To develop B.C.’s technology and commercialization talent, two groundbreaking scholarships (B.C. Industrial Innovation Scholarship and B.C. MBA Access to Commercialization Scholarship) strengthen the connection between technology development and its successful commercialization, announced Hector MacKay-Dunn, QC, Chair of BC Innovation Council (BCIC).

Science and engineering graduate students awarded B.C. Industrial Innovation Scholarships will work with business graduate students (recipients of B.C. MBA Access to Commercialization Scholarships to be announced in February 2008). Together, they will develop a business plan and present their project to a panel of industry executives and investors.

The scholarships are part of a $2.75 million BCIC funding initiative. As a Crown Agency, BCIC works closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education to develop advanced technology research and commercialization talent in B.C.

"Rewarding creativity and innovation is a high priority for our government," said Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell. "We are extremely proud of this year's awards recipients for thinking outside of the box to make British Columbia a leader in advanced technology."

A valuable partner and contributor to the program is Precarn Incorporated, a not-for-profit company supporting pre-commercial development of technologies. Precarn contributed $250,000 towards scholarships in the area of intelligent systems.

"Collaboration is a cornerstone of Precarn's R&D and commercialization model," said Paul Johnston, President and CEO of Precarn Incorporated. "Our participation in the scholarship program is focused on creating connections between student researchers in intelligent systems and the next generation of Canada's entrepreneurs, MBA students. This will sow the seeds for greater partnership between academia and industry in the future."

As the future of B.C.’s technology industry relies on fostering talent in advanced technology and commercialization, BCIC believes this collaborative model will set the bar for talent development in the province.

“The recipients of these scholarships will add tremendous value to the B.C. economy, armed with new skills and a better understanding of how to build for success,” said Mr. MacKay-Dunn. “We look forward to great research talent and new technologies emerging from this program and its unique model. By supporting young innovators and the growth of B.C.’s technology industry, the Council aims to enhance collaboration and accelerate commercialization.”

Scholarship recipients have been evaluated and recommended by panels consisting of expert members from industry, academia and government. A maximum of $20,000 will be awarded annually to Masters students for up to two years with a maximum of $25,000 awarded annually to PhD students for up to three years.