.C. technology sector currently supports more than 100,000 jobs, houses more than 9,900 technology companies and tech sector jobs pay 75% higher than average wages in B.C.
Research and Innovation:
- The B.C. government has made significant investments in research and innovation through the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Genome British Columbia and the BC Knowledge Development Fund.
- In 2001, the B.C. government created the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research to build provincial capacity for health research.
- Since 2001, the Province has provided the foundation with approximately $450 million.
- Government funding to the foundation supported over 1,600 medical trainee positions over the last decade.
- The B.C government has provided Genome British Columbia with $221.5 million since 2001.
- Genome BC is a non-profit research organization that invests in and manages large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects and enabling technologies focused on areas of strategic importance such as human health, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, energy and mining and agri-food.
- Since 2001, the Province has invested $610 million for research infrastructure in the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF), which has generated an additional $1.09 billion in research funding from other sources.
- It provides funding for public post-secondary institutions, research hospitals and affiliated non-profit agencies. The fund supports research and innovation that has the potential to spur technology commercialization, as well as develop talent and create jobs in B.C.
- Over 1,100 projects have received BCKDF funding awards since 2001.
NRAS Endowment Fund and BCIC Ignite:
- The B.C. government established the Natural Resources and Applied Sciences (NRAS) Endowment Fund in 2006 through a $50-million investment to build research and development, advanced training, technology transfer and commercialization capacity in B.C. in engineering, natural resources and the applied sciences.
- Together, BCIC and the independent BCFRST Foundation developed the NRAS Research Team Program to support B.C.’s most accomplished researchers working on projects with the potential for significant social, environmental and economic benefit to the province.
- Between 2009 and 2015, the NRAS Research Team Program awarded $6.9 million to 24 research teams.
- In 2016, the BCIC Ignite competition succeeded the NRAS Research Team Program.
- BCIC Ignite provides funding to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies and innovation in natural resources and applied sciences in British Columbia.
- The program provides awards of up to $300,000 to consortia that are conducting research projects addressing a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry, which will commercialize a proposed innovation within a three-year timeframe.
- To date, BCIC Ignite has awarded over $1.7 million to seven research projects since launching in 2016.
Innovative Clean Energy Fund:
- The Province funds clean energy innovation through the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, which supports government’s energy and environmental priorities.
- Since 2008, the ICE Fund has committed approximately $97 million to support pre-commercial clean energy technology projects, clean energy vehicles, research and development, and various energy efficiency programs.
- The ICE Fund is contributing $20 million to leverage federal, provincial and private sector investments through a partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada to fund clean-energy projects and technologies that will mitigate or avoid provincial greenhouse gas emissions, including prototype deployment, field testing and commercial-scale demonstration projects.
- ICE Fund partnerships have included universities, First Nations, municipalities and many emerging clean tech companies throughout British Columbia. Technology demonstrations have included bioenergy, solar, ocean tidal, geo-exchange, desalination, energy management, smart grid, and waste-to-energy.
- The ICE Fund receives funding through a 0.4% levy on the final sale of specified energy products: natural gas, fuel oil and grid-delivered propane.
Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program:
- The $13.4-million Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program provides funding to support industry-led, late stage research, pilot and pre-commercial demonstration projects that lead to the commercialization and/or adoption of innovative products, processes, practices and technologies in B.C.
- It is funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and delivered by the industry-led, not-for-profit Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia.
- Approximately 170 projects have been funded under this program. Some examples include:
- Developing sustainable products from locally farmed insects.
- Creating a hop pelletizing project that would appeal to the brewing sector.
- Piloting of a therapeutic meal replacement drink mix that improves the quality of life for people with diabetes.
- Testing of a foliar spray to help reduce premature fruit drop and increase blueberry yields.
- Studying drone usage in tree fruit production and ranching.
- Monitoring pathogens in cherry orchards and storage facilities with wireless technology that will help B.C. cherry growers become more competitive for Asian markets.
Innovation Network and Chief Innovation Advisor:
- On Jan. 23, 2017, UBC President, Professor Santa Ono was named the first Chief Advisor to the Innovation Network.
- The role will convene industry, research agencies, businesses, post-secondary institutions and other stakeholders to ensure education and training is aligned with B.C. employers’ needs, as well as identify how research capacity in B.C. can spur innovation that benefits industry and the economy.
- Professor Ono will focus on talent, research and innovation and super-clusters during his first year as Chief Innovation Advisor.
- Professor Ono will work closely with the Premier’s Technology Council, the B.C. Innovation Council, B.C. Tech Association, LifeSciences BC, and with partners across B.C.’s innovation network such as innovation-driven companies across economic sectors, research agencies, industry associations, and post-secondary sector institutions and associations.
BC Innovation Council: http://bcic.ca
BC Knowledge Development Fund: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/technology-innovation/bckdf
Innovative Clean Energy Fund: www.gov.bc.ca/innovativecleanenergyfund
Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/innovation/canada-bc-agri-innovation-program
Innovation Network and Chief Innovation Advisor: https://news.gov.bc.ca/13588
Joanne WhittierMinistry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services