Innovate BC is Igniting Innovation with $300,000 R&D Grant

3 min
May 1, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Applications are now open for Innovate BC’s Ignite program, which awards up to $300,000 to fund B.C.-based research and development projects that are creating game-changing innovations in the areas of natural resources, engineering and applied sciences.

The funding is awarded to teams of academia and industry who come together to solve a significant challenge that British Columbians face. Previous winning projects have ranged from cleantech to energy to mining to forestry to agriculture and beyond. The Ignite program supports the Province’s Stronger BC Economic Plan by providing local businesses with the funding needed to add value to industries, create new jobs and growth throughout B.C.’s economy.

“Innovation is at the heart of our StrongerBC Economic Plan, and the Ignite program is all about sparking innovative approaches and solutions in the applied sciences, engineering, and natural resource sectors,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “I can’t wait to see what inventive ideas academia and industry come up with that will help our province promote clean and inclusive economic growth for the benefit of all British Columbians.” 

Since the program started in 2016, 41 projects have been funded a combined $10.7M, and have garnered more than $239 million in follow-on investments and awards, and 21 projects have been completed to date generating $5.4 million in revenue. To date, more than 288 academic and industry jobs have been created or maintained through this program.

“I’m excited to see what local innovators are doing in natural resources and applied sciences this year and once again support their work through the Ignite program,” says Raghwa Gopal, Innovate BC President + CEO. “Every year we see so many companies and researchers across our province tackle issues like reforestation, clean energy, and more, and it makes me immensely proud to know our tech and innovation ecosystem is making such a significant impact on pressing global matters with made-in-B.C. innovations.”

One such project, a collaboration between Dr. Katherine Elvira from the University of Victoria and Dr. Stephanie Willerth of Axolotl Biosciences, received Ignite funding in 2020 to help commercialize their technology which is 3D bioprinting personalized brain tissue models. Their project is producing next generation brain organoids which can be used for screening potential drugs to treat neurological diseases and disorders as well as for understanding how COVID-19 infection affects the function of neural tissue.

Other notable former winning projects include Flash Forest and the University of British Columbia’s drone technology – which plants trees at ten times the normal rate while significantly increasing accuracy, safety, and cost savings in the reforestation industry – and Browns Bay Packing Company Ltd. and the University of Northern British Columbia who are formulating a renewable and fully biodegradable packaging solution to replace traditional plastics.

Innovate BC is thrilled to support the commercialization of novel innovations through the Ignite program. Learn more about past winners here.

Applications are open until July 3, 2023 at 11:59 PM PDT. Learn more and apply here.

Want to know how to make your application stand out? Join us for an info session on May 16. Register now.


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About Ignite

Launched in 2016, Ignite provides funding to accelerate commercialization of new technologies and innovations in the natural resources and applied sciences in B.C. Awards are up to $300,000 to B.C. industry and academic partnerships that are conducting research and development projects with the intent to commercialize. Past winners include fast-growing B.C. companies such as Aspect Biosystems, Terramera, Axine Water Technologies, and Performance Biofilaments.


About Innovate BC

Innovate BC helps foster innovation in B.C. so that British Columbians in all regions of the province can benefit from a thriving, sustainable, and inclusive innovation economy. A Crown Agency of British Columbia, Innovate BC funds and delivers programs that support the growth of the B.C. economy by helping companies start and scale, train talent that meets labour market needs, and encourage technology development, commercialization, and adoption.