By: Pranjali J Mann, News Writer
SFU’s 4D LABS and Big Data Hub are set to receive a research investment of $2.6 million. The investment will provide new equipment and facility upgrades to support research in “clean technologies late-stage testing.” This comes from the Government of Canada’s agency, PacifiCan, situated in BC to improve innovation and growth in the province’s economy.
Under the Regional Innovation Ecosystem program, the funding prioritizes “innovation and inclusive growth.” This means the project will provide specific support to “hiring and training of under-represented groups, including Indigenous peoples, women, and youth.” The announcement ceremony saw in attendance minister of international development, Harjit Sajjan, and member of parliament and parliamentary secretary minister of finance, Terry Beech.
As outlined in the SFU News, a sum of $600,000 will go towards core facility building, increasing the “capacity of the university’s Supercomputer Cedar, including 12 high-performance computers for its computing lab.” Cedar is one of Canada’s largest advanced research infrastructure for data-intensive research and data mining.
This investment will work to enable more employment and help “small and medium sized BC businesses increase productivity and remain competitive.” Sajjan said, “Universities, like Simon Fraser University, are often the birthplace of ideas, such as innovations that leverage the power of clean technology. The government’s support for the Centre for Environmental and Food Analysis will support the local clean technology ecosystem and help municipalities and Indigenous communities adopt green technologies.”
Beech, an SFU alumni, also appreciated this announcement and noted its long-term positive community impacts. He stated, “Supporting environmentally friendly initiatives will build our economy while creating high-skilled, well paying jobs. The government is committed to making Canada a world leader in sustainable innovation, science, and technology.”
The 4D LABS will use the investment to establish the Centre for Environmental and Food Analysis. In combined efforts between local municipalities and Indigenous communities, the Centre for Environmental and Food Analysis will work in commercialization and utilization of clean and green technologies. The idea is to innovate technologies provincially, with the possibility of expanding into global markets.
SFU’s vice-president, research and international, Dugan O’Neil welcomed the investment. “The new Centre for Environmental and Food Analysis will train researchers with valuable skills for the agritech, clean tech, and clean resources sectors, while expansion of our big data capacities will serve the growing Canadian research community.”