February 14, 2018 1:45 am

B.C.-based team makes final round in Canada-wide technology competition

The founding members of Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster.

Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster

A group of over 200 companies and organizations that was born in B.C. hopes for a big boost in funds after they made it on to the shortlist for federal money to help drive innovation and grow the economy.

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is a group that includes brands such as Telus, Microsoft, Teck, Shoppers Drug Mart and Canfor.

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A few months ago, the group submitted a final application to the Innovation Supercluster Initiative, a federal program that plans to invest up to $950 million between 2017 and 2022, in support of areas of the economy that can spark growth and innovation.

The federal government describes “clusters” as “dense area[s] of business activity containing a critical mass of large and small companies, post-secondary and other research institutions. They energize the economy and act as engines of growth.”

Meanwhile, “superclusters” are “innovation hotbeds” that have “stronger connections, a long-term competitive advantage, global brand recognition, and an outsized positive impact on job creation and economic growth.”

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is one of the latter. And it has organized itself as a group that focuses on data, and technology such as virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR).

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Three teams from B.C. applied for consideration as part of the Innovation Supercluster Initiative, but only one of them secured a place on the shortlist, which includes nine competitors.

On Thursday, the federal government will choose between three and five teams as recipients of the funds.

They’ll share the $950 million.

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Bill Tam, co-chair of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, said that in addition to focusing on reality technology, they also want to work on a number of projects, including one that looks at how data can be used to foster advanced cnacer treatments that are personalized to a patient’s genetic makeup.

The aim of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is to “position Canada as a global leader using big data to advance economic opportunities and address the biggest productivity, health and sustainability challenges facing Canadians and the world today,” according to the organization’s website.

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