Innovate BC Awards $1.365M to B.C. R&D Projects Solving Real-World Challenges

3 min
Sep 26, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Innovations in natural resources and applied sciences with the potential to change the world

Last night at an awards ceremony in Vancouver, Innovate BC awarded $1.365M to five B.C. research and development projects in natural resources and applied sciences that are improving lives for British Columbians. Specifically, this year’s funding, through Innovate BC’s Ignite program, is accelerating the commercialization of clean technology, advanced materials and manufacturing, and life science projects.

“I’d like to extend my sincere congratulations to this year’s Ignite award winners, whose innovation, courage, passion and dedication make a real difference to everyone in B.C.,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “I look forward to continuing to support solutions by, and for B.C. innovators, as we build a clean and inclusive economy that works for everyone.” 

The successful projects noted below 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 also address an industry problem with the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia and be implemented by a group of academic and industry members.

  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing: A2O Advanced Materials Inc. and Dr. Laurel Schafer of the University of British Columbia are collaborating on a project to develop a proprietary bonding technology that uniquely combines the properties of adhesion, self-healing, and regeneration to enable the manufacture of long-lasting coatings and adhesives for large-scale applications in the marine industry. This innovative material improves underwater marine performance and addresses the costly environmental and health impacts of corrosion and bio-fouling. Awarded: $300,000

  • Life Sciences and Advanced Health: VoxCell BioInnovation Inc. and Dr. Alexandre Brolo of the University of Victoria are collaborating to develop fully vascularized, human-like cancer tissue models by combining a custom high-resolution 3D bioprinter, advanced vascularized software, and proprietary bioinks to accelerate the development of life-saving anti-cancer drugs and decrease the current 95% drug failure rate. Awarded: $300,000

  • Clean Technologies: Kite Company Creator Limited and Dr. Behraad Bahreyni of Simon Fraser University are collaborating on a project to develop aluminum smelting pot sensor technology that seeks to increase the output of aluminum produced based on existing inputs, decrease electricity consumption, and provide both environmental and safety benefits in one of the world’s most energy intensive processes. Awarded: $300,000

  • Life Sciences and Advanced Health: RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. and Dr. Mohsen Akbari of the University of Victoria are collaborating on a project to develop smart microcarriers for high-density culture of therapeutic cells, without the use of enzymes. This approach protects cells from enzymatic damage and dramatically cuts down the costs associated with the production of cells for cell therapy, research, and production of cultivated meat. Awarded: $165,000

  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing: Rapidia Tech Inc. and Dr. Adam Clare of the University of British Columbia are collaborating on a project to develop corrosion and wear-resistant materials for Rapidia’s metal 3D printing system. This approach will allow for more efficient part designs, reduce material waste and manufacturing facility footprints for faster product development in resource industries like mining and oil and gas. Awarded: $300,000

“Innovate BC is honoured to support and invest in research and development projects in the natural resources and applied sciences,” says Tomica Divic, Interim President + CEO at Innovate BC. “Innovation in these fields is not just about shaping the future; it's about preserving our planet, optimizing our resources, and driving sustainable progress. Together, we are unlocking the boundless potential of our world's most valuable assets - knowledge and nature - for a brighter, greener, and more prosperous tomorrow."

Each year Innovate BC’s Ignite program selects research projects in the natural resources and applied sciences, awarding up to $300,000 per project. To date it has funded 46 projects for a total value of $12M.

The Ignite Program is funded by the Natural Resources and Applied Sciences (NRAS) Endowment Fund, which was established by the Province of British Columbia to enhance the quality of life for British Columbians by building strong environments in research and development, advanced training, technology transfer, and commercialization.

To learn more about Ignite, visit:


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