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UBC Starts C$1M Genomics Entrepreneurship Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of British Columbia will use around C$1 million (US$991,000) to fund a pilot program that will help Canadian genomics scientists commercialize their innovations in forestry, natural resources, and the environment.

Genome Canada provided 50 percent of the funding for the Genomics Research Entrepreneurship to Accelerate Translation (GREAT) program, while Genome BC and UBC split the bill for the other half of the funding evenly.

This GREAT project emphasizes natural resources and the environment because these areas are "especially challenging" for researchers looking to commercialize their innovations because the impacts, such as forest health, take longer to be felt, Genome BC said today.

The project activities will include engagement with stakeholders and consultation with policy makers, legislators, land use planners and industry partners. It also will fund internships, mentorships, and student learning exchanges with UBC's Sauder School of Business.

"One of the unique elements of GREAT is that it will create a broad entrepreneurial network that involves a diverse range of stakeholders from multiple sectors and disciplines, many of whom may not have previously thought of their activities as being part of the entrepreneurial process," Angus Livingstone, managing director of UBC's University-Industry Liaison Office, said in a statement.

The funding was awarded through Genome Canada's Entrepreneurship Education in Genomics (EEG) pilot program, which seeks to help genomics researchers add value to their discoveries and to move them toward commercialization by providing a comprehensive framework for entrepreneurship.

Genome Canada President Pierre Meulien said that the EEG program "will help create a network of next-generation researchers with the skills to manage large, complex multidisciplinary science who are also equipped with entrepreneurial, networking, finance and other business skills to speed discovery to application."

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