UBC gets $1 million from Microsoft for new Washington tech partnership

Feb 23 2017, 8:07 pm

UBC and the University of Washington are teaming up to transform Cascadia into the new Silicon Valley, thanks to a $1 million donation from Microsoft.

The universities are establishing the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative, which will use data to help cities and communities address challenges from traffic to homelessness.

“This new partnership transcends borders and strives to unleash our collective brain power, to bring about economic growth that enriches the lives of Canadians and Americans as well as urban communities throughout the world,” said UBC President Santa J. Ono in a release.

The move follows last year’s Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Vancouver, which focused on creating a new global hub for innovation and technology.

BC Premier Christy Clark and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a formal agreement to work together to create a Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

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The new collaborative effort between UBC and UW will bring faculty, students and community stakeholders together to solve problems in four main programs:

The Cascadia Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) Summer Program – a joint summer program for students to create and incubate data-intensive research projects tackling urban issues like transportation and food safety.

Cascadia Data Science for Social Good Scholar Symposium – a gathering bringing together students involved in projects utilizing technology to advance the social good. The first symposium will be held at the University of Washington in 2017.

Sustained Research Partnerships – funding and supporting research that will make the Pacific Northwest a hub of expertise and activity in urban analytics.

Responsible Data Management Systems and Services – to develop new software, systems and services to facilitate data management and analysis, as well as ensure projects adhere to best practices in fairness, accountability and transparency.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to use data to help our communities make decisions, and as a result improve people’s lives and well-being,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

“That commitment to the public good is at the core of the mission of our two universities, and we’re grateful to Microsoft for making a community-minded contribution that will spark a range of collaborations.”