Federal, provincial investments set to renew UBC's life sciences teaching labs

A joint federal-provincial funding announcement today includes $44 million to renew and replace facilities at the Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Labs at UBC’s Biological Sciences Complex.

The project consists of renovating the 40-year-old north wing of the building and replacing the 68-year-old centre wing.

The investment is part of $51.5 million in support of new and renewed state-of-the-art learning facilities at the university.

“This once-in-a-generation investment by the Government of Canada is a historic down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

“That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and start-up companies into global successes.”

More than 2,000 students are enrolled in life sciences programs at UBC. The Government of Canada is providing $32.5 million for this project, with an additional $11.8 million coming from the Government of British Columbia. UBC will contribute an additional $35.6 million to the project.

The project consists of renovating the 40-year-old north wing of the building and replacing the 68-year-old centre wing. It will eliminate approximately $51 million in deferred maintenance costs and significantly mitigate seismic risk through structural upgrades. It expands on the first phase of the project, completed in 2011, which saw the redevelopment of the west and south wings. The provincial government contributed $30.9 million to the first phase of the project.

“Here is a wonderful example of our federal and provincial governments working together to make significant improvements to university infrastructure so that UBC can continue to attract leading researchers and provide students with the best possible learning facilities,” says Professor Santa Ono, UBC President and Vice Chancellor, University of British Columbia.

Federal funding will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

As a result of these investments, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities that advance the country’s best research. They will collaborate in specially designed spaces that support lifelong learning and skills training. They will work in close proximity with partners to turn discoveries into products or services. In the process, they will train for—and create—the high-value, middle-class jobs of the future. And their discoveries will plant the seeds for the next generation of innovators.