Thank you, Premier Clark.
Good morning everyone.
I’m delighted to be here today at DarkVision Technologies, a terrific example of a BC-born, innovation-driven company.
The products being developed here may well change the operations of oil and gas companies around the world.
I’m also proud to be standing here with Stephen who just happens to be a UBC alumnus. Thank you, Stephen, for hosting us here today.
Premier Clark, let me begin by saying how truly humbled I am to be asked to be named Chief Advisor of the Innovation Network.
BC is home to incredible innovation-driven individuals, companies, institutions and organizations who are all working to compete at a global level.
Some of you are here today, and there are many, many more across the province.
We are all part of an ecosystem that seeks to compete on the world stage, that strives to be the source of new knowledge, discoveries, and innovative products and techniques.
One that seeks to be a magnet for international talent, and the home of the world’s most exciting and promising new and established companies.
As the premier has mentioned, we are already collectively succeeding.
Our technology sector and broader knowledge-based economy is flourishing, outperforming similar sectors in Canada and North America.
The tech sector is creating high-paying and exciting jobs of the future.
Our life sciences sector is a global leader, boasting more than 300 companies in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, medical technologies, and digital health.
But we want to do more. We must do more and we must do it together.
And so, I am honoured to have been asked by the premier to work with leaders in industry and post-secondary education and research to transform our innovation ecosystem into an innovation network – a network that collaborates, communicates and advocates in ways that support us all.
It is my hope that in working together to establish this network we will find new ways of collaborating and aligning ourselves.
For example, with closer ties, we can work more effectively to promote stronger linkages between the BC companies who depend on the availability of highly talented people, and the colleges, polytechnics, institutes and universities that are responsible for training and educating our students to take on those jobs;
We can work to create seamless, two-way channels between the innovation-driven industries who are trying to push the boundaries in their fields, and the institutions that have the facilities and the expertise to help them make it happen;
And we can identify new ways to align the interests and aspirations of our already established communities of technology leaders and conveners.
These will not be easy tasks to complete, and no one among us can accomplish any of this alone.
During my time as President of the University of Cincinnati, I was fortunate to participate in similar efforts to bridge the efforts of industry, government and post-secondary.
I learned that we can only succeed through collaboration and open lines of communication.
And so, I will approach this new position with a promise to listen and a commitment to do everything in my power to elevate our collective interests.
I want to close by saying, to my post-secondary peers, this appointment, at its core, is a recognition by our provincial government of the essential role our colleges, polytechnics, institutes and universities play in the BC innovation economy.
We are economic growth engines, and it is apparent to me that our government sees this and knows it must support our teaching and research endeavours.
Premier, thank you for that recognition.
I am honoured to accept the appointment as the Chief Advisor of the Innovation Network and look forward to meeting with the province’s innovators and innovation champions as soon as possible.