Research lures $15 million plus in funding

Nine UBC projects have received more than $15 million in capital funding thanks to a combination of federal monies, matching provincial funds and support from a donation made by UBC alumnus Stewart Blusson.

"Our investigators have received a strong endorsement through this support," says David Dolphin, acting vice-president, Research. "It facilitates both basic research and the development of new technologies we will need as a region to compete globally."

UBC projects recently received more than $6 million in funding from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) to match support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The remaining 20 per cent of funding is generated from the Blusson gift, hospital foundations and corporate sources. A substantial portion of Blusson's 1998 gift of $50 million was specifically allocated to attract CFI funding.

Several other UBC projects have received more than $15 million in CFI funding and will be seeking BCKDF matching support.

Biochemistry Prof. Grant Mauk is the principal applicant in a project valued at almost $8.75 million. Funding will be used to buy equipment for eight technology hubs on campus.

CFI contributed to the cost of equipment for five hubs. The provincial government matched those funds and also contributed to the cost of the other three facilities.

About 50 UBC investigators in various faculties will use the advanced instrumentation for basic science research in molecular biophysics. New knowledge created through this interdisciplinary research is expected to result in significant technology transfer, says Mauk. The facilities will also be accessible to local biotechnology companies.

Other projects that received funding include the Core Centre for Growth and Development at the Children's & Women's Health Centre of British Columbia. Research at the centre will look at factors affecting human growth including the genetic diseases that cause infant deaths. Aubrey Tingle, assistant dean of Research in UBC's Faculty of Medicine is the principal investigator in the $4-million project.

Projects looking at protection of fish habitat, industrial mineral innovation and forestry and agriculture sustainability received almost $440,000 in matching funds from the BCKDF.

Funded health sciences projects range from preventive medicine for children, to diabetes research and investigations into female infertility.

UBC's Biomedical Research Centre received a total of $500,000 to upgrade equipment that will be used to explore new treatments for cancer, asthma and auto-immune disorders.

The BCKDF is a five-year program that provides new research equipment and lab upgrading in such fields as high-tech and aerospace, resources and environment and health sciences.

The fund was established to meet the matching funds requirement for proposals submitted to CFI. Designed to help universities, colleges and hospitals upgrade their research facilities, CFI covers 40 per cent of the cost of facilities with the remainder coming from the public and private sectors.

UBC research attracts more than $140 million in research funding annually and 77 companies have started in B.C. as a result of UBC research.