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B.C. wins Digital Technology 'supercluster' bid

British Columbia just received a major boost to its technology and innovation sector through the federal government's "superclusters" selections.

Today, Navdeep Bains, Canada's minister of Innovation, named B.C. as one of five technology groups sharing $950 million in "superclusters" funding - a Canadian-made tech collaboration aimed at creating jobs and growing Canada's economy.

B.C.'s Digital Technology Supercluster is comprised of more than 200 B.C. tech companies, as well as start-ups and six universities focused on advancing healthcare, telecommunications, natural resources and computing technology.

</who> B.C. was one of five provinces selected to share the $950 million in "supercluster" funding.

"Today is truly a landmark day for tech innovation in our province," said Bruce Ralston, federal minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. "This federal investment in B.C.'s innovation ecosystem means that more than 200 tech companies and six universities will spearhead the transformation of our province's innovation ecosystem."

</who> Six B.C. universities are part of the supercluster consortium.

The following six universities are part of the supercluster: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, University of Northern British Columbia, Emily Carr and BCIT: British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Over a 10-year period, Canada's Digital Technology supercluster is expected to create 50,000 jobs and generate $15 billion in GDP through advancing technology in health, natural resources and industry.

Initially, B.C.'s Supercluster will focus on the following projects:

  • Earth Data Store - will use data sharing and technology to grow the resource sector and build strong relationships between government, Indigenous People, and communities.
  • Secure Health and Genomic Platform- will help create advanced cancer treatments specific to the genetic make up of each patient.
  • Digital Learning Factory- will help facilitate collaboration on developing virtual environments enabling design, rapid experimentation, and testing of cost-saving approaches in modern manufacturing.

</who> One of B.C.'s first supercluster projects will focus on creating advanced cancer treatments, specific to the genetic make up of the patient.

"Our government is making a multi-million dollar investment in 2,900 additional tech spaces for students," said Melanie Mark, B.C.'s minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "More homegrown tech talent will help to meet the demand from the growing tech sector for a skilled workforce."

The digital tech supercluster intends to expand B.C.'s tech partnerships in Asia and through the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

Premier Horgan aims to make Metro Vancouver a major global player in digital media, including film, gaming, and animation.

</who> The Cascadia Innovation Corridor expands from B.C. to Washington State, and now Oregon, as of Sept. 2017.

In 2016, BC signed a memorandum of understanding with the State of Washington to develop the Cascadia Innovation Corridor and grow cross-border innovation between Metro Vancouver and Seattle. In 2017, the Corridor was extended to Oregon.

"This is truly an exciting day for technology innovation in Canada and a game-changer for B.C.," said BC Tech Association president and CEO Jill Tipping.

The B.C.-based digital tech consortium was one of five Canadian superclusters chosen to keep Canada competitive on a global scale.

</who> The Digital Technology supercluster hopes to expand B.C.'s reach in the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

The following five Canadian superclusters were selected for the $950 million to build Canada's economy:

The Ocean supercluster in Atlantic will use the funds to keep Canada competitive in industry, fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy.

The Scale Al supercluster in Quebec aims to build Canadas AI and robotics sector.

The Advanced Manufacturing supercluster in Ontario will build on Canada's manufacturing industry.

The Protein Industries supercluster in the Prairies aims to lead in sourcing plant proteins.

The Digital Technology supercluster in B.C. will use data sharing and digital technology to advance health care, forestry and manufacturing.

Currently, B.C.'s tech sector generates $26 billion in annual revenue.

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