Innovate BC has awarded two B.C.-based research projects with a total of $448,000 through its Ignite Program.

The funding will help accelerate the commercialization of innovation that will solve significant environmental and healthcare challenges in B.C. and around the world.

Since the program’s launch in 2016, the crown agency has awarded $5.3 million in Ignite funding to 25 projects, turning innovative ideas into real life solutions.

“In B.C., we’re extremely fortunate to have world-class researchers and industry leading companies working hand-in-hand to develop new technologies that have a positive impact on our economy, environment, and overall standard of living,” shared Raghwa Gopal, President and CEO of Innovate BC.

The two winning projects, with their academic and industry partners, are:

Waste polyurethane chemical recycling – $300,000 award 

Dr. James Olson of UBC and Polymer Research Technologies are collaborating with the BC Research Institute to develop technology to chemically recycle polyurethane foam waste from the automotive, transportation, furniture, construction, insulation and appliance industries.

The result will be a reusable, recyclable, economical, and environmentally friendly raw material alternative to petroleum-based virgin polyol in the polyurethane industry.

Advanced sensing and control of 3D bio-printing technology enabling automated clinical tissue manufacturing – $148,000 award

Dr. Konrad Walus of UBC and Aspect Biosystems are developing a turn-key manufacturing platform that will allow for the scaling up of tissue production in a robust and highly repeatable manner.

The 3D printed tissues will be used to radically advance the future of drug development, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapies where animals are no longer needed for the discovery of new therapeutics, where doctors know how a patient will react to a drug before prescribing it, and where lifesaving transplant organs are created, not harvested.

The successful projects were selected based on their promising commercial and technical viability as well as their ability to be market ready within three years.

To be considered, projects must address an industry problem in the natural resource or applied sciences, have the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia, and be realized by a group of academic and industry members.