Students from British Columbia and around the world can now study for careers in the life sciences, such as genetics, health care, conservation and ecology, in the renovated and expanded Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Laboratories at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
The $91.4-million project increases capacity and provides life-sciences students with opportunities to learn in well-equipped and spacious teaching laboratories, modern classrooms and study areas with greater possibilities for collaboration and hands-on learning.
“This building supports the next generations of researchers finding ways to combat disease, protect agriculture and create innovative medicines,” said Melanie Mark, B.C.’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We expect thousands of careers in science and technology in the next decade, and this state-of-the-art building will empower students to get the hands-on experience they need to thrive and build the best B.C.”
The multi-year life-sciences facilities overhaul at UBC’s Vancouver campus was made possible by joint federal-provincial funding through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The project received $32.5 million from the Government of Canada, $11.8 million from the Government of British Columbia and $47.1 million from UBC.
The official opening of the new facility was celebrated with Joyce Murray, federal Minister of Digital Government; Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, on behalf of Mark; David Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey; Santa J. Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor; and university students, faculty and staff.
“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,” said Navdeep Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and startup companies into global successes.”
The project demolished, renovated and expanded decades-old teaching spaces in the Biological Sciences Centre, north wings and Wesbrook and D.H. Copp buildings at UBC. It consolidates all undergraduate life and biological sciences on campus into one space, including botany, zoology, microbiology and immunology, physiological sciences, biochemistry and molecular biology, with physical space for faculty and over 2,600 students in UBC’s life-sciences programs.
“When students learn in modern, cutting-edge laboratories, they get to explore practical problems in a supportive environment that prepares them for the job market,” said Ralston. “The new Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Laboratories will help students lead in exciting fields of discovery and succeed in our growing life-sciences sector.”
Investments through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund are being used to modernize facilities at Canadian universities and colleges, as well as improve the energy efficiency of these facilities and reduce their impact on the environment.
The project renovated 5,490 square metres, renewed 5,348 square metres and added 9,069 square metres. It also improved the environmental performance of the facility to be consistent with CleanBC and is targeting LEED Gold standard certification.
CleanBC is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and supports a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s targets.
This new facility supports programs that can contribute to a cleaner B.C. For example, students can go on to work in the biotechnology sector, developing bacteria that consume toxic chemicals and reduce pollution, or research environmental degradation.
Joyce Murray, federal Minister of Digital Government –
“The Government of Canada’s investment in The University of British Columbia is creating the right conditions for innovation and long-term growth, which will keep the Canadian economy globally competitive. It’s not only about creating jobs today; we are helping prepare young Canadians for the well-paying middle-class jobs of tomorrow.”
David Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey –
“UBC is an integral part of a vibrant Vancouver community and a global leader in teaching, learning and research. The new Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Laboratories allow it to continue to provide world-class education to its students and to develop tomorrow’s scientific leaders who will make life better for future generations of people in British Columbia and beyond.”
Santa J. Ono, president and vice-chancellor, UBC –
“This unique partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of B.C. and the University of British Columbia will further enable UBC to attract leading life-sciences researchers and ensure our students are inspired to innovate and discover in exceptional learning facilities.”
Canada’s innovation agenda: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/home
Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/051.nsf/eng/home
CleanBC strategy: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/
University of British Columbia: https://www.ubc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.