SFU Surrey to see the addition of the new BC Centre for Agritech Innovation

Jul 29 2022, 10:09 pm

The provincial government is establishing the new BC Centre for Agritech Innovation at Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) campus in Surrey City Centre.

It will focus on developing and testing agritech solutions in simulated and real-world environments for use in commercial farms, with the intent of assisting small and medium-sized agriculture businesses to scale up.

Academic, government, and industry partners will join forces at the new centre to create more productive, diverse, and resilient food supply chains.

To this end, the provincial government is funding the centre with up to $6.5 million over three years, and the federal government is committing up to $10 million over five years through its new Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) agency, which is also headquartered in Surrey. The new centre is expected to open in September 2022.

“PacifiCan is committed to supporting innovative partnerships that help BC agritech companies commercialize their technologies and create cleaner, more productive agriculture, food and seafood industries,” said Harjit Sajjan, federal minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, in a statement.

“Investments in high-growth industries, such as the agritech sector, help develop skills and local talent, positioning British Columbia as a world-leader in innovation.”

The governments anticipate that by 2025, the new centre will create about 200 jobs, help train over 700 workers, and add 30 new agritech projects across BC.

“Our government is working hard to strengthen food security and build a resilient provincial food system, and the new centre will be another piece in the puzzle that will help drive transformation in the agriculture and food sector,” said Lana Popham, BC minister of agriculture and food. “By bringing together regenerative agriculture practices and agritech, we are aiming to increase sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing farm profitability and creating more job opportunities.”

The BC Centre for Agritech Innovation adds to the provincial government’s decision to establish the Quantum Algorithms Institute at SFU Surrey.

During the 2020 provincial election campaign, the BC NDP also vowed to open a new medical at SFU Surrey to train more doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and public health professionals. If realized, it would be the second medical school in British Columbia, after the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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