Provincial government announces $3.3 million funding for UBC research infrastructure

Eleven research projects at UBC’s Vancouver campus will benefit from over $3.3 million from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF).

At an on-campus press conference this morning, Minister Brenda Bailey, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation, announced the funding alongside Dr. Deborah Buszard, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor at UBC. This financial backing will support research infrastructure for projects ranging from astrochemistry and quantum computing to endometriosis and wildlife conservation and more.

“Investments like the [BCKDF] help ensure that our researchers have state-of-the-art scientific equipment and infrastructure to be able to lead in their fields and advance innovation across BC's economy and for all the people of British Columbia,” said Buszard at the press conference.

The BCKDF has supported the development of over 1,800 jobs, 66 new companies and 237 provisional or granted patents, according to Bailey.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of our economy, generating thousands of jobs and opportunities across British Columbia and it is supported by the extraordinary research capabilities of our universities and our post-secondary institutions,” she said.

The eleven UBC Vancouver-based funded projects include :

  • Infrastructure for laboratory simulations of interstellar chemistry (Dr. Ilsa Cooke)
  • RESearch in Physical activity and Exercise with, by, and for hard-to-reach CommuniTies (RESPECT) collaboratory (Dr. ​​Guy Faulkner)
  • Facility for the Study of Insect Adaptability and Physiology (FSIAP) (Dr. Philip Matthews)
  • Endometriosis Integrated Pain Laboratory (Dr. Paul Yong)
  • Visualizing immune cell activities using live-cell imaging and confocal microscopy (Dr. Jessica Rosin)
  • Precision oncology for gynecologic cancers (Dr. Jessica McAlpine )
  • Infrastructure for AI-integrated point-of-care ultrasound imaging for decentralized healthcare (Dr. Ilker Hacihaliloglu)
  • Laboratory for the advanced study of dietary ecology of modern and ancient organisms (Dr. Kendra Chritz)
  • Computational infrastructure for accelerating quantum technology (Dr. Andrew Potter)
  • Integrated Climate Change and Aquaculture System (ICCAS) for multi-stressor experiments on commercial juvenile fish (Dr. Andrea Frommel)
  • Infrastructure for the field-based investigation of the impacts of climate change on sedimentary systems (Dr. Mitch D’Arcy)

Hacihaliloglu’s funded project centres on the belief that “nobody should lose their loved ones to preventable diseases." His lab’s mission is to use artificial intelligence to create an ultrasound imaging platform at the point of care, making it easier to more frequently monitor chronic diseases in hospitals and detect illnesses at an earlier, more treatable stage.

“We're very happy and grateful to the support of our local government, as well as the support of the government of Canada to receive this funding,” he said.

Funding will also be granted to UBCO, the University of Victoria, SFU and Vancouver Island University for a total of $4.3 million to fund 18 “high impact projects at universities throughout our province to improve lives for British Columbians,” according to Bailey. Financial support will also be allocated from federal grants like the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

“[The BCKDF] really focuses on giving students and researchers access to the latest technology, tools and equipment that they need to drive innovation,” said Bailey.

According to Buszard, this announcement stands as a testament to UBC researchers' innovative work.

“I am constantly impressed by the dedication and passion of our colleagues as they push the envelope in their fields,” she said.