The British Columbia government has committed nearly $1.3 billion for research and innovation in B.C. over the last 10 years through various ministries, programs and investments.
The Government of British Columbia supports the development of innovation through its Crown agency, the BC Innovation Council (BCIC).
The B.C. tech and innovation sector remains a top economic driver, with more than 10,200 companies employing over 106,000 people who are earning weekly average salaries roughly 85% 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 B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.
- The B.C. government created the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in 2001 to build provincial capacity for health research.
- Since then, the Province has provided the foundation with approximately $450 million.
- To date, the foundation has granted more than 1,200 Research Trainee awards worth more than $45 million, helping to develop, attract and retain B.C.’s best and brightest health researchers and support the advancement of world-class health research in B.C.
- The B.C government has provided Genome British Columbia with $241.53 million since it was established in 2000. 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 agrifood.
- Established in 1998, the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) is the province’s primary capital investment in support of research infrastructure in B.C.
- BCKDF 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.
- Since its inception, more than 1,200 projects have received BCKDF capital funding awards for a total provincial investment of over $660 million in research and innovation in B.C.
- BCKDF capital investments have generated almost $1.2 billion in additional research funding from other sources.
- In February 2018, Alan Winter was appointed B.C.’s first innovation commissioner to give B.C. innovation a voice in Ottawa and abroad.
- The commissioner is an ambassador for B.C.’s innovation and tech sector who will strengthen national and cross-border relationships, and ensure that B.C. maximizes federal funding to benefit B.C. innovators and employers.
- The innovation commissioner is a component of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the B.C. Green Party caucus to help B.C.'s tech sector access the capital, as well as the national and international connections it needs to succeed.
- Recognizing its potential for success, the B.C. government adopted the concept as part of its efforts to establish B.C. as a preferred location for new and emerging technologies.
- The innovation commissioner will help leverage federal funding programs in support of B.C.’s tech and innovation sector and will take an active role in B.C.’s partnership with Washington state to further develop the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.
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 that address a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry, which will commercialize a proposed innovation within three years.
- To date, BCIC Ignite has awarded $2.5 million to 11 research projects since launching in 2016.
Innovation programs in agriculture
- The B.C. government helps B.C. farmers and agri-businesses transform innovative ideas into new and sustainable solutions through programs and funding that support the research, piloting, development, commercialization and adoption of new products, practices, processes and technology.
- These programs provide support and guidance to entrepreneurs in the agriculture, agrifood and food processing sectors, from startups to established and growing businesses, to access the expertise, capital and other funding that can help them advance their ideas into reality.
- Examples of research, pilot and pre-commercial demonstration projects include the use of drones in orchards and ranches, the implementation of wireless technology to monitor crop growth and pathogens, the development of new food safety technology in processing plants, and the creation of new food products and the testing of new crops in B.C.
- The B.C. government’s commitment to supporting innovation in agriculture will continue under a new partnership with the federal government in 2018: the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) between 2018 and 2023.
- B.C. innovation will continue to be supported under CAP through the priority area of science, research, and innovation – helping industry adopt practices and technologies to improve competitiveness, resiliency and productivity through research and innovation.
BC Innovation Council: http://bcic.ca
BC Knowledge Development Fund: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/technology-innovation/bckdf
Innovation Commissioner: https://news.gov.bc.ca/16319
Media RelationsMinistry of Jobs, Trade and Technology