Premier Christy Clark today announced a $4.5-million joint federal-provincial investment that will accelerate innovation in timber engineering and development of wood products at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).
Premier Clark made the announcement during the Natural Resource Forum in Prince George on behalf of the Province of B.C. and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
Of the $4.5-million investment:
- $1.88 million from the Government of Canada.
- $2.62 million from the Government of British Columbia.
The City of Prince George is providing land for the facility in downtown Prince George, adjacent to the Wood Innovation and Design Centre.
The Wood Innovation Research Lab will be used by students in the master of engineering in integrated wood design program and the B.C. leadership chair in tall wood and hybrid structures engineering.
The one-storey, 900 square-metre (9,680 square-foot) building will create a state-of-the-art wood-engineering research facility. The new building will expand possibilities for collaboration with external researchers and industry by providing unique capabilities for testing and researching wood structures. It will include a wood conditioning and processing room, office and seminar/classroom space, and a research lab that can also be used for teaching.
Construction will meet requirements under the Wood First Act, and will incorporate a high-performance building envelope that strives for Passive House certification. Structures built to this certification may cut their heating energy consumption by up to 90%, and overall energy consumption between 60% and 70%.
The new lab will provide additional dedicated research and classroom space for UNBC, which currently occupies the first three floors of the adjacent Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) that opened in October 2014. WIDC was created as a gathering place for researchers, academics, design professionals and others interested in generating ideas for innovative uses of wood. In addition to UNBC, WIDC also houses the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations.
Funding for the new lab will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.
The Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment is a prime example of that vision in action.
The B.C. government is making record investments in modern, safe infrastructure projects throughout the province, and in doing so, these construction projects are creating high-paying, family-supporting jobs. These investments are possible because of the fiscal plan of the B.C. government.
Nearly one million job openings are expected in British Columbia over the next decade, and eight out of 10 of these openings will require post-secondary education. In-demand occupations requiring post-secondary education or training range from professional to management to trades.
UNBC has campuses in Prince George, Quesnel, Terrace and Fort St John. Approximately 4,000 students (2,500 FTEs) enrol in programs annually. In 2015, and again in 2016, UNBC was ranked first in the Primarily Undergraduate category in Maclean's magazine’s annual ranking of Canadian universities.
Construction is slated to get under way in early 2017, generating 15 direct and 11 indirect jobs, with substantial completion expected by spring 2018.
The Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development –
“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up companies into global successes. This investment in the University of Northern British Columbia will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”
Premier Christy Clark –
“New and updated buildings such as the wood research lab at UNBC, will soon be seen throughout British Columbia, because they’re long-lasting, more energy efficient, and are tangible examples of the world-leading innovation taking place here in Prince George.”
Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie –
“The Wood Innovation Research Lab at UNBC will build on B.C.’s reputation as a provincial leader in wood engineering in Canada. This state-of-the-art facility will expand opportunities for students to make a tangible, long-term difference in the application of wood in design and construction in B.C., as well as throughout Canada and the world.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and MLA for Prince George-Valemount –
“Up to one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next 10 years, many in the North. Investing in educational facilities in our region is a critical component of our strategy to train the talent needed right here in northern B.C. The new UNBC Wood Innovation Research Lab will build on the expertise that we have and enhance our global reputation as a leader in innovative wood construction, wood products and design.”
Daniel Weeks, president, University of Northern British Columbia –
“In the two years since the Wood Innovation Design Centre opened in Prince George, UNBC has developed an innovative master of engineering in integrated wood design that incorporates structural and sustainable design, wood science and wood processing. This new building is a welcome investment in the future of Northern B.C. Its amenities will enable UNBC students and researchers to test theories and develop new, marketable products that contribute to B.C.’s reputation as a leader in wood construction.”
Lyn Hall, mayor, City of Prince George –
“The City of Prince George is providing the land for this new lab because we believe so strongly in the partnership that the city has with UNBC. Attracting more students downtown is critical to our revitalization efforts and enhancing Prince George’s capacity for forest product innovation is perfectly aligned with our economic development strategy. Thank you to the governments of Canada and British Columbia for joining with us to realize this great opportunity for Prince George.”
Chelsea Olson, one of the first cohort of MEng students in 2016 –
“The new Wood Innovation Research Laboratory will provide future students with opportunities to conduct innovative research and testing in a state-of-the-art facility. This new building will strengthen the master of engineering in integrated wood design program by providing even more hands-on learning space for the development of creative and sustainable engineering solutions.”
- Canada’s Innovation Agenda is designed to ensure the country is globally competitive in promoting research, translating ideas into new products and services, accelerating business growth and propelling entrepreneurs from the start-up phase to international success.
- The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery, and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.
- The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada’s climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.
Canada’s Innovation Agenda: www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/home
Innovation Agenda backgrounder: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1084739
Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund: www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/051.nsf/eng/home
Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund backgrounder: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1105379
B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/training-education/b-c-s-skills-for-jobs-blueprint.aspx
Follow Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development on social media:
Follow BC Jobs Plan: