TechTalk Blog
Science World Comes to Vancouver Island

Ask and you shall receive. No phrase is truer for the Victoria Children's Museum. After an opportunity to bring exhibits from Vancouver's TELUS World of Science over to the Capitol Region arose last year, the organization spent months searching for a suitable venue, and in the 11th hour, found a perfect fit.

This March, Science World British Columbia will come to downtown Victoria, thanks to the generous provision of space by the Parkside Victoria Resort and Spa for 'Explore Galore,' a temporary attraction incorporating TELUS World of Science exhibits that will run until the end of August 2010.

"Explore Galore is a wonderful way to bring Science World to another part of B.C.," says Bryan Tisdall, president and CEO, Science World British Columbia. "We have a mandate to bring the excitement of science to all corners of our province, and thanks to the support of Parkside Resort and the vision and energy of Victoria Children's Museum board and volunteers, we are able to offer engaging, interactive learning opportunities to children, schools and families on Vancouver Island."

Opening for Spring Break, Explore Galore will offer programming for school groups and the public. "This is exactly the calibre of programming that families can expect from a permanent children's museum in Victoria," says Marilyn Harris, president, Victoria Children's Museum.  

For Explore Galore, the Parkside Victoria Resort and Spa has offered the Victoria Children's Museum the use of more than 3,500 square feet of ground floor space along with access to some of the building's amenities, including their 30-seat home theatre for films and science-based videos. "We are so grateful for the generosity of Parkside Victoria Resort and Spa in providing an ideal space for this exciting attraction," says Harris. "This couldn't have happened without their support." 

The Victoria Children's Museum is proud to continue to present quality programming for children while operating as a museum-without-walls. Discussions are underway with the Township of Esquimalt to identify a permanent location following Explore Galore and the departure of the Science World exhibits. 

LifeSciences BC is pleased to welcome Minister Kevin Falcon

LifeSciences BC is pleased to welcome the Honorable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Health Services for the Province of British Columbia, to share Government’s perspective, vision and plan for the future of healthcare in the Province, and the role the local life sciences industry plays in that vision.

Present and foreseeable healthcare challenges call for a concerted, comprehensive and multifaceted solution drawing from our combined strengths in research, commercialization and care. Minister Falcon will discuss the critical role that industry, academia and public service providers will together undertake to ensure BC’s position as a national leader and international model for excellence in the delivery of innovative, equitable and sustainable healthcare.

We will also be joined by representatives of both BCIT’s Product and Process Applied Research Team and the BC Preclinical Research Consortium to introduce their respective organizations and capabilities to the local life science community. Both organizations serve as outstanding examples of uniquely capable, valuable and local resources for the design, engineering and testing of new technologies to improve the standard of healthcare, in BC and abroad.

Date:
Friday, February 5, 2010
Time: 7:30am – 10:00am
Location: Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver

Registration:

LifeSciences BC Members – $25
Non-members – $50

Click here to register

EDS Advanced Solutions Named One of Victoria's Top Technology Companies

EDS Advanced Solutions Inc (EAS), a subsidiary of EDS Canada Corp., a member of HP Enterprise Services, today announced it has been selected as one of the region’s top tech companies by the Victoria Advanced Technology Council.

“There are nearly 900 technology companies in Victoria, we are very pleased to make the list of the Top 25,” said James Hamilton, president and CEO of EDS Advanced Solutions. We are thankful for the recognition. VIATeC does a great job in bringing people and technology together; it’s a healthy and strong industry on the island. We’re pleased to contribute in that way.”

The VIATeC survey hosted by KPMG, revealed exceptional growth and increased stability for Victoria’s thriving technology sector.  Companies are ranked by revenue and location of their headquarters among other things. VIATeC promotes that revenue growth is a solid indicator of the success of the local tech industry.  The VIATeC 25 total revenue numbers have increased by 99% since 2004.

Happy Holidays from UVic's Technology Parks

On behalf of Dale Gann, Nikki de Goey, Glynn Jones, Av Hundle, Bonny Brewer, Greg Sikora, Uwe Bartley, Darwin Fritz and Barry McLean we wish you and yours a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!  We would like to extend a sincere thank you to our friends, companies, services providers, colleagues and partners for making VITP & MTC the "hub" for technology on Vancouver Island.  We look forward to working with you all in 2010!

New Tool for SME's to Navigate Government Funding Sources – GFUNDS ONLINE

We are now three clicks away from funding sources.   GFunds Online is an SME community toolkit that allows you to quickly and simply navigate all 530 Federal and Provincial technology funding support programs, and connect with other SME’s Support Service Providers, and Program Funding Providers. 

Government of Canada Invests in Canadian Universities to Attract and Retain Top Researchers

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) today announced $59 million in support for 262 projects in 40 Canadian research institutions, allowing talented researchers to conduct cutting-edge research in world-class facilities. This investment, made under the CFI's Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF), will benefit the work of 351 of the country's brightest minds.

 ---------------------------- LOF investment at a glance: ---------------------------- ---------------------------- - Total: $59.39 million - Institutions: 40 - Municipalities: 32 - Projects: 262 - Researchers supported: 351 ---------------------------- 

"Our government supports science and technology to create jobs, improve the quality of life of Canadians and strengthen the economy," said Minister of State Goodyear. "This investment will help develop, attract and retain the world's best researchers at universities and other institutions in Canada."

Speaking in Kingston, Minister of State Goodyear highlighted the government's support for a project at Queen's University that will research the potential impact of potassium in helping to regulate heart rates in people with certain types of heart conditions.

"Access to modern, cutting-edge equipment and facilities is imperative to research in the 21st century," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CFI. "For more than a decade, the CFI has provided thousands of world-class researchers with the tools they need to do their work. Without the right infrastructure, they quite simply wouldn't be in Canada."

These investments support cutting-edge research infrastructure that helps stimulate various sectors of the economy associated with such capital projects. It is estimated that every dollar invested directly in research yields more than $7 in economic benefits, including jobs.

The LOF is designed to support Canada's quickly evolving research environment by giving Canadian universities the flexibility they need to attract and retain the world's finest researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers.

The CFI's Board of Directors approved a total investment of $59,394,902 following a rigorous merit-review process. This amount included $45,688,386 awarded under the LOF, and another $13,706,516 awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund, a complementary program designed to contribute to the incremental operating and maintenance costs of infrastructure projects funded by the CFI.

These investments provide researchers in Canada with the tools necessary to carry out a spectrum of innovative research, such as:

– Improving the testing environment for subjects of autism spectrum disorder research and their families. Dalhousie University, Halifax

– Employing ancient lake data to study key environmental issues, including climate change, water quality and contaminant transport. Queen's University, Kingston

– Enhancing the quality of life and health of Canadians through new consumer self-care food products and improved diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

– Investigating the potential for alternative energy sources by developing new methods to safely store hydrogen for use in "green" fuels. University of Alberta, Edmonton

– Using cutting-edge imaging technologies to provide new insights into how the brain develops and changes in response to new experiences or pathology, such as stroke or diabetes. University of Victoria, Victoria

For a complete list of the funded projects, visit www.innovation.ca.

For Canadian research success stories, visit the CFI's online magazine, www.innovationcanada.ca.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed almost $5.2 billion in support of more than 6,300 projects at 130 research institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

The CFI was recently named one of Canada's 50 Best Smalll and Medium Employers, 2009. 

Times Colonist Reports: "Data start flowing from deep ocean"

Written by: Judith Lavoie

With the flick of a switch yesterday, the international spotlight focused on the mysterious world of the deep ocean off the coast of B.C.

After a decade of planning, research and input from scientists of all disciplines, led by the University of Victoria, NEPTUNE Canada, the world's first cabled ocean observatory taking in an entire region, came on line.

Over the next 25 years, NEPTUNE — which stands for North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Experiments — will deliver real-time scientific data to students and scientists all over the world.

"We are truly at the start of a new era — an era of wiring the ocean," said director Chris Barnes.

The data, available free, will help develop public policy on climate change, earthquakes and tsunamis, management of fish stocks and resource development, he said. "This will transform ocean science. The socio-economic benefits are profound."

Scientists traded superlatives as they anticipated the "fire hose" of information from NEPTUNE.

"There's nothing else like it anywhere else," said Jozee Sarrazin of the French Research Institute for the Study of the Sea, who will study the effect of catastrophic disturbances such as underwater landslides on undersea fauna.

Already, the instruments have detected tsunami waves from the Samoan earthquake in September, said Richard Thomson of the Institute of Ocean Sciences.

"It will help us understand and provide warning of tsunamis in western Canada and, for that, I think we should be eternally grateful," he said.

NEPTUNE will provide information about one of the most active underwater earthquake areas in the world, but for now, will not help predict when earthquakes will strike, said Garry Rogers of the Geological Survey of Canada.

"The real answer is we don't know what we are going to find. We are moving to a new environment, and when we do that, we are bound to discover new things," he said.

The backbone of the ocean observatory is an 800-kilometre loop of powered fibre-optic cable installed on the seabed off the west coast of Vancouver Island, connecting to a shore station at Port Alberni.

Information is fed back, at the rate of 10 gigabytes a second, to NEPTUNE headquarters at UVic.

Data is gathered by 60 instruments with 280 sensors, placed at depths ranging from 17 metres to 2.7 kilometres. More instruments will be added each year, including some at volcanic Endeavour Ridge.

NEPTUNE, funded by the federal and provincial governments, cost $100 million to build. The federal Canada Foundation for Innovation has committed $24 million over the next two years to operating costs.

Iain Black, provincial Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, officially turned on the stream of data, but the University of Victoria audience, plus an online audience from around the world, did not get to see what was happening under the ocean at that second as organizers were worried about last-minute glitches.

Grade 6 students in the audience from Central middle school represent the generation that will benefit most from scientific knowledge, Black said.

"I think it is cool," said 10-year-old Scarlet Redpath, a Central student.

"It will be even more interesting when we are older and can understand it more. We are going to start learning about different extreme things like earthquakes and tsunamis."

Former federal cabinet minister David Anderson, who helped shepherd the project through its early days, said the $100-million cost is a bargain compared to the billions of dollars in damage a tsunami could do in B.C.

"Seventy per cent of the earth's surface is water and we know virtually nothing about it. This is a whole new chapter in ocean exploration and it is coming at a particularly critical time because of the impact of the oceans on climate change," he said.

For more information, go to www.neptunecanada.ca

jlavoie@tc.canwest.com

Victoria solar company and First Nations community awarded for BC's largest solar instalment

Sum-SHA-Thut, an installation by Canadian solar energy company Home Energy Solutions, has been named ‘Solar Project of the Year’ at the 2009 Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) conference. The winning project, built for Vancouver Island's T'Sou-ke Nation, is BC’s largest solar power instalment to date and the recipient of several previous awards.

“The success of this project and the leadership demonstrated by the T’Sou-ke Nation and Chief Gordon Planes show great promise for solar electric generation in Canada,” says Dave Egles, founder and president of Home Energy Solutions. Since the July 2009 installation of Sum-SHA-Thut (the Sencoten term for ‘sunshine’), energy consumption has dropped 30 percent, making T’Sou-ke Nation the most solar-intensive nation per capita on the planet.

“The T’Sou-ke Solar Community project is a great example of how BC is a leader in the alternative energy sector, and how solar can play a significant role in our future energy supply,” said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom. “Communities throughout the Province will benefit from a clean, renewable and climate-friendly source of energy. As the world embraces innovative and sustainable energy solutions, BC is at the forefront with its environmental and economic leadership.”

The timing of the CanSIA award and conference is highly significant for the Canadian solar industry, falling in the midst of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and just two months after Ontario introduced its micro feed-in-tariff program for renewable energy technologies. “This award could not come at a better time,” says Egles. “It shows that people are starting to recognize solar electricity as a real solution for climate change – internationally and at a local level.”

 

About Home Energy Solutions:

Victoria, BC- and Barrie, Ontario-based Home Energy Solutions is Canada’s premier provider of renewable solar energy systems. Founder and President David Egles is one of Canada’s leading solar experts, with over 20 years experience at the helm of several prominent solar companies. Egles is also past president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association. For more information, visit www.solarforhomes.ca.

 

Karimah Es Sabar to Transition from LifeSciences British Columbia to the Centre for Drug Research and Development

LifeSciences BC today announced that their President, Karimah Es Sabar will be leaving the organization in April of next year to pursue a new opportunity with the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) in Vancouver.

“My tenure at LifeSciences BC has been one of the most personally and professionally rewarding of my career,” said Es Sabar. “It has offered me the opportunity to work with truly some of the brightest and most passionate people – people who have supported and inspired me,” she remarked. “The time has come however for me to work on building BC’s life sciences sector from a new vantage point.”

Es Sabar was appointed President of LifeSciences BC in April of 2005, and since that time, has led the organization to new levels of success in supporting and representing the life sciences community of British Columbia through leadership, facilitation of investment and partnering, advocacy, and promotion of our world-class science and industry. Under her leadership, she ensured that the entire life sciences community and all life sciences sectors, from biopharmaceuticals and medical devices, to bioproducts and bioenergy, forest, agricultural and marine biotech, became integrated into the organization in order to ensure that no life sciences sector is working in isolation – that all sectors were able to come together in a comprehensive, complementary and coordinated fashion.

Dr. Simon Pimstone, Chair of LifeSciences BC commented, “Although we will greatly miss having Karimah’s vision and wisdom driving  LSBC, she will still continue to be an active contributor to the organization and to our life sciences community. On behalf of the Board, I thank Karimah for so ably leading LSBC for the past five years, and we wish her the utmost success in her new role.”

From January 1st, until her departure, Es Sabar will take on joint responsibilities with both LifeSciences BC and CDRD.  LSBC has initiated a search for a new President.

College Breaks Ground for $28M Centre of Excellence

Construction is set to begin on Okanagan College’s new $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation following the official groundbreaking by provincial, federal and college representatives. The project will create up to 179 direct jobs.

“The investment in Okanagan College will provide a significant economic stimulus to our community and will create jobs in this region,” said Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla. “Our government is investing in innovation to create jobs, to help our economy recover quickly and to improve the quality of life for Canadians.  Young people and older citizens in increased numbers will benefit from the ongoing excellence of Okanagan College.”

            “This new centre for green technology at Okanagan College will stimulate Penticton’s economy and increase our community’s vitality as more youth can affordably stay here to get a world class, state of the art education,” said Bill Barisoff, MLA for Penticton. “The skills being learned here will translate into real career opportunities that capitalize on the new green economy.

The Centre of Excellence is being built to meet the Living Building Challenge, a set of building standards that exceeds LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum. The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas; site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. The facility should achieve a net-zero energy consumption by incorporating building elements that are a first in Canada and North America and is already being recognized for its world-class design. It is expected that building costs associated with meeting this very high standard will be similar to conventional construction.

            “Okanagan College has been contributing to the social and economic vitality of our communities for over 40 years,” said John Slater, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “This centre takes the college boldly into the twenty-first century and ensures it will continue to be a positive force in our region for many decades to come.”

Once complete, the 7,000 square metre centre will offer innovative programming in geo-thermal, onsite alternative energy sources, metering and monitoring of green buildings, building envelope construction, life cycle site management, refrigeration mechanics, applied conservation technician, H-VAC and power lineman.

“This is an exciting project that will enable Okanagan College instructors and students to become leaders in the development of sustainable building practices,” said Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. “This investment with our federal and college partners will ensure that B.C. students continue to be well prepared to take advantage of future opportunities.”

 

The facility will provide space for start-up companies to explore and develop new ideas and the centre will host research and development activities in partnership with industry and not-for-profit organizations. Students will benefit by being involved in the research of cutting-edge technology, while curriculum will be designed to meet ever-changing needs

“This Centre of Excellence will be a beacon for sustainability, not just in terms of its actual construction, but also in terms of the programming and approaches it represents,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton.  “It is already attracting national and international attention. What’s most important is that it will provide access to unique programs and educational opportunities for residents of the South Okanagan and the entire province.”

This is one of 40 projects at post-secondary institutions across the province funded through a joint federal-provincial investment of $497 million. The total investment in these projects is $519 million including contributions from institutions.

This project is also part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure program supported by the Province that will create up to 88,000 jobs and help build vital public infrastructure in every region of B.C.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan sets out to stimulate the Canadian economy over the next two years and to improve our long-term competitiveness through $12 billion in new infrastructure investment, which includes the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program.