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Innovate BC awards nearly $1M to accelerate commercialization of innovative research projects

Posted on October 11, 2018

VANCOUVER, October 12, 2018 – Innovate BC, a Crown agency that connects local innovators with government funding, resources, and support, has awarded $944,600 through its Ignite program to spark the commercialization of technologies that will solve industry problems in the natural resources and applied sciences.

Four BC research projects in diverse fields such as clean technology, forestry, and agriculture will split the funding. To date, Innovate BC has awarded $4.3 million in Ignite funding since the program launched in 2016.

The successful projects were selected based on their promising commercial and technical viability as well as their ability to be market ready within three years. To be considered, projects must also address an industry problem with the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia and be realized by a group of academic and industry members.

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

  • Clean Technology/Materials Science: Dr. Stephen Holdcroft, SFU, is working with SFU Chemistry spin-off venture Ionomr Innovations to develop the most durable and versatile anion exchange membrane ever synthesized. Their novel and revolutionary membrane will benefit British Columbia by unlocking cost and performance barriers for many industrial cleantech solutions in energy and wastewater treatment. Awarded: $300,000
  • Transportation/Mechanical Engineering: Dr. Majid Bahrami, SFU, is working with Delta-Q Technologies and Terella Energy Systems to optimize the next-generation of cooling solutions for high-capacity battery chargers in electric vehicles. The use of sophisticated, graphite sheets will be the key innovation used to enhance thermal performance and decrease electromagnetic interference, making notable contributions to the advanced materials manufacturing and electric vehicle industries both in BC and abroad. Awarded: $300,000
  • Agriculture/Biotechnology: Dr. Juli Carillo, UBC, and Dr. Zamir Punja, SFU, are working with Terramera, a Vancouver-based plant intelligence company, to make a safer generation of plant-based pesticides derived from Neem and Karanja oils. Their breakthrough technology, known as the Molecular Delivery System (MDS), significantly amplifies their effectiveness, which will enable these environmentally friendly pesticides to outperform their synthetic chemical counterparts, creating a significant environmental impact in BC. Awarded: $241,500
  • Forestry/Biocomposites: Dr. Jack Saddler, UBC, is working with Performance Biofilaments to incorporate nanocellulose products derived from wood pulp into high-tech, lightweight, composite thermoplastics for the automotive manufacturing and sporting goods markets. The pursuit of these non-traditional applications of wood cellulose will establish new markets and push the development of exceptional, new nanocellulose materials at commercially viable prices, while reducing the amount of plastics used around the world. Awarded: $103,100

“Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Ignite Awards. The hard work and innovation that goes into these projects has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of the people,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “The Ignite awards are crucial because they foster research and collaboration that help advance the natural resource and applied sciences sectors in B.C., which help to grow our strong provincial economy.”

A total of $3 million is being contributed to the four projects as a result of Innovate BC’s Ignite cost-shared funding model. Innovate BC Ignite requires applicants to leverage award funds at a ratio of two matching dollars to every Innovate BC Ignite dollar. More than $14 million, including leveraged funds, has been contributed to Ignite projects to date.

The Innovate BC Ignite Program has supported the hiring, training, and retention of more than 65 highly qualified personnel in the first two years of the program. Furthermore, several projects have reported that receiving the award has elevated the credibility of their research and helped attract additional investment.

“Ignite best exemplifies how Innovate BC supports local innovation, fosters collaboration, and funds market-driven research that can have a global impact,” says Shirley Vickers, Innovate BC President & CEO. “These projects have the potential to create jobs, transform industries, and push the boundaries of industrial innovation.”

The Ignite Program 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.

Several Ignite research projects will be featured at the #BCTECH Summit, which takes place March 11-13 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

For more information about the program and winners, visit the Ignite program page.

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