SFU receives $11.8 million in federal funding for agritech, Surrey-based WearTech Labs – Peace Arch News
Two Simon Fraser University projects are receiving millions of dollars in federal funding, including a lab in Surrey that develops, tests and commercializes wearable health technologies.
Benefiting from $1.8 million from Pacific Economic Development Canada, WearTech Labs is one of SFU’s new flagship facilities. According to the university, its core facilities are “specifically designed to house and provide access to shared infrastructure throughout the SFU community and beyond. These facilities enable university-wide pooling of resources, providing opportunities to acquire world-class equipment.
At WearTech Labs, they work with researchers to develop wearable technology to help improve lives, for example through “improving vital signs alerts for healthy babies in developing countries, increasing business productivity through redesigned and better utilized workspaces, and the creation of locators for firefighters assisting fires in complex indoor environments.
With this funding, WearTech Labs will be able to create a pair of new research labs at the facility.
Max Donelan, a professor at SFU and co-director of science at WearTech Labs, said the new labs will help simulate a “wide range of environmental conditions encountered around the world.”
“This will allow our academic and industrial partners to develop and test wearables that truly work for everyone, no matter how they live their lives.”
SFU says the initiative is expected to create 40 new jobs and increase revenue by $25 million from the investment, adding that global market projections for the wearable technology sector are expected to reach $150 billion by 2026.
SFU Professor Edward Park, the lab’s other scientific co-director, says the timely funding will lead to “new health, fitness, and fashion apparel that supports better-connected and healthier lifestyles, while making advancing the transformation of the wearable technology industry”.
Meanwhile, SFU’s AGtech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS) is receiving $10 million from PacifiCan.
AGIS, according to SFU, is a collaboration between itself and the University of the Fraser Valley and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
“AGIS brings together agri-food producers, technology companies, municipalities, Indigenous communities, non-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions to improve the sustainability and resilience of agriculture in our province,” said the SFU professor Sylvain Moreno, scientific director of AGIS.
With this funding, AGIS is expected to create more than 300 new jobs, bring “at least 20 technologies to market” and generate $13 million in sales growth by 2026.