Examples of B.C.'s Research and Innovation Investments
British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund
The British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund is the B.C. government’s major research infrastructure funding program. The fund provides up to 40 per cent toward the cost of a research project and is typically matched with federal funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The program ensures that research projects with the capacity for long-term economic and social benefits to the province receive the funds they need.
Past recipients of the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund include NEPTUNE Canada, the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre and the Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Centre. Since 2001, the government of B.C. has invested over $415 million in research infrastructure through the fund.
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research is the provincial support agency for health research in British Columbia. Created by the Province in 2001, the foundation works to build B.C.’s health research capacity by helping universities, health authorities and research organizations attract and train highly qualified health researchers. The foundation builds an environment in B.C. that supports research and focuses on building collaborations and partnerships between jurisdictions and across academic, health and government organizations.
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research awards funding to health researchers and health research trainees, as well as to research institutions, research units and research networks, and it also seeks out partners for joint funding opportunities. Since 2001, government has committed $275 million to the foundation, including $15 million in March 2010.
Genome BC is one of six Genome Canada centres. It invests in and manages large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects focused on strategic areas such as health, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, the environment and ethics. Some of Genome BC’s partners include Genome Canada, the government of B.C., Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Genome BC collaborates with government, post-secondary institutions and industry to support the role of genomics in B.C.’s successful life sciences cluster.
Since its establishment in 2000, Genome BC has received $152.5 million from the Province of B.C. This funding helps Genome BC invest in projects that advance research and technology in many areas, including cancer identification and treatment, organ transplants, forest management, bioenergy, fisheries management, agriculture crop quality and biodegradation of mining explosives.
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is a collaborative research organization created by the Province in January 2008. The institute brings together the private sector, government and B.C.’s four research-intensive institutions (the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Northern British Columbia) to develop climate change solutions and lead B.C. into a low-carbon economy. The institute’s main functions are to understand the magnitude and patterns of climate change; evaluate its physical, economic and social implications; assess options and develop solutions; and communicate the issues to government, industry and the public.
The Province invested $94.5 million in an endowment for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. Hosted by the University of Victoria, the institute translates the knowledge and expertise of top climate researchers into action for government, industry and the public, ensuring B.C. remains a leader in climate action research and policy.
Leading Edge Endowment Fund
The Leading Edge Endowment Fund was launched by the Province in 2002. The fund promotes social and economic development in B.C. by establishing permanent research chairs at public post-secondary institutions across the province. The 20 leadership research chairs focus on health, social, environmental, economic development and technological research. The nine regional innovation chairs create opportunities in communities through colleges, universities and institutes.
The Leading Edge Endowment Fund attracts researchers to B.C., promotes economic growth and strengthens B.C.’s position in the research community. The Province has provided over $56 million to the fund.
Natural Resources and Applied Sciences Endowment
The Natural Resources and Applied Sciences Endowment was established by the Province to build research and development, advanced training, technology transfer and commercialization capacity in B.C. Through the endowment, the Province makes targeted investments in projects with potential for social, environmental and economic benefit to B.C., typically in natural resources, the applied sciences and engineering.
The endowment’s research team program provides funding to teams of two or more permanent faculty in eligible post-secondary institutions. The private-sector collaborative program provides funding to permanent faculty working on projects with private-sector collaborations. The two programs focus on innovative solutions to problems while anticipating possibilities for leverage from national and international funding sources. The Natural Resources and Applied Science Endowment is a $50-million fund administered by the B.C. Innovation Council.
World Centre for Digital Media Education
In 2006, the Province announced the creation of the World Centre for Digital Media Education and Canada’s first graduate program in digital media. The centre serves as both a physical and virtual network of resources, programs, facilities and initiatives to fuel the innovation, development and commercialization of digital media products in B.C. and Canada. The graduate program leads to a world-class, professional master’s degree in digital media, which is being delivered at the Great Northern Way Campus. The 20-month professional graduate degree is jointly awarded by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Students obtain practical team-based experience through industry-relevant curriculum and projects. Students also complete an internship to help prepare them for careers in the growing digital media industry.
With $40.5 million from the Province, the centre supports economic diversification by capitalizing on the province's position as Canada’s largest digital media cluster.
Brain Research Centre
The Brain Research Centre is an independent research facility, operated by Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine. This unique partnership consolidates neuroscience resources, with clinical and basic scientists collaborating to explore features of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The focus is on translating advances in knowledge about the brain into new treatments.
Since 2001, the Province has contributed almost $39 million towards the Brain Research Centre’s work in areas like multiple sclerosis, mental health and addictions, stroke, neurotrauma, vision and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This includes contributions from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.
Terry Fox Foundation
The Terry Fox Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization that raises money for cancer research. To date, the foundation has raised more than $400 million worldwide.
In October 2007, the Province announced $30 million for the Terry Fox Foundation to help create a Terry Fox Research Institute that will have locations across Canada, with headquarters in Vancouver. The Terry Fox Research Institute will be a national organization for cancer research, with a special focus on research that can be translated quickly into treatments and solutions for cancer patients. It will bring scientists and practising clinicians together to advance cancer research and treatment in an integrated way. The Terry Fox Foundation is investing $50 million over five years; the Province’s funding supports the institute’s Vancouver headquarters and research staff.
BC Bioenergy Network
The BC Bioenergy Network is an industry-led association with a mandate to maximize the value of B.C.’s biomass resources, develop mission-driven bioenergy research projects, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance B.C.’s bioenergy sector and lever funding to support bioenergy technology. With its large forested area, B.C. is positioned to be a leader in wood-to-energy bioenergy and other bioenergy technologies.
The Province’s $25-million contribution to establish the network is advancing B.C. research in solid wood residues, pulp and paper residues, harvesting and pelletizing, agriculture residues, municipal wastewater, landfill waste and solid waste, and community heating electricity greenhouse systems.
Centre for Drug Research and Development
The Centre for Drug Research and Development promotes collaborations between researchers, post-secondary institutions and industry to help researchers commercialize their discoveries. Research is focused on projects in cancer, cardiopulmonary health, genetics, infection and immunity, inflammatory disease, metabolism, musculoskeletal problems, neurosciences and aging. The centre is known for its commitment to commercializing medical products, research and development, training highly qualified personnel and attracting top investments to B.C.’s life sciences sector.
By working with a network of universities, government agencies, health care organizations and the drug development industry, the Centre for Drug Research and Development encourages innovation and development. A $25-million grant from the provincial government, announced in April 2007, and an $8-million award from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund are helping the centre close the gap between primary research and new medicines.
Li Ka Shing Foundation
The Li Ka Shing Foundation supports charitable projects in community development, culture, education and health care through grants, sponsorship and funding commitments. Based in Hong Kong, the foundation supports projects around the world, including in B.C. In 2008, the Province invested $15 million in the Li Ka Shing Foundation for cancer research and care.
Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation
The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation provides grants to scientists conducting research in preventing or halting Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The foundation also helps universities and hospitals attract researchers specializing in dementia. About 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer’s or a related disease, and it is estimated that the disease costs Canada over $5 billion per year. There are no approved treatments that stop the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The Province’s grant of $15 million to the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation helps it further its goal of supporting directed research aimed at advancing understanding of Alzheimer’s and eventually eliminating the disease.
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research is a private, non-profit organization that brings together top researchers from around the world to collaborate on innovative projects. It creates unique communities of expertise that attract leading researchers to Canada. Its aim is to advance Canada’s research community while solving problems to benefit society.
Since 2002, the provincial government has provided $12.1 million to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to support its projects, help it raise funds from other stakeholders and attract top researchers to B.C. As more researchers come to the province, overall research capacity is strengthened, helping B.C. to stay at the edge of the knowledge economy.
Geoscience BC is an industry-led applied geosciences organization. It identifies and funds applied geosciences projects, working in partnership with industry, post-secondary institutions, government, First Nations and communities. Through the delivery of new data, technology and ideas, Geoscience BC increases knowledge and promotes investment in mineral, oil and gas exploration in B.C.
In 2008, the Province invested $11.7 million into Geoscience BC for oil and gas exploration and to further develop geoscience data to support mineral exploration in B.C.
Science World is a non-profit science education centre with a mission to engage and inspire science and technology leadership throughout B.C. Known for its innovative, hands-on and creative exhibits and community outreach programs, Science World reaches more than 800,000 people in B.C. each year, including over 180,000 children. Its facility was originally built for Expo 86 and has become a prominent part of Vancouver’s landscape.
The Province provided Science World with $10.5 million for essential building upgrades and a new 7,803 square-metre-outdoor science park. The park will educate visitors about science and sustainability, including clean energy, earth science and water stewardship.
Centre for Hip Health and Mobility
The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility was created in 2006 by the University of British Columbia to advance research in bone and joint health, particularly of the hip. The centre’s research focuses on hip fracture prevention, early detection of hip osteoarthritis, surgical solutions and translation of knowledge into programs, practices and policies.
The Province provided the centre with $10 million to finish building its facility and to support its hip and musculoskeletal health research. This grant complements almost $7.5 million in awards to the centre from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.