TechTalk Blog
Okanagan Research & Innovation Centre (ORIC) Officially Opens in Kelowna

The official launch of the Okanagan Research & Innovation Centre's new Kelowna-based technology business incubator took place on March 27, with Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, Ron  Cannan, performing the official ribbon cutting ceremony (far left in photo.)  Also on hand and shown with Cannan were Peter Haubrich, President, ORIC; Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd and Gerry Salembier, Assistant Deputy Minister (British Columbia) for Western Economic Diversification. 

The ORIC Innovation Centre in Kelowna opened in November, 2008, a high-technology business incubator aimed primarily at nurturing the development and sustainability of start-up, high growth technology companies.  The Kelowna Centre was opened based on the successes of the incubator at the National Research Centre's Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics – Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (NRC-DRAO) south of Penticton which was founded as a not-for-profit society in August, 2005.  ORIC's mission is to create high-tech jobs and sustainable economic value for the Okanagan Valley and beyond.

The ORIC Kelowna Innovation Centre has 7,500 square feet of space available over two phases for high-tech start-up companies.  This includes office space at affordable rates; meeting rooms; internet access; reception services and access to a wide range of business support services.

For further information please contact Martin Yuill, Director, Kelowna Innovation Centre at martin@oric.ca

Times Colonist Reports: Developing Our Economy

By Carla Wilson

Times Colonist

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

 

 

Fostering the high-tech industry and hanging onto graduating students were some of key economic development themes aired at a Greater Victoria look-ahead summit yesterday.

 

The value of partnerships and collaboration were repeatedly stressed to an audience of about 40, representing the public and private sectors, nine local councils and the Capital Regional District, at an economic summit hosted by the Greater Victoria Development Agency. A followup session is planned shortly to work towards developing a strategy for the future.

 

"We are hearing that expansion of the tech park [Vancouver Island Technology Park] is key," Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said outside the meeting. A $21-million Tech Park expansion and an ocean technology park across the road from the Institute of Ocean Sciences in North Saanich are on the local high-tech sector's wish list.

 

This region needs to agree on three pieces of hoped-for economic development so everyone can speak with one voice, Leonard said. He cited as examples those already developed — the Tech Park, the University of Victoria's engineering school, and the Pacific Sport Institute.

 

"We tend not to know what our highest priority is. We seem to have a multitude, and it confuses federal and provincial governments," he said.

 

"We are in a race in the world for the knowledge economy," said Dale Gann, Technology Park vice-president.

 

What quickly became apparent at the meeting is how the diverse industry sectors are linked and that when one prospers or suffers, others are similarly affected. Representatives jumped at the idea of leveraging one area to help others.

 

Gann asked what was being done to market the region beyond tourism experiences to some of the 3.6 million annual visitors to Greater Victoria.

 

Robert Gialloreto, Tourism Victoria president, replied, "There's lots of opportunity. Honestly, we haven't done that much to go down that road in the last year, but I'd like to." Technology and real estate are among sectors he cited.

 

Educators are already sold on working together. A collaboration agreement is expected to be signed within the next week between North Island College, Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, UVic, Royal Roads and Camosun College, said Allan Cahoon, Royal Roads president.

 

Among all the sectors outlining their economic impact through jobs, revenues spending, and spin-offs, the ocean and marine sector takes top spot, said speakers Paul Servos, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, and Patrick Marshall, CEO of Ocean Industries B.C.

 

"It's the single largest economic driver in the Victoria region," Servos said.

 

In B.C., the ocean and marine sector was worth $11.5 billion in 2005, they said. This covered everything from resource extraction through commercial fishermen, to aquaculture, to manufacturing and ship repair, retail, government offices, the military, and high-tech.

 

Just last month, UVic's Oceans Network Canada announced $5.6 million in federal funding and another $6.5 million from industry partners on the non-profit agency's project for a network of monitoring equipment on the sea floor off Vancouver Island's west coast.

 

Impediments to economic development include the region's high housing costs.

 

This region is "not the best place for call centres" and housing prices may be a factor, said Sasha Angus, GVDA development officer. However, this issue wouldn't affect other sectors.

 

Liz Ashton, Camosun College president, said she would love a local developer to build student housing. "Please, come talk to us."

 

Keeping students who graduate from local educational facilities is a critical issue for industries. Finding enough workers in the future is the real challenge, said Greg Baynton, president of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.

 

Industries and educators want graduating students, their knowledge, and potential to stay in this region. Local econ
omic benefits are vast and include spending by staff and students at local schools, to partnerships with universities and colleges, and start up companies in the private sector, the summit heard.

Times Colonist Reports: Power to Play

Darron Kloster’s column (excerpt)

Times Colonist

Thursday, April 9, 2009

 

 

Here's a chance to see the high-tech community in Victoria get down and really dirty. Alan Bishop, a designer for the hit TV shows Survivor and The Amazing Race, has been recruited to launch a corporate challenge that will see 25 business teams of four staff each run, crawl, slide and jump through mud, water, bush and other natural obstacles around the Vancouver Island Technology Park.

 

The Power to Play event April 18 from noon to 7 p.m. will benefit the Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society, which operates a wilderness outdoor education program for disadvantaged youth. The goal is to raise $25,000. Details are at www.powertoplay.ca

UVic Honours its top researchers for 2009

A mechanical engineer, an English scholar, an expert in European studies, an advocate for Aboriginal child health, and a university-wide team that assists people with special needs are winners of the University of Victoria’s 2009 Craigdarroch Research Awards.

The winners will receive their awards at a celebration tomorrow evening at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Also to be honoured are two UVic graduates who are sharing the UVic Innovation and Development Corporation’s 2009 Entrepreneurship Award.

“Choosing winners for the Craigdarroch awards is always a daunting task for the selection committee,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s vice-president research. “This year the committee exercised its prerogative to award gold medals to two outstanding recipients from very distinct fields, which speaks volumes about the depth and breadth of research talent at our university.”

The winners are:

Dr. Sadik Dost
Craigdarroch Gold Medal for Career Achievement in Research

From watches and cell phones to supercomputers and solar panels, almost all electronic devices rely on the semiconducting properties of single crystal materials. Sadik Dost is an international leader in crystal growth, the processes used to produce these materials.
Media contact: Dr. Sadik Dost (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering) at 250-721-8898 or sdost@me.uvic.ca

Dr. Patrick Grant
Craigdarroch Gold Medal for Career Achievement in Research

Described by colleagues as one of the most productive English scholars in Canada, Patrick Grant has spent his career—including 38 years at UVic—exploring the relationships between literature and religion, including the literature and culture of his native Northern Ireland.
Media contact: Dr. Patrick Grant (retired, Dept. of English) at 250-595-7282 or pjgrant@telus.net
(Grant is not available for interviews on Monday, April 6)

Dr. Amy Verdun
Craigdarroch Silver Medal for Excellence in Research

Political scientist Amy Verdun’s rise through the ranks of the academic profession gives new meaning to the term “meteoric.” Since her arrival at UVic in 1997, she has rapidly become one of the “movers and shakers” in the field of European studies in Canada and internationally.
Media contact: Dr. Amy Verdun (Dept. of Political Science) at 250-853-3527 or averdun@uvic.ca (Verdun is in Europe but available for interviews and is checking her phone and email messages regularly.)
 

Dr. Nigel Livingston and the CanAssist team
Craigdarroch Award for Societal Contribution

CanAssist is a UVic program that harnesses the ingenuity of hundreds of faculty, students, staff and community volunteers to develop customized technology, programs and services for those with special needs. CanAssist is a successful and inspiring example of how universities can engage the community to accomplish benefits for society.
Media contact: Dr. Nigel Livingston (founding director, CanAssist) at 250-721-7121 or njl@uvic.ca

Dr. Jessica Ball
Craigdarroch Award for Research Communication

Whether she’s speaking about Aboriginal fathers, Indigenous children’s literacy and development or intercultural partnerships, Jessica Ball is determined that research is translated into improved social policies, effective community programs and informed individual decision-making. Ball has recently been named 2009 Academic of the Year by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA-BC).
Media contact: Dr. Jessica Ball, (School of Child and Youth Care) at 250-658-3126 (home) or 250-472-4128 or jball@uvic.ca

Anthony Sukow and Andrew Sukow
UVic Innovation and Development Corporation Entrepreneurship Award

The Sukow brothers—both UVic students at the time—founded Advanced E-commerce Research Systems (AERS) in 2004 to provide statistical analysis for the eBay marketplace. AERS now monitors more than 10 million consumer transactions a day and has developed relationships with Fortune 500 companies around the world.
Media contact: Anthony Sukow at 250-483-3270 or 250-858-2377 (cell) or anthony@aers.ca 

Johns Hopkins University Deploys Proteus

GenoLogics announced today the Technical Implementation and Coordination Core (TICC) of the Johns Hopkins NHLBI Proteomics Center has deployed Proteus for its lab and scientific data management system.

The mission of the Johns Hopkins NHLBI Proteomics Center is to apply state-of-the-art methods and develop new approaches to investigate the proteomics of adaptation to ischemia and hypoxia, a biological process of general relevance to heart, lung and blood diseases. The biological research goals of the Center drive the creation of technical innovations to improve methods for tracking dynamic protein or post-translational changes in disease, develop improved instrumentation and methods for taking advantage of novel capabilities and for computational analysis and dynamic modeling of subproteomes.

“Implementing a data management solution is critical to achieving our research goals and technical innovations at the Proteomics Center,” said Dr. Robert Cole, Director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Facility. “We decided to work with GenoLogics to deploy our solution for a number of reasons. The most important of which is their solution’s flexibility to integrate multiple and diverse platforms such as the Thermo LTQ and ABI QSTAR mass spectrometers, 2D DIGE images and Mascot and Scaffold Batch data analysis software. Their ability to add new technologies as the core grows is another reason we are working with GenoLogics.”

Proteus combines the strength of a robust multi-science platform while maintaining its unique application features for proteomics research. It improves lab efficiency by automating data capture from instrument and software integrations and by seamlessly tracking projects, samples and results. Proteus can be easily configured for new technologies and workflows, including user-level configurations without programming skills. For the more sophisticated user, it is easy to integrate with in-house systems with a simple framework to send and receive data.

Proteus operates on a highly configurable and adaptable platform that can support many sciences across multiple facilities. The platform includes features such as automated informatics, which allows customers to pipeline data from different sources and enhance their analysis. And with LabLink, a web-based collaboration tool, Proteus allows clients to easily interact with remote researchers and publish results.

“Proteus is part of our suite of science-purposed informatics products, which provides clients such as Johns Hopkins with a common data management system that can easily support their unique workflows and instrument integrations” says Mike Sanders, Product Manager for Proteus. “We have built Proteus and our other informatics products on a highly flexible platform that allows us to customize the solution for each client, such as providing Johns Hopkins with relevant integrations and our web collaboration interface, LabLink.”

Celebrating Ottawa's millions for IQC

Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology, came to campus yesterday (above) to celebrate the $50 million government contribution to UW's Institute for Quantum Computing that was announced in the federal budget in January. The event was held at IQC's temporary quarters at 475 Wes Graham Way on the north campus.

"The investment," said a news release, "furthers the Government of Canada's long-term commitment to fostering excellence in science and technology through its national S&T Strategy."

It quoted Goodyear: "This strategic investment will help make Canada a global leader in the field of quantum technology and attract some of the best and brightest researchers and students from Canada and around the world. With this investment, the IQC will be better positioned to build on existing successes and contribute to Canada's global advantage by helping to create jobs, improve the quality of life for all Canadians and strengthen the economy for future generations."

More from the federal news release: "The IQC, already a symbol of Canada's achievement in information and communication technology, will now be in a better position to strengthen Canada's reputation as a pioneer in the field of quantum information. The IQC's plans include developing applications and devices for commercialization that will, for example, replace the present generation of computers with devices that may factor large numbers 10,000 times faster than today's computers.

"Through this $50-million investment, the IQC will be able to build, purchase and recruit the resources needed to lead the world towards the next generation of computer technology. As an integrated centre for research, the Institute will support the training of highly qualified personnel and the development of new knowledge. The IQC will foster a multi-disciplinary approach and promote collaboration among scientists as well as industry and government partners, an approach that could yield profound discoveries."

Said the centre's director, Ray Laflamme: "IQC is proud of the recognition both from the Government of Canada and the international research community in quantum information science. We are determined to be at the forefront on the leading edge of research in a field of tremendous potential for the future of Canada."

In May 2007, the release noted, the prime minister issued the federal government's national S&T Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, "setting out a multi-year framework to improve Canada's long-term competitiveness and quality of life. The Strategy includes a commitment to attract and retain talent, support world-leading research and ensure that research discoveries are transformed into practical applications.

"As a part of its ongoing support for this strategy, the government has pledged over $2.2 billion in new S&T funding. Canada's Economic Action Plan provides more than $5.1 billion toward S&T initiatives. This measure will contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada."

GenoLogics Teams with Applied Biosystems

GenoLogics today announced that it is teaming with Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation, to provide an integrated lab and data management solution for their next generation advanced genomic analysis platform, the SOLiD™ System.

Applied Biosystems is a global leader in providing innovative instrument systems to accelerate academic and clinical research, drug discovery and development, pathogen detection and forensic DNA analysis. The technologies it markets include a robust line of DNA sequencing systems and chemistries to meet the increasing demands of the scientific community for higher throughput, more sophisticated DNA sequencing solutions. The SOLiD™ System is a highly accurate, massively parallel genomic analysis platform that supports a wide range of applications.

“Our relationship with GenoLogics helps ensure that scientists using the SOLiD™ System are fully supported with an end-to-end lab and data management solution, enabling efficient management of their growing volumes of next-generation sequencing data,” said Roger Canales, Applied Biosystems’ Senior Manager of the SOLiD™ Software Development Community. Mr. Canales continued, “By providing a combined solution, our customers are able to seamlessly capture data across our applications, automate multiple data pipelines and manage all of their sequencing projects and data in Geneus, a centralized lab and data management system.”

As a member of the SOLiD™ Software Development Community, the nature of the relationship between Applied Biosystems and GenoLogics spans both technical and joint marketing initiatives. By making SOLiD™ technology customers aware of the unique strengths of Geneus, they will see a clear path as to how they can accelerate their next generation sequencing results with a fully integrated lab and data management solution. 

“We are pleased that Applied Biosystems found Geneus to be a uniquely qualified lab and data management solution for their next generation sequencing platform,” said Sal Sanci, VP Product Management for GenoLogics. “Our relationship will provide SOLiD™ System users with a single data management solution from sample submissions to results not only for their next generation sequencing projects, but also for their other genomics research.”

Geneus is highly configurable and flexible lab and data management system that supports workflows across multiple technology platforms. It provides genomics facilities with an end-to-end solution from sample and workflow management, to automating pipelines and enabling reporting. Geneus is also part of a broader suite of informatics solutions for discovery labs, which enables translational research and systems biology projects.

Long Term Development Plans for Knowledge Park Projected to Have Far Reaching Impact

An independent consultants’ report released this week projects significant and far reaching benefits beyond the substantial economic impact of the recently announced long term development plans for the Fredericton-based Knowledge Park. 

AMEC Consultants and InPro Solutions concluded that, if recently announced long term plan were in place today, the Knowledge Park would generate close to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and $166 million in wages and salaries. The operational impact alone of the planned 17 buildings is estimated to be $414 million in provincial output, resulting in a contribution of $255 million to New Brunswick’s GDP and tax revenues of $75.4 million.

But Jim Pickard CEO, InProSolutions says the impact will extend far beyond simply dollars and tax revenue for the province. “The Park’s planned campus like ambience and its knowledge industry synergistic clustering will undoubtedly attract high profile and innovative companies and the senior management and technical professionals needed to staff them,” he says. The consultant says the spin-off impact of that influx will be far reaching, pointing to the potential opportunities for interesting careers for local graduates, partnering potential and linkages with local universities, the National Research Council Institute for Information Technology (NRCIIT), the Research and Productivity Council as well as a myriad of other organizations and businesses in the region. Business attraction will not be limited to the Park, he points out. Historically, across Canada, similar Research Park developments tend to act as a catalyst for spin-off business start-ups both within and outside Parks.

  The consultants concluded that the human resource additions to the region and province alone could have a significant social, professional and even cultural impact. Knowledge Park Board President Dr. Greg Kealey says that, given the need for population growth in New Brunswick, Knowledge Park could prove to be one of the province’s more powerful population retention and attraction tools.

The recently-announced long-term expansion plan for the Park involves a campus-like development approach to land surrounding the Hugh John Flemming Forestry Complex and UNB adjacent lands. More than 650,000 square feet of space will be added to the existing development in the coming years.

Knowledge Park is a member of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a network of 26 research and technology park
s across Canada. Dale Gann, President of AURP Canada, says he’s not surprised at the projections for New Brunswick’s Knowledge Park. “The annual national economic impact of our 26 research parks is estimated to be approximately $3 billion. With a forecasted economic impact of $414 million annually, New Brunswick’s Knowledge Park is positioned to be among the leaders in the country, along with similar developments in Ontario, Saskatoon and British Columbia.”

Knowledge Park is an economic development initiative designed to support the knowledge industry in the province of New Brunswick. Its principle objective is to provide cluster opportunities to organizations engaged in research and the application of technologies in such sectors as information technology, biotechnology, engineering, healthcare, forestry, environmental and advanced learning and more. Knowledge Park (www.knowledgepark.ca) was founded in 1997.

 

Times Colonist Reports: EAS, B.C. sign deal worth $586 million

By Andrew A. Duffy

Times Colonist

Friday, April 3, 2009

 

 

EDS Advanced Solutions is about to start filling up the extra 9,000 square feet of space it leased at the Vancouver Island Technology Park.

 

The company, a subsidiary of EDS, which is a division of Hewlett Packard, is in the process of adding 120 employees to its roster after signing a 12-year, $586-million agreement with the provincial government for data management and storage services.

 

"We think this certainly provides a great deal of consistency and reliability for the province," said EDS Advanced president Jim Hamilton in an interview. "We have established ourselves with a very strong reputation based on previous work we've done here, and I think we have distinguished ourselves with regard to the labour-friendly aspect of the company we have set up here."

 

EDS Advanced was formed in 2004 as the unionized branch for EDS Canada to provide outsourced IT services.

 

It already has a 12-year agreement with the province to provide revenue services, including account management, billing, payment and remittance processing, and non-tax collections.

 

The latest contract will see EDS Advanced consolidate the province's eight data-storage and server centres into two locations, including a new data centre to be built in Kamloops.

 

It will also mean EDS Advanced will now employ between 350 and 400 people, taking advantage of the nearly 80,000 square feet the company has leased at the tech park.

 

The company says it has offered full-time employment to unionized Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services employees affected by the outsourcing agreement on competitive industry terms.

 

"We've transitioned about 60 at this point," said Hamilton, noting that is likely as many as will come over. "We will probably staff the [rest of the positions] ourselves."

 

According to a ministry release, those employees who have accepted offers from EDS Advanced remain members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, and will receive the same or higher pay and benefits. Others have chosen one of several options, including remaining with government for placement in other positions.

 

aduffy@tc.canwest.com

EAS Signs $586M Agreement with BC Government

VICTORIA, British Columbia – EDS Advanced Solutions, a subsidiary of EDS, an HP company, today announced it has signed an agreement with the British Columbia Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services for hosting and data centre services.

The contract is valued at approximately $586 million calculated over 12 years.

Under the new agreement, EDS Advanced Solutions will consolidate, standardize and manage the computing, information storage and data center operations for the province.

EDS Advanced Solutions will manage the province’s server and storage systems and consolidate them from the existing eight data centers into two new centers.

HP and EDS Agility Alliance partners will provide services, products and solutions as a part of this agreement.

In compliance with British Columbia’s leading position in privacy protection, EDS Advanced Solutions enforces strict provisions that meet or exceed the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“The EDS Advanced Solutions team will deliver data management and storage that is secure as well as socially and fiscally responsible,” said Jim Hamilton, president of EDS Advanced Solutions, an EDS subsidiary. “With EDS, we have a total of 50 years of experience and superior business transition skills that will help deliver outstanding and innovative results.”

EDS Advanced Solutions has offered full-time employment to all unionized ministry employees affected by this agreement competitive with their current employment terms.

About EDS Advanced Solutions Inc.

EDS Advanced Solutions Inc. is a subsidiary of EDS, an HP company. Incorporated in May 2004, the company is headquartered at the Vancouver Island Technology Park in Victoria, British Columbia, enabling its employees to deliver outstanding services in a state-of-the-art complex. As EDS Canada’s unionized service delivery channel, EDS Advanced Solutions delivers world class business process and information technology outsourcing services in a professional and labour-friendly environment. The company collaborates with industry-leading partners to provide the best possible solutions for its customers. Visit online at www.edsadvancedsolutions.com.

About EDS

EDS, an HP company, is a leading global technology services provider, delivering business solutions to its clients. EDS founded the information technology outsourcing industry nearly 50 years ago. Today, EDS delivers a broad portfolio of information technology, applications and business process outsourcing services to clients in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, communications, energy, transportation, and consumer and retail industries, and to governments around the world.

About HP

HP, the world’s largest technology company, simplifies the technology experience for consumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.