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To improve renewable energy generation and power conversion, Martin Ordonez, Fred Kaiser Professor in Power Conversion and Sustainability at UBC is expanding a research and education program. This research is funded by a $ 1-million investment by the Fred Kaiser Foundation and will help store and use renewable energy. Ordonez said as Canadians are trying to reduce greenhouse emissions, the efficiency in generating energy is critical not only to them but also to the future on a global scale. The goal of this project is to derive maximum amounts of energy from sustainable resources in order to compete with hydrocarbon alternatives. To support this objective, at least five top-tier researchers are added, doubling the program’s current size. He said the main challenge is to change existing electrical infrastructure to support the expansion of low carbon energy sources like wind and solar. However, according to Ordonez developing countries have a different challenge to face. With a clean slate they can envision a better system by developing an electrical system with sustainable energy sources in mind The development of sustainable resources would be economically feasible for developing countries after research and testing. Ordonez said as part of the program, they will train graduate students and research professionals who will be skillful engineers  capable of tackling challenges associated with sustainable electrical energy. An outreach program will be planned to draw undergraduates from across the globe in different engineering disciplines. They will join a team of researchers investigating sustainable power solutions for developing countries.

Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services announced the provincial government has granted the University of British Columbia more than $27 million for a variety of research infrastructure projects. The grant from the BC Knowledge and Development Fund (BCKDF) will provide the necessary funds needed for new laboratories, facilities and equipment for 40 research projects. The projects range from investigations into childhood diabetes to genome sequencing and cancer treatment.   One of the projects is the Canucks for Kids Fund Childhood Diabetes Laboratories. This project is led by UBC diabetes researcher Bruce Verchere at BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. “The research enabled by this infrastructure will lead to new ways to predict, prevent, and treat diabetes for the many children in this province affected by this devastating disease,” said Verchere. The BCKDF also invests in Strengthening scientific research and fosters talents at post-secondary institutions, research hospitals and affiliated non-profit agencies province wide. “Our government invests tens of millions of dollars in innovation at public post-secondary institutions to build on the growth and diversification of our economy and advance technology. Research at UBC offers students hands-on study opportunities and leads to the jobs and investment that makes our technology sector an important contributor to the provincial economy”,  said Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education. Helen Burt, UBC associate vice-president, research and international said, UBC is appreciative of the support from the provincial government. The funding will enable talented scientists to make discoveries in the fields of health, life sciences, and science and technology. She further added, this investment could bring significant social and economic benefits to British Columbians.