Victoria, BC – The BC government’s funding for science and technology networks in the province’s rural areas has been nearly doubled in order to fast-track innovative ideas and support economic development throughout the province.
As economies become increasingly knowledge-based, linking rural BC to science and technology development is becoming more important to our provinces competitiveness, says Murray Coell, the province’s advanced education minister. Nearly doubling our contribution to the BC Regional Science and Technology Network is an example of governments commitment to research and innovation in every region.
The BC Regional Science and Technology Network is a not-for-profit society whose members work within their regions to enhance the application of science and technology so innovative businesses can develop. Funding to support the network through the BC Innovation Council has increased by more than $820,000 this year, to $1.7 million.
Some of the extra funding will go to two pilot projects operating around the province. MentorLinx brings regional technology chief executive officers together with experienced mentors in their field. IdeaLinx is a networking program that hosts workshops to bring together industry, post-secondary researchers and government representatives.
With this added funding, were helping to expand two pilot projects that are already moving regional research agendas forward quickly, says Mr Coell. New companies are saving time and money through MentorLinx, and ideas and research are being connected with available capital through IdeaLinx, giving R&D a head start in BCs rural areas.
Since the network was formed in 2001, members have helped build the technology sector outside the Lower Mainland, and represent over 30% of technology companies in BC. They provide services to the private sector, community agencies and post-secondary institutions.