Kelowna council heard an update on the city’s research collaboration with the University of B.C. Okanagan (UBCO) at their Feb. 14 regular meeting.
In September and October, 2020 representatives from the city and UBCO met during workshops which resulted in a focus on strategic theme areas of waste reduction and management, sustainable urban living, climate resilience, and homelessness. A steering committee formed in January 2021 identified several initiatives including an enhanced mobility corridor between UBCO, Kelowna International Airport, the downtown core, and the Okanagan Rail Trail. Three pilot projects are also underway. Rapid battery charging technology, alternate transportation/Okanagan Rail Trail, and enhancing health and environment performance in aquatic centres.
“As this collaborative relationship between our institutions matures, it is envisaged that the number, scope, and importance of the applied research projects will continue to grow,” said city amanager Doug Gilchrist.
Phil Barker, vice-principal and associate vice-president research and innovation at UBCO, told council the institution is excited to be part of the collaboration.
“The time is now for collaborations between universities and municipalities in a way it never has been before,” said Barker. “We’re complimentary in how we approach these issues and looking forward to reporting back with some concrete progress in 12 months.”
The city’s 2022 provisional budget includes a $100,000 contribution to an ongoing collaborative research grant fund. Pending approval, UBCO will provide a matching contribution, for a total annual fund of $200,000 which will be used to leverage additional funding from other sources.
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