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WATCH: Okanagan University to Become Innovation Hub

A significant funding announcement at UBC-Okanagan has allowed the University to establish a new facility that will help develop high tech products.

The Federal Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification made the announcement at UBC-O Tuesday morning.

“I am pleased to announce on behalf of the federal Government $3,800,000 through the western economic diversification fund,” says Minister Michelle Rempel.

The federal funding is on top of the $4,000,000 that the University is also kicking in.

The money has allowed the University to open what’s called a “Survive and Thrive Applied Research Facility” or STAR for short.

The facility that will help develop high tech products to increase safety and survivability for soldiers and first responders like police and fire fighters.

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“Body armor, unmanned vehicles, communications, all of these things have direct applicability to the aerospace and defense sectors,” says Rempel.

The STAR program will allow manufacturers to team up with students who will help them develop the next generation of high tech products.

“The local manufacturer wants to try a new product and so the lab would allow to rapidly produce it and then go try specific testing on how that product works,” says Gordon Binsted, Acting Vice Principal of Research and Innovation at UBC-Okanagan.

The Minister responsible says the STAR program is the first of its kind in Western Canada.

“”It is absolutely thrilling for a young university now to start making this kind of an investment in innovation,” says UBC-Okanagan Vice Chancellor and principal Deborah Buszard.