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

VANCOUVER, Oct. 12, 2018 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --

Funding will drive industrial innovation and tackle market-driven challenges across BC

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, the leader in
        Technology for Clean Food, to make a safer generation of
        plant-based pesticides derived from Neem and Karanja oils.
        Their breakthrough technology, known as Actigateâ?¢
        Targeted Performance technology, 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.

About Innovate BC (www.innovatebc.ca)

Innovate BC is a one stop service centre to connect innovators -- large and small -- with BC government funding, tools, resources and support. Every day, staff at Innovate BC come to work to serve and celebrate innovation in British Columbia, helping our industries grow, while ensuring the benefits of our thriving technology sector are felt by people in all regions of our province. Innovate BC is a Crown Agency of the Province of B.C.

SOURCE BC Innovation Council

View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2018/12/c8544.html

SOURCE: BC Innovation Council

Jamil A. Karim, Marketing & Communications Manager, Innovate BC,
jkarim@innovatebc.ca, 604 602 5248

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