Graduate students at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) are getting support to pursue advanced degrees in fields like science and engineering, thanks to a new graduate student scholarship fund.
The $735,000 scholarship fund will encourage research, innovation and growth in northern British Columbia. It is part of a $12-million investment announced last month by Premier John Horgan. The merit-based fund will support 800 awards of $15,000 over the next three years, for students pursuing research-focused graduate degree programs.
There will be an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, as well as other disciplines. Professional programs, such as UNBC’s master of business administration, will also be eligible.
Student groups and other post-secondary sector partners have long advocated for a graduate scholarship program, as British Columbia lagged behind other provinces with a comparable graduate scholarship program.
There are about 16,000 domestic students enrolled in graduate degree programs at 10 public post-secondary institutions throughout the province. UNBC, which will administer the $735,000 fund, has 500 students in graduate degree programs.
The fund is part of a larger plan to increase support for the technology sector. B.C. is also investing in 2,900 new tech spaces and Women in Technology scholarships, with 10 annual $10,000 scholarships awarded, including at least one award to an Indigenous woman.
Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training –
“The B.C. graduate scholarship fund really expands opportunities for prospective grad students in the North. With the recent opening of UNBC’s Wood Innovation Research Laboratory, it’s coming at the perfect time. Graduate researchers are developing valuable innovations, such as high-tech wood composites, so we can build with sustainable materials. We want this amazing talent pool to feel well-supported.”
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology –
“We are focused on increasing skilled workers across the province, and these scholarships are one way we are working to ensure we develop in-demand skills in northern B.C. These scholarships will allow students to take part in the thriving tech and innovation sector in their community, by working for companies in the North that need skilled people to grow and compete with larger cities.”
Daniel Weeks, president and vice-chancellor, University of Northern British Columbia –
“We’re looking forward to attracting more graduate-level students to northern B.C. UNBC is a strong research-intensive presence in the province. Our grad students are researching a broad range of important topics including air quality, making advancements in food waste management, and studying how we can better clarify First Nations territory claims. This fund will be a fantastic incentive for students to view the north as a place of opportunity without limits.”
Abdul Momen, president, Northern British Columbia Graduate Students’ Society –
“One of the great things about UNBC is how small and tight-knit the campus is. A scholarship fund like this can go a long way in breaking down financial barriers for the prospective students looking to join our community.”