Ignite Program awards $448,000 to clean + biotech research

2 min
Nov 14, 2019 2:17:00 PM

Innovate BC, the crown agency that supports the province’s thriving innovation sector, has awarded two B.C.-based research projects with a total of $448,000 through its Ignite Program. The funding will help accelerate the commercialization of innovation that will solve significant environmental and healthcare challenges in B.C. and around the world. Since the program’s launch in 2016, Innovate BC has awarded $5.3M in Ignite funding to 24 projects.

The two winning projects, with their industry and academic partners, are:

Waste polyurethane chemical recycling

Dr. James Olson of UBC and industry partner Polymer Research Technologies (PRT) are collaborating with the BC Research Institute to develop technology to chemically recycle polyurethane foam waste from the automotive, transportation, furniture, construction, insulation and appliance industries. The result will be a reusable, recyclable, economical, and environmentally friendly raw material alternative to petroleum-based virgin polyol in the polyurethane industry. Award amount: $300,000

Advanced sensing and control of 3D bioprinting technology enabling automated clinical tissue manufacturing

Dr. Konrad Walus of UBC and industry partner Aspect Biosystems, a leader in clinical 3D bio-printing and human tissue engineering, are developing a turn-key manufacturing platform that will allow for the scaling up of tissue production in a robust and highly repeatable manner. The 3D printed tissues will be used to radically advance the future of drug development, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapies where animals are no longer needed for the discovery of new therapeutics, where doctors know how a patient will react to a drug before prescribing it, and where lifesaving transplant organs are created, not harvested. Award amount: $148,000

The successful projects were selected based on their promising commercial and technical viability as well as their ability to be market ready within three years. To be considered, projects must address an industry problem in the natural resource or applied sciences, have the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia, and be realized by a group of academic and industry members. For more information about the program and past winners, visit the Ignite Program page.


Raghwa Gopal, President + CEO of Innovate BC

“The Ignite Program addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges by turning innovative ideas into real life solutions. In B.C., we’re extremely fortunate to have world-class researchers and industry leading companies working hand-in-hand to develop new technologies that have a positive impact on our economy, environment, and overall standard of living.”

Tamer Mohamed, CEO of Aspect Biosystems

"Through this exciting collaboration, we look forward to accessing world-class research capabilities at the University of British Columbia. Investing in deep technology for medical applications does not only improve health outcomes, but drives our economy. This support from Innovate BC is a testament to the Provincial Government’s belief in innovation, and its power to create impact and value.”

Kambiz Taheri, Founder and CTO of Polymer Research Technologies

“Polymer Research is extremely excited to receive this prestigious award. The funding will allow us to perform all of the necessary and crucial R&D work at UBC and validate the sustainability and scalability of our innovative technology by our key customers.”