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New ‘state-of-the-art’ UBC building aims to boost B.C. healthcare, biotech sectors

A UBC biomedical engineering facility will break ground this summer thanks to a provincial grant
UBC is set to start construction on a $139.4 million biomedical engineering facility this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. healthcare sector is set to get a boost as University of BC students will have a state-of-the-art biomedical engineering facility in the next three years.

The province announced Monday (June 13) that construction on the $139.4-million project is expected to start this summer, with the five-storey building opening for students in early 2025. The province will provide $25 million and UBC will cover the remaining $114.4 million, the education ministry said in a news release.

“This world-class facility will be home to state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms and collaborative spaces where students will train for careers in B.C.’s booming biotechnology sector,” said Peter Zandstra, the director of the school of biomedical engineering.

The building will consolidate classrooms, learning spaces and labs that are currently spread over the campus.

Biomedical engineering is a burgeoning field that combines the principles of engineering and medicine to create equipment, computer systems and software used in health care. These new technologies include software to operate medical equipment, develop new drug therapies and build artificial body parts, such as hip joints.

B.C.’s growing tech sector generates an estimated $34.9 billion in revenue and employs more than 131,000 people, the province says.

Zandstra is hopeful the new building can cement UBC as a world leader in the sector.

“With better space for made-in-B.C. innovation, we can engineer new and improved stem-cell therapies, vital tools and medical devices and other groundbreaking new treatments.”

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