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Government of Canada supports growing materials science capacity in British Columbia

January 15, 2013
$7.7 million in funding for the Prometheus Project creates global innovation hub

BURNABY, B.C., January 15, 2013 — British Columbia’s research-intensive universities are coming together to create a global hub for materials science and engineering. Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Institute of Technology have received $7.7 million in funding from the Canada Foundation of Innovation to create the Prometheus Project — a research hub for materials science and engineering innovation and commercialization.

“Our goal with the Prometheus Project is to turn our world-class research capacity into jobs and growth for the people of British Columbia,” said Neil Branda, Canada Research Chair in Materials Science at Simon Fraser University and leader of the Prometheus Project. “We know that materials science is changing the way we create energy and fight disease. We think it can also help B.C.’s economy evolve.”

This project builds on a strong collective legacy of collaborating with industry. Researchers involved in the Prometheus Project have created 13 spin-off companies, filed 67 patents and have generated 243 new processes and products. Branda himself has founded a company called Switch Materials that seizes the power of advanced chemistry to create smarter and more efficient window coatings.

This funding will allow members of the research team to build their capacity in fabrication, device testing and advanced manufacturing, ensuring that they have the resources and expertise they need to compete globally.

Research-driven growth is positioning B.C. as a leader across burgeoning sectors, such as solar materials and devices, biomedical devices and sensory systems, and quantum computing and information devices.

The team behind the Prometheus Project is currently involved with a large network of companies throughout the province. “These companies have the resources and desire to work with us to take these technologies from the lab to the market,” says Branda. Of the more than 10 companies in B.C. commercializing solar devices, five are already working with the Prometheus team.

Created by the Government of Canada in 1997, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) builds the capacity of universities, colleges and research hospitals to undertake world-class research. The CFI has invested $44 million in researchers participating in the Prometheus Project. These investments are helping to attract top talent, train the next generation of researchers, support private-sector innovation and create jobs that strengthen Canada’s economy.

For more information or interview requests

Ryan Saxby Hill
Canada Foundation for Innovation
613-294-6247
ryansaxbyhill@innovation.ca

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