BC Innovation Council awards $735,000 to fund market-driven research

by Keith Powell
A wastewater treatment plant.

Four research projects were awarded funding through the BCIC Ignite Awards, including a breakthrough process to change the way wastewater is treated. — Photo courtesy Opus Int.

VANCOUVER, Oct. 11, 2017 /CNW/ - The BC Innovation Council, a Crown agency of the Province focused on strengthening the B.C. economy through market driven innovation and technology, is excited to announce the winners of its third BCIC Ignite Awards. A total of $735,000 was awarded to four B.C. projects for industry-driven academic research in the natural resources and applied sciences. This brings the total amount of awarded BCIC Ignite funding to $2.5 million since the program launched in 2016.

The four projects met award criteria and demonstrate the ability to succeed in diverse fields including environmental monitoring, forestry, waste management, and life sciences. Award criteria is based on commercial and technical viability as well as the ability to be market ready within three years. Research projects must address a significant industry-driven problem and be realized by a group of academic and industry members.

The four awarded research projects, with their academic and industry members, are:

Environmental Monitoring: Dr. Greg Quant, VP BC/Yukon Region, Hemerra Envirochem, working with Dr. Caren Helbing, UVIC plans to enable more informed decision-making about the ecological health and diversity of our environment with environmental DNA testing.

Structural Engineering: Matheo Duerfeld, CEO, BC Passive House, working with Dr. Thomas Tannert, UNBC aims to change how commercial wooden buildings are built with wood-based prefabricated timber panels.

Wastewater Treatment: Dr. Al Gibb, VP of Wastewater Treatment, Opus International, working with Dr. Victor Lo, UBC expects to change the way waste organic slurries are treated and handled with a breakthrough process that has a shorter reaction time and higher throughput than existing technology.

Life Sciences: Tamer Mohamed, CEO, Aspect Biosystems, working with Dr. Stephanie Willerth, UVIC. Together is developing functional 3D bioprinted human nerve tissues that can recreate the pathology of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injury.

"BCIC Ignite brings researchers together with industry to help grow our innovation economy and create jobs for British Columbians," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs Trade and Technology, who attended the Ignite event. "Congratulations to all four award winners. Your collaboration will help propel B.C. innovation in the areas of environmental protection, advanced commercial construction, wastewater treatment and neurodegenerative disorders."

As a result of the unique BCIC Ignite model, $3 million in total is being contributed to the four projects to commercialize transformative research. BCIC Ignite requires applicants to leverage award funds at a ratio of two matching dollars to every BCIC Ignite dollar. More than $8.6 million, including leveraged funds, has been contributed to BCIC Ignite projects to date.

The BCIC Ignite Program has helped create several success stories since 2016. Most notably, former Ignite Award winners Jetti Resources recently secured $24 million in Series A funding.

"There is a significant level of research, collaboration, and ingenuity happening across our province. BCIC Ignite is able to take all of these moving parts and focus them on creating innovative solutions for real, market driven challenges" said Carl Anderson, President and CEO, BC Innovation Council. "BCIC Ignite is continually driving BC based companies to use BC research to change the world through innovation".

Samantha Legge, President of Canada Wide Media, emceed the award event and Nick Rockel, Editor-In-Chief of BCBusiness, moderated a panel with the award recipients. The VIP event was held at The Vancouver Club.

BCIC Ignite is funded by the Natural Resources and Applied Sciences (NRAS) Endowment Fund, which was established by the Province of British Columbia to enhance the quality of life for British Columbians by building strong environments in research and development, advanced training, technology transfer, and commercialization.

For more information about the program and winners, visit bcic.ca/ignite

About the BC Innovation Council 

The BC Innovation Council, a Crown Agency of the Province of BC, accelerates the growth and success of BC companies by providing resources and market opportunities for applied innovations that solve challenges and drive competitiveness in BC industries. BCIC is fostering the growth of companies that generate revenue, produce high-paying skilled jobs and drive economic development in BC. Website: www.bcic.ca

SOURCE: BC Innovation Council

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