NRC IRAP and Innovate BC invest in British Columbia businesses through B.C. Fast Pilot Program

3 min read
November 30, 2020

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and Innovate BC, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to invest more than $2M in research and development funding for 22 new projects through the B.C. Fast Pilot Program.

This is the second MOU NRC IRAP and Innovate BC have signed, and marks the second round of B.C. Fast Pilot funding. The B.C. Fast Pilot Program helps SMEs design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology in real-world conditions. The program allows B.C. technology companies to demonstrate the impact of their product, measure the value of their solution, and encourage customer adoption. For customers, the program offers a way to minimize some of the risk that traditional industries encounter when adopting new technologies.

Last year, 12 pilot demonstrations were funded during the program’s initial run. Notable outcomes from these 12 demonstrations include the creation of 21 new jobs, the acquisition of 20 new customers, and an increase of nearly $3M in new revenue for participating firms.

This second round of funding will place a priority on regional SMEs and pilot demonstrations, with a focus on cleantech and emergency management projects. Priority will also be placed on projects that involve Indigenous communities or organizations.



“Today’s partnership between NRC IRAP and Innovate BC will help small and medium-sized businesses grow and compete in the global marketplace. By supporting these tech companies, our government is helping to create more jobs across B.C. while getting new, innovative ideas off the ground.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains,
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Small and medium sized companies need the opportunity to demonstrate their products to grow sales and scale-up their business. The B.C. Fast Pilot gives companies the chance to prove their ideas in a real-world environment to help them get to the next level. The end result is thriving companies that will spur economic growth and support job opportunities for British Columbians.”
The Honourable Michelle Mungall,
Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness

“The B.C. Fast Pilot Program provides our province’s tech companies with an opportunity to demonstrate the value and impact of their technology to potential customers. By accelerating technology development and adoption across British Columbia, we’re enabling our traditional industries to become more efficient, competitive, and resilient while directly supporting the province’s economic recovery efforts.”

Raghwa Gopal,
Innovate BC President + CEO


“The NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, is proud to partner with Innovate BC to support innovative small and medium-sized businesses in British Columbia. Through the B.C. Fast Pilot Program, we are enabling companies to gain valuable market feedback by testing and validating their technologies in real-world conditions to meet real-world sector needs.

Iain Stewart,
President, National Research Council of Canada


Quick Facts

  • Since 2019, $3.8M has been invested into 34 B.C. pilot demonstrations through the B.C. Fast Pilot Program
  • The first round of 12 projects featured pilot demonstrations across British Columbia, including regional communities in Merritt, Kamloops and Okanagan Lake. Notable companies to receiving funding during the first round of the program include:
    • Open Ocean Robotics (Okanagan Lake, B.C.) The firm created the first solar powered uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) for seafloor mapping and revolutionize the way hydrographic data is collected in coastal areas and lakes. This demonstrated the feasibility of using a zero-emission autonomous vessel for work that is typically done using a crewed boat, which has advantages of no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increased safety for crew, reduced cost, and faster results.
    • CommandWear (Kamloops, B.C.) The project enabled Field Commanders and Emergency Operations Centre Commanders to communicate, collaborate, access, and assess real-time situational data to enable a cohesive, fast, accurate, and safe team response to emergency situations in remote areas, including forest fire management and response in B.C.’s First Nations Communities.
    • Acuva Technologies (Burnaby, B.C.) The project provided low maintenance, mercury-free, and off-grid water disinfection systems that can meet the demand for purified water in First Nations communities in BC.


Associated Links



Media Relations
National Research Council of Canada

Jamil A. Karim
Innovate BC


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