UVic opens BioInnovation Hub to promote BC’s life sciences sector

UVic's new BioInnovation Hub
UVic's BioInnovation Hub has opened in Saanich Plaza. Photo: Brent Sternig/UVic.

The University of Victoria has opened the BioInnovation Hub in Saanich Plaza, in partnership with Vancouver Island Life Sciences.

It’s described as a collaborative workspace “where entrepreneurs and life sciences organizations can connect with UVic researchers, access equipment and tools, share resources, showcase new technologies, and explore opportunities for collaboration,” according to a media release.

The Hub provides short-term incubator space for early-stage start-ups and hot desk capacity Monday to Friday. Users include private firms and professional-services companies in the life sciences and biotech sector, including PharmaBioSource and the Victoria Hand Project. UVic’s Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technology will also have a presence onsite to help facilitate university-industry connections and access to on-campus resources such as Biomedical Core for equipment, facilities, research talent and technical expertise.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the life sciences community to help accelerate growth in the region and provide a welcoming space for innovators and entrepreneurs to test new ideas,” says Lisa Kalynchuk, UVic’s vice-president of research and innovation. “The goal is to bring UVic expertise and resources into the communities we serve and open up new pathways for collaboration.”

The UVic BioInnovation Hub is part of a series of community-based innovation hubs connected to UVic’s broader Innovation Network, which seeks to raise the university’s profile as a catalyst for regional social and economic development and collaborative, interdisciplinary problem-solving.

The hub expansion builds on the success of the Coast Capital Innovation Centre, a well-known pillar and campus resource for entrepreneurship training and support. Since its launch in 2016, the centre has helped more than 1,300 students from all faculties across campus and supported the launch of over 150 startup companies.

UVic at KWENCH opened in downtown Victoria in February 2022 to support women entrepreneurs and planning for additional locations is underway, including a new hub at the West Shore campus in Langford.

Over the past decade, nearly 400 UVic researchers working in life sciences and medicine have published more than 3,000 papers and been cited over 75,000 times. Over half of these papers were co-authored with researchers in another country, demonstrating the impact of the work on a global scale.