UBCO: Feds back high-tech research

Innovation and technology commercialization is alive and well in the Okanagan, thanks to nearly $1.36 million in Western Diversification Program funding for UBC Okanagan.

The grant will allow UBCO to establish scanning-electron microscopy (SEM) and microfabrication facilities in the local area.

Other project partners include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations, and the Charles Fipke Foundation.

“Creating innovative new technologies, and bringing the products of those developments to market, is vital to the success of a knowledge-based economy in the Okanagan,” said local Conservative MP Ron Cannan.

SEM is a technique that enables the characterization and analysis of a material or biological system that is not visible to the human eye.

By establishing a SEM facility,  UBCO will be able to better support innovation and high-tech training in areas such as geosciences, biosciences and engineering.

Applications include uses in mining and mineral exploration, agriculture/agroforestry, biomedical sciences and aerospace.

Microfabrication is the making of microscopic scale mechanical devices that run on electricity.

Support for a microfabrication facility will lead to the development and commercialization of technologies used in the alternative energy and life sciences sectors.

UBCO has several prototyping projects already planned, including a device to detect pathogens in water.

“The research investment making this facility possible is a truly remarkable partnership, and that’s fitting because this facility and its equipment will benefit research across a wide scope of disciplines including engineering, biosciences and geosciences,” said Spiro Yannacopoulos, associate dean and director of the school of engineering.


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