he BC Innovation Council has announced the winners of its fourth BCIC Ignite Awards, which awarded $990,000 to four BC research projects that aim to solve industry problems in the natural resources and applied sciences sectors.
In total, BCIC has awarded $3.5 million in Ignite funding since the program launched in 2016. 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 an industry problem — with the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia — and brought to life by a group of academic and industry members.
“Each year, BCIC Ignite enables research teams to do remarkable work honing their innovations with industry partners and taking their solutions to market. Each of these projects has the potential to make a real difference for the people of BC,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
With BCIC funding, a total of $3 million is being contributed to the four projects as a result of the BCIC Ignite funding model. BCIC Ignite requires applicants to leverage award funds at a ratio of two matching dollars to every BCIC Ignite dollar. Over $11 million, including leveraged funds, has been contributed to BCIC Ignite projects to date.
“The BCIC Ignite Program helps turn cutting-edge research into ground-breaking, innovative technology that will significantly benefit British Columbia,” said Shirley Vickers, president and CEO of the BC Innovation Council. “Year after year, we see meaningful collaborations between industry and academia that are fuelling economic growth and improving the lives of people across the province.”
The four research projects, by industry, include:
- Clean technology: Manoj Singh, CEO of Acuva Technologies, and Dr. Fariborz Taghipour of UBC were awarded $300,000 to develop a cost-efficient and maintenance-free ultraviolet water purification device that’s capable of off-the-grid operation, that can benefit small, rural and marginalized communities.
- Biotechnology: Darrel Fry, CEO of Advanced BioCarbon 3D, and Jason Taylor of Selkirk College were awarded $300,000 to develop a new type of 3D-printing filament from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fiber derived from lignin, which are the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood.
- Optical imaging: Dr. Manish Kulkarni, CEO of Seymour Vision, and Dr. Marinko Sarunic of SFU were awarded $300,000 to develop a high resolution retinal-imaging scanner capable of cellular level imaging that will one day revolutionize eye care, helping ophthalmologists diagnose eye diseases before vision loss occurs.
- Agriculture: Dr. Rob Stephenson, CTO of Muddy River Technologies, and Kelly Sveinson of Langara College were awarded $90,000 to develop an inexpensive solution that removes phosphorus and nitrogen from animal manures using a magnesium electrocoagulation process, to help combat the issue of soil degradation and water contamination from nutrient overload.