The grass is getting greener

Foresight receives $80,000 in funding from KPU.

Scott McLelland / The Runner

Scott McLelland / The Runner

By Tristan Johnston
[staff writer]

Earlier this month, Kwantlen Polytechnic University contributed $80,000 to Foresight, which will “fuel clean technology innovation in Surrey,” according to a press release.

Over three years, KPU’s funding will help the company as it works with B.C. start-ups. Cleantech focuses on maximizing productivity while minimizing energy consumption and waste.

Jessica Lar-Son, on behalf of Sustainable KSA, says that, “Clean technology will be an important part of our future, and if KPU can have a role and be the main institution for that within the city of Surrey, then that’s going to open so many doors, for the institution, students, student association, the communities — the opportunities are endless.”

According to Arthur Fallick, the associate vice president of research at KPU, this investment does a lot for everyone.

“I have just completed a five-year plan for research and scholarship for KPU, and the clean tech piece is part of a larger set of strategies on where we’re going,” he says.

He adds that KPU is doing a lot for sustainable agriculture, especially in its programs. Horticulture already has a lot of programs in the field, and now it is expanding to the faculty of arts and health, and the schools of business and design.

“[The investment] demonstrates that we are responsive to the demands of our community’s interests,” says Fallick. “We’re not just making things up, and we’re not having our students doing things that aren’t real and relevant. Our reputation will grow because because we’re responding to what industry and community are saying they want. We’re producing the next generation of workers that the field is looking for.”

“Most of the energy stuff in clean technology is already being done by UBC, Simon Fraser, University of Northern BC, BCIT, and places like that,” he says. “And the focus for Kwantlen, I hope, is going to be more around clean air, clean water, and the waste management side of things.”

Foresight received money from the B.C. Innovation Council, and they are meant to bring the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre to Surrey, which will attract companies, CEOs, and the next generation of workers looking to be involved with clean tech.

“They want to run them thought this accelerator program so they can get the best insights into these kinds of tools, what kind of thinking, what kind of problem solving, and what you need to know, what you need to be able to do, if you want to be a company that’s in the leading edge of clean tech,” says Fallick. “In our case, they’re very interested in getting students who are interested in getting jobs after graduation in the clean tech sector.”

“That’s why KPU is so interested in this relationship with Foresight and the City of Surrey.”

Fallick has also spoken to people at KPU about the possibility of co-ops and paid internships with Foresight.

“It’s an educational, not just a financial investment.”

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