New projects advance talent development, create good jobs, and scale Canadian companies
Vancouver, British Columbia [January 16, 2020] – Today, the Digital Technology Supercluster (Supercluster) is announcing 14 new projects with a total investment of $25 million; eight focused on talent development for the digital economy, six in technology.
The Supercluster aims to position Canada as a global leader in digital technologies by bringing together small, medium-sized and large companies, post-secondary institutions, research organizations and not-for-profits. The Supercluster co-invests in ambitious technology development projects and new solutions to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of natural resources, healthcare and industrial sectors and energize the economy. The projects announced today will help create good jobs, drive economic growth, and elevate the reputation of Canada’s world-leading digital economy.
Developing Talent for Good Jobs
The Supercluster’s Capacity Building program is focused on talent development, and today’s announcement of $5 million in investments across eight Capacity Building projects includes investment from the Government of B.C., Federal Government’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry, and other partners. It marks the first in a planned series of investments to develop Canada’s talent base for the needs of industry today and tomorrow. The approved projects include: Athena Pathways, Autonomous Systems Technician, Competency Assessment Mapping Platform for Industry Responsive Education (CAMPFIRE), Design for Startups, Diversifying Talent in Quantum Computing, Future Capital – Shape the Future of Funding, HyperTalent, and Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.
The Supercluster’s Capacity Building Program creates digital skills programs and work experience for employees while building a “job-ready” workforce for Canadian employers. These projects connect employers, educators and community organizations focused on developing job-ready, world-leading talent. By developing the skilled talent industry needs, the Supercluster is supporting traditional industries in the use of innovation and technology by connecting the jobs of tomorrow with the employees of today.
For example, the “Autonomous Systems Technician” project will support the development of skills and training for individuals from under-represented groups so that they are “job ready” for the digital economy. Through the Autonomous Systems Technician project, Indigenous peoples and women will gain access to digital skills to install and maintain remote telecommunications systems that are being implemented by the resource sector.
“Technology is transforming our industry and helping to improve safety, sustainability and efficiency across the mining sector. This new program will help Indigenous Peoples and women to be part of the technological evolution in mining and take advantage of new opportunities being created,” said Marcia Smith, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs, Teck.
The Capacity Building Program aims to capture a broader talent pool for employers by engaging under-represented groups such as women and Indigenous peoples, thereby supporting the growth of diversity and inclusion across multiple sectors. The projects also foster leadership development for entrepreneurs, deliver relevant digital skills for workers in the natural resource sector, engage Indigenous youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM), and support the pursuit of careers in digital technology.
Scaling Canada’s Digital Economy
The Supercluster also announced investments of $20 million in six technology projects. This includes funding from the Federal Government’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry, and industry partners. These projects are solving some of the most pressing challenges in the natural resources, healthcare, and industrial sectors such as reducing pesticide use on crops, improving the management of our water resources, and ensuring Canadians have access to the best tools for early diagnosis of disease, regardless of where they live. The approved projects include: Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Inspection, Fresh Water Data Commons, Intelligent Network for Point-of-Care Ultrasound, Personal Health Wallet, Precision Agriculture to Improve Crop Health, and Reducing Opioid Use for Pain Management.
The projects announced today in the Supercluster’s technology programs demonstrate the benefits of organizations working together to tackle some of the most challenging hurdles faced by major industries and sectors. Climate change, for example, is threatening food crops in Canada and around the world as pests, pathogens and viruses attack and destroy crops. The “Precision Agriculture to Improve Crop Health” project will develop new pest and pathogen controls through the use of computational biochemistry, genomics, machine learning, and robotics. This novel approach aims to reduce pesticide use and will initially focus on leaf rust disease, which attacks some of Canada’s most important crops, including wheat and barley.
Terramera is committed to reduce or eliminate 80% of the synthetic pesticide load in agriculture globally by 2030, and this project helps advance our goal,” said Karn Manhas, Founder and CEO, Terramera. “We appreciate the opportunity to lead this important crop health project through the Digital Technology Supercluster and collaborate with universities, government labs and innovative companies from across Canada. It’s a novel approach that will impact genomics and digital technology in multiple ways, and can set the stage for other companies to solve problems unique to their fields, impacting both Canada’s digital economy, our agriculture economy and the health of Canadians across the country.”
“The Digital Technology Supercluster is building strong momentum, creating a hotbed of innovation, collaboration and growth here in the Greater Vancouver region, and across B.C. and Canada. Today’s projects will have a transformative effect across Canada’s economy. They are not only ensuring all Canadians have access to the technology sector’s employment opportunities, but are also empowering companies to experiment with new technological solutions for some of our most pressing challenges” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“Digital innovation is revolutionizing the workplace, and changing the needs of employers,” said Supercluster CEO Sue Paish. “The Capacity Building Program creates opportunities for Canadians to be skilled and job-ready so that our resource, traditional and non-traditional sectors can continue to leverage the opportunities digital transformation delivers. Our technology programs bring our Members together in an effort to solve some of Canadians’ most urgent problems in health care, manufacturing, agriculture, and data.”
“These Supercluster projects are important because they are dedicated to driving diversity and inclusion and provide more opportunities for British Columbians to participate in the everchanging innovation economy,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Government of British Columbia. “These initiatives will focus on our priority areas, including agritech and quantum computing. They will also provide the tools and training to help people secure good jobs in all communities throughout B.C.”
The Supercluster has already seen success as a result of collaboration between their Members.Whether using new technology to solve problems, providing critical resources to spur innovation, or developing talent to fill critical employment opportunities, Supercluster Members are changing the way the innovation economy solves problems in Canada.
For more information, please contact Kathleen Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-724-1242. For media assets, click here. Interview opportunities with Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster, are available upon request.
About Digital Technology Supercluster:
The Digital Technology Supercluster is led by global companies such as MDA, Microsoft, Telus, Teck Resources Limited, Mosaic Forest Management, LifeLabs and Terramera, and tech industry leaders such as D-Wave Systems, Finger Food Advanced Technology Group, and LlamaZOO. Members also include BC’s post-secondary institutions such as Emily Carr University of Art + Design, British Columbia Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. A full list of Members can be found here.
About the Capacity Building Program:
The Capacity Building Program aims to develop a diverse pool of digital talent to ensure Canada has a workforce prepared for the jobs of tomorrow with a focus on improving the inclusion and participation of under-represented groups, including Indigenous Peoples and women. Media backgrounder here.
About Technology Programs:
The Supercluster delivers three technology programs to enable wide-scale adoption of digital transformation platforms in key industrial segments and develop and commercialize new products, services and platforms. The suite of technology programs includes: Precision Health Program, Data Commons Program, and Digital Twins Program. These programs are core to the Supercluster securing Canada’s global leadership in digital innovation, and securing social and economic benefits for Canadians. Media backgrounder here.