BC invests $25M into new School of Biomedical Engineering Facility

To promote innovative health care and medical advancements for the future, the Government of British Columbia has invested $25 million into the construction of a new building for the School of Biomedical Engineering.

Rendering of the new building

Since 2017, the UBC School of Biomedical Engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 500 students annually. However, the school currently operates classes and labs in 24 buildings scattered across UBC’s Vancouver campus. UBC is building a new purpose-built facility for the school, aided by this $25 million grant from the Government of British Columbia. The province’s investment will result in better health care for all British Columbians.

The project costs $139.4 million, with $25 million from the province and $113.4 million from UBC, and $1 million from Dr. James McEwen. Construction will begin summer 2022, and teaching and learning will begin in the building in early 2025. The new, five-storey facility will have classrooms and learning spaces on the lower floors, with research labs and spaces on the upper floors. The building will consolidate classroom and lab spaces currently hosted in 24 buildings on the Vancouver campus.

“These bright students are shaping the future of health care, here in B.C. and around the world,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “These are the future professionals who will push the boundary of medical innovation and ensure that we have access to life-changing medical advancements. Our government’s investment in this building is an investment in health care for all British Columbians.”

The School of Biomedical Engineering is a joint venture between the Faculty of Applied Science and the Faculty of Medicine — it is UBC’s first inter-faculty school.

“The province’s growing biomedical engineering sector receives a tremendous boost from the B.C. government’s investment into this purpose-built educational and research Centre” said James Olson, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science. “With better space for made-in-BC innovation, we can engineer new and improved stem-cell therapies, vital tools and medical devices, and other groundbreaking new treatments. Doctors will be able to diagnose and treat patients faster, to improve and even save the lives of British Columbians.”

Biomedical engineering combines engineering principles with medical sciences to design, create and evaluate equipment, computer systems, and software used in health care. The work includes designing and building artificial internal organs and body parts such as hip joints; designing computer software to operate complex medical equipment such as 3-D X-ray machines; and developing new drug therapies to solve human sickness and diseases.

“The industry demands more and more professionals from the world-class education offered at UBC” said Peter Zandstra, Director, School of Biomedical Engineering. “Thanks to this new funding, more UBC graduates will lead our biomedical economy in setting the stage for innovations that will transform patient health and health care around the world.”

This development will create a space for students to push boundaries and become contributors to our changing world. Thanks to the investment of both UBC and the Government of British Columbia, a new potential is created for biomedical research and innovation to reach new levels. Learn more about the UBC School of Biomedical Engineering or donate to the project.