Photo: The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, on Tuesday announced funding of $3.801 million to establish the Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR) facility at UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna.
UBC has launched a new research innovation facility where industry and university researchers can pool their knowledge to rapidly develop novel technologies for human protection, survivability and performance in extreme or remote conditions.
On Tuesday, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced funding of $3.801 million to establish the Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR) facility at UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC.
STAR combines world-class research expertise and global partner networks to help commercialize innovative products and develop ideas that can be applied in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, natural resources, healthcare, and defense.
One of the first STAR projects is a collaboration between UBC, Kelowna-based Helios Global Technologies, and Imperial College London (UK) to develop a high-tech helmet that can reduce the risk of concussion in contact sports such as hockey and football.
“Collaboration with STAR greatly enhances our capacity to develop innovative products,” says Helios CEO Martin Cronin. “It gives us access to world-class research that helps us to quickly prove out concepts and explore multi-sectoral applications, and also access to funding through our research partnerships.”
STAR partnerships create important opportunities for university researchers and their students, says Prof. Paul van Donkelaar, Director of UBC’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and Principal Investigator with the UBC Sports Concussion Research Lab.
“We’re working on compelling projects directly related to our primary research, and which also create new ideas for future research and real-world learning opportunities for students,” says van Donkelaar. The STAR partnership with Imperial College London has led to a new collaboration accord which will include student and faculty exchanges between institutions.
“British Columbia, Canada and the UK have remarkable strengths in advanced engineering and innovative technologies, so it is even more remarkable when they bring these shared strengths together,” says Howard Drake, British High Commissioner to Canada. “This facility, along with a broader collaboration between the partners on student and academic exchanges, will advance a range of exciting real-world solutions to help the security industry. I wish everyone involved all the best for what promises to be an exciting future.”
Other STAR initiatives include development of sensors for autonomous aerial vehicles (UAVs) for use in the forestry and agriculture, and personal wireless stop-button technology for workers using large industrial machinery.
Learn more about the STAR facility at star.ubc.ca.