What's New at BC Colleges January 2016
Happy 2016! The year is off to a quick start for BC Colleges and, while there are many exciting activities happening with our member colleges, I thought I would focus my first update of the year on innovation, technology and applied research.
The BC TECH Summit was held last week in Vancouver and attended by over 2,800 business leaders, tech companies, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and students. We attended the Summit and heard the Premier unveil a multi-year #BCTECH Strategy that will support growth of BC’s vibrant technology sector and ultimately strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy. As you would expect, our Colleges are increasingly doing their part by educating the “tech” talent that BC employers need, and delivering community based innovation projects in partnership with local industries and businesses (especially small and medium sized enterprises, the source of 70% of new jobs).
Three of our members, College of New Caledonia, Camosun College and Selkirk College, hosted displays at the Summit showcasing the diverse nature of their current work and impact. Highlights included Camosun’s 3-D scanning work with business and industry, CNC’s economically self-sustaining and environmentally sustainable Research Forest, and Selkirk’s ground-breaking work with the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI). I invite you to visit each of the links above to learn more about these applied research projects.
According to a recent Conference Board of Canada report, “Countries and provinces with robust innovation activity see improvements in productivity, economic growth, and job creation and have more resources available to support spending in education, health, infrastructure and other areas.” Commitment by governments to invest in innovation that drives economic growth is clearly welcomed and celebrated by Colleges - both here in BC and by colleges nationally through CICan (which represents 135 of Canada’s publicly funded colleges and institutes).
In addition to the innovative activities showcased at the Summit, I would like to draw your attention to the first two stories listed below. Both highlight how our College students are focusing on developing new solutions and products here in BC to address real-world issues. Our students really are the future of our shared prosperity.
As always, please read on to learn more about other milestones, projects, collaborations and announcements from our Colleges during the past month. For a full list of this month’s news, please check out “In the News” on the BC Colleges website. And, I welcome your feedback, so please feel free to contact me by e-mail.
Colin Ewart, President BC Colleges