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UBC plays key role in BC tech economy

Published on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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UBC’s key role in tech innovation, advanced research and educating highly qualified personnel will be showcased at the BCTECH Summit in Vancouver, Jan. 18-19.

“The BCTECH Summit allows UBC to further develop and support new and existing partnerships with industry and government,” said Helen Burt, associate vice-president, research and international at UBC. “It also provides us with the opportunity to highlight the many ways our research, spin-off companies, students and alumni continue to play an integral role in developing BC’s tech sector.”

The BCTECH Summit at the Vancouver Convention Centre is a two-day event that aims to showcase B.C.’s technology industry, build cross-sector opportunities for businesses and explore the latest ideas to drive a competitive advantage for B.C.

UBC researchers in the fields of robotics, health care and a range of digital technologies will showcase their work at Research Row, while incubator, technology transfer and industry partnership offices will be on hand at the trade show.

Over the past decade, 61 UBC spin-off ventures have raised more than $540 million and employ more than 400 people, thanks to the support of groups like the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO) and entrepreneurship@ubc (e@UBC).

NZ Technologies Inc., an e@UBC venture, is one technology company that will be featured at the summit’s technology showcase. The company pioneered an innovative medical technology that allows medical practitioners and surgeons to touchlessly interact with radiology images in the operating room using hand gestures and a virtual menu projected over the surface of the surgery bed. Their award-winning product, TIPSOTM, eases the surgeon’s fatigue, saves surgery time, reduces infection risk and improves surgeon’s cognitive focus. They will have the opportunity to pitch directly to venture capitalists at the summit.

“The entrepreneurship@UBC program provided me with invaluable guidance and advice in taking NZTech to the next stage,” said Nima Ziraknejad, President and CEO, NZ Technologies, Inc. “In the process, I’m sure they saved me from making many painful and costly mistakes.”

Tasktop, a company that was launched with the help of UBC’s UILO, is a software lifecycle integration company that will also be showcased at the summit. Their CEO, Mik Kersten, is a former UBC science student, and their Chief Scientist, Gail Murphy, is associate dean in the Faculty of Science.
 More than a million users and a third of Fortune 100 companies use Tasktop’s integration technology to improve business productivity.

“UBC’s UILO was instrumental in launching Tasktop and contributed to the companies’ success,” said Kersten. “Tasktop continues to gain a great advantage from UBC’s talented Computer Science graduates, and the Vancouver-based development team has been instrumental in driving the record breaking growth we experienced in 2015.”

UBC experts are also participating in a number of breakout sessions about the tech industry at the summit, including Rickey Yada, Dean of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, who will share his insights about agriculture today and new technologies; Dr. Rob Fraser, COO, PMI, Associate Director of Life Sciences Institute and Dr. Steven Jones, Department of Medical Genetics, who will speak to the future of health care; and Dennis Silva, director of the joint procurement operation team at UBC, who will discuss how the procurement process is transforming and the role technology is playing in this.

For interviews with Helen Burt, Nima Ziraknejad or Mik Kersten, please contact Po On Yeungpo-on.yeung@ubc.caor 604.725.9738.

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