Digital Technology Supercluster first to announce projects

Today, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the first projects being undertaken by the BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster.

“The Digital Technology Supercluster is kicking into high gear.”

The announcement revealed seven projects in total, which are being touted as “designed to unlock the power of data.” The goal of these projects is to improve service, delivery, and efficiency in natural resources, precision health, and industrial sectors.

“The Digital Technology Supercluster is kicking into high gear, launching seven inaugural projects that will unlock the potential of data to push Canadian businesses over the top, preserve our forests, and even save Canadian lives,” said Bains. “These seven projects are a big step forward in advancing data and digital technologies, with positive impacts reverberating across our country, including the creation of good middle-class jobs.”

The BC consortium is the first of the five Superclusters, part of the Innovation Supercluster Initiative, to publicly announce the launch of projects since the government awarded the organizations funding near the end of last year. The Digital Technology Supercluster received $153 million of the overall $950 million allotted for the initiative.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the launch of our first cohort of seven technology leadership projects. We are proud to be delivering on the promise of the Innovation Superclusters Initiative so early in our mandate,” Sue Paish the CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster said.

The Supercluster previosuly has said it plans to invest more than $1.4 billion, over a ten-year period, to fund more than 100 projects involving more than 1,000 organizations across Canada

“It’s rewarding to see the first projects launch within Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster initiative.”

The first seven projects includes, Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network led by Change Healthcare, with collaboration from MetaOptima Technology, a Vancouver-based digital health company, and other SMEs, large businesses and health organizations. The project is using tele-imaging and AI to reduce wait times for skin cancer patients. The project apparently has the potential to reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes in the health care system, and involves Telus Health, Careteam Technologies, University of Victoria, Providence Health Care, and BC Cancer.

The other six projects include: Tailored Health Pharmacogenomics, Forest Machinery Connectivity, Predictive Analytics in Manufacturing, Learning Factory Digital Twin, Earth Data Store, Secure Health Genomics Platform

According to the Supercluster, each project brings together a large range of partners across industries, from startups, to tech leaders. Each project is industry-led, and includes five to nine partners working to address the above stated challenges.

Close to $15 million of government funding will be invested in the first group of projects, with more than $25 million coming from industry, research, and academic partners.

RELATED: Navdeep Bains says not-for-profit model will keep superclusters accountable

The $153 million government investment enabled the Supercluster to secure additional commitments of over $200 million from its initial cohort of 29 members, which represent 33 organizations. The Supercluster’s members represent a broad spectrum of organizations across sectors including 14 SMEs, 13 large companies, and six post-secondary institutions, including Telus, Microsoft, University of British Columbia, and D-Wave.

“It’s rewarding to see the first projects launch within Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster initiative,” said Edoardo De Martin, General Manager for Microsoft Vancouver. Microsoft is involved in at least four of the five superclusters including Protein, Advanced Manufacturing, and the Ocean Supercluster.

The company will be working on the Earth Data Store project, which is looking to “create a new ecosystem for Canadian research and commerce, empowering members with an innovative cloud-based, distributed data archive and application platform to create geospatially derived analytics products that are focused on customer verticals.”

Today’s announcement revealed the first projects to come out of the Innovation Supercluster Initiative, but did not specify whether any of the projects have actually begun.

Image courtesy Digital Technology Supercluster

Updated: this story has been updated to reflect that Change Healthcare is leading the Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network with support form MetaOptima Technology.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.