University of Victoria

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    While UVic may seem strangely quiet these days, there are pockets of activity on campus... see more


    While UVic may seem strangely quiet these days, there are pockets of activity on campus where researchers are responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Inside an engineering lab that has become the hub of a community effort to protect frontline health workers, stacks of medical-grade face shields are being prepared for delivery to Island Health.

    “We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a worldwide shortage of disposable face masks,” said Stephanie Willerth, who leads the initiative and is director of UVic’s Biomedical Engineering Program. “So being able to use resources and production capacity from within the local community to produce face shields for our healthcare workers is really important.”

    As a top research-intensive university in Canada, UVic knew it could contribute to the COVID-19 response. Although all but essential on-campus research was temporarily suspended on March 26, deans could approve exemptions for research and activities related to COVID-19.

    Projects and research areas that are addressing the COVID-19 crisis include digital technologies, biomedical and biochemistry, genome research, proteomics, nursing, law, mathematics, social sciences, exercise science and 3D printing of supplies. There are approximately two dozen exempted research projects to date with more being proposed.

    “UVic is one of Canada’s leading research universities and our researchers know they can have a vital impact working with our communities, governments, industry and other partners to tackle this global challenge,” said Lisa Kalynchuk, vice-president of research.

    “I am proud of the commitment and innovation of our researchers as we continue to work together finding answers to the complexities of COVID-19.”

    Willerth’s team is almost ready to deliver its first batch of face shields to Island Health—the first of 4,000 that will be provided at no cost to the health authority in the coming weeks.

    The face shield’s components are being produced in an unlikely but impressive network of local businesses, research labs and even homes across the region. The components are then dropped in a bin outside UVic’s Engineering Lab Wing, where Willerth’s team inspects, assembles and packages them.

    "We've been linking with groups that are able to machine components and 3D print from all over the Island. It is definitely an amazing community effort."
    — Stephanie Willerth, Director of UVic's Biomedical Engineering Program

    Coast Capital Savings has donated $10,000 to support the initiative. In addition, numerous organizations and individuals have donated their time, equipment and materials.

    “At a time when there is a need to come together like never before, it is heartwarming to see the ingenuity and creativity such as what we’re seeing from our partners at UVic,” said Maureen Young, director of Community Leadership at Coast Capital Savings. “Coast Capital Savings is humbled to be a small part of helping our frontline health workers as they do the most important work there is at this unprecedented moment in time.”

    The idea for the initiative was hatched in an online health-focused chatroom when local doctors and nurses raised concerns about a shortage of disposable face masks and face shields that provide additional protection. UVic researchers and others began exploring possible solutions, settling on an open-source design that meets Health Canada’s specifications.

    After Island Health approved a prototype that was produced by UVic and community partners, the call went out to local companies and individuals with the ability and capacity to machine or 3D print its components. About 20 3D printers are now working around the clock.

    The transparent shield—which must also be made to exact specifications—is being laser cut by Foreman CNC Machining, a company in Sidney owned by UVic alumnus Chris Foreman. Some of the elasticized straps, which keep the shields in place, have been donated by community partners on Salt Spring Island.

    face shields


    UVic's UV-emitting machine sterilizes the shields and their packaging before they are sent to Island Health. Photo: UVic Photo Services

    Several UVic alumni are involved in the initiative. James Tyrwhitt-Drake is playing a key role on several fronts, including sourcing materials, organizing volunteers and running a “print farm” in his own home made up of eight 3D printers, some of them borrowed from UVic’s Science Venture program.

    “My primary hope is to save lives by supporting the heroic health care providers on the front line of this pandemic. They are putting themselves at risk looking after the people we love, and we are literally making armour for them to fight this virus,” said Tyrwhitt-Drake, who graduated in 2014. He currently works at Bryn Finer Studios, producing 3D topographic maps for Parks Canada visitor centres, and also as an instructor with Science Venture.

    In Willerth’s lab, located in UVic’s Medical Sciences Building, a machine that emits ultra-violet rays is one of the methods being used to sterilize the shields and their packaging before they are sent to Island Health.

    “Island Health has been working with Vancouver Island post-secondary institutions, including the University of Victoria, and other local producers to develop 3D printed and laser cut plastic prototypes for face shields that meet health system standards,” said James Hanson, Vice President, Operations and Support Services, at Island Health.

    “We are grateful for these community efforts and partnerships.”

    Less than a month ago, the UVic UV-emitting machine was being used by students and researchers for entirely different purposes: primarily to grow cells and tissues used in the study and treatment of a range of medical conditions.

    But a lot has change in the past few weeks. Willerth and her colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering and the Coast Capital Innovation Centre hope to hire a larger cohort of co-op students than they usually do during the summer term to work on other COVID-19-related projects.

    Interested in helping?

    The face shield is 3D printed using an open source file created by Prusa Printers. People or businesses in the community who have 3D printers and the required materials (PLA and PETG) can help by printing off components and dropping them in the large container outside the doors of UVic’s Engineering Lab Wing (across from Parking Lot A) or at Phillips Beer Shop, 2010 Government St. (12-7 p.m. daily). Phillips Brewery is also donating 3D printed parts.

    Q&A with James Tyrwhitt-Drake

    James Tyrwhitt-Drake UVic alumnus James Tyrwhitt-Drake manages a “print farm” from his home. Photo: James Tyrwhitt-Drake


    What has your role been in the face shield project?

    I have two roles: organization and manufacturing. I'm working closely with the UVic face shield project and a similar group on Salt Spring Island to create assembly lines for face shields—sourcing materials, testing designs, figuring out sterilization and packaging, and working with volunteers to scale up production of 3D-printed parts. I've also been running a “print farm” in my house, using eight 3D printers to fabricate components for 100 face shields per day. It can be overwhelming, but it is also amazing to see so many people helping however they can.

    What inspired you to get involved?

    Prusa, a Czech 3D printer manufacturer, sent out a mass email to their customers on March 19, describing the 3D-printed face shields they had designed. It seemed like an effective way to use my skills to support health care providers. I connected with my colleagues on Salt Spring to organize an assembly line for face shields, and borrowed 3D printers from Science Venture—my employer at UVic. Through Science Venture, I connected with others at UVic who were also making face shields and we synchronized our efforts.

    When did you graduate and in what?

    I graduated from UVic in 2014 with a BSc in Biology, and my career has been focused on scientific visualization. From 2015 to 2017, I worked at the US National Institutes of Health on a project called the “NIH 3D Print Exchange,” which promotes the application of 3D printing in the biosciences.

    Are you working now?

    I currently work in science visualization with Bryn Finer Studios, producing 3D topographic maps for Parks Canada visitor centres. I also work in education, teaching students through Science Venture. Both my employers have been essential to getting this project going. (UVic’s Science Venture program has been delivering innovative science, technology, engineering and math programs to Vancouver Island youth since 1991.)

    What is your hope for this project?

    My primary hope is to save lives by supporting the heroic health care providers on the front line of this pandemic. They are putting themselves at risk looking after the people we love. We are literally making armour for them to fight this virus. If we can help them, there will be less suffering, fewer lives cut short, and our society will be able emerge from this crisis sooner rather than later.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    This is about being part of the tech community, and it’s cool to showcase all the incredible... see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy
    Photographer: Adrian Lam

    Julie Angus and her husband, Colin, learned a lot about the ocean during the five months it took them to row from Portugal to Costa Rica.

    Quite apart from determining there’s a reason most people don’t tackle the Atlantic Ocean and hurricanes with only humans to power the vessel, the couple realized just how little is known about the world’s oceans.

    The trip sparked an idea that has become their start-up tech firm, Open Ocean Robotics.

    The two year-old company produces solar-powered, autonomous boats equipped with sensors and cameras that can collect information and relay data in real time.

    “There are huge applications for this, 80% of the ocean is unknown, unmapped,” said Julie Angus, who was showing off one of their boats and showcasing the company at the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council’s Discover Tectoria event at Crystal Garden on Thursday.

    “When you spend a lot of time on the ocean, you realize people don’t know how hard it is to see what goes on out there,” she said, adding when she and Colin faced two hurricanes during the crossing they realized there had to be a better way to go out and explore.

    “The automaton solves those issues. It can go out in conditions no crewed vessel can go out in and can stay out for months at a time,” she said, adding it’s also a more cost-effective way of doing research.

    The company, which has eight employees, is doing a pilot project mapping the sea floor for the Canadian Coast Guard and another for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans relaying real-time data on ocean currents, temperature and salinity.

    The need, said Julie Angus, is immense.

    “If we want to protect our oceans and have industry operate in them, we have to embrace technology,” she said.

    Angus said it was important for the young company to be at Discover Tectoria, a showcase of what makes Victoria’s tech industry tick, to both promote itself and the plight of the ocean.

    “This is about being part of the tech community, and it’s cool to showcase all the incredible innovation we have here in Victoria,” she said.

    At the day-long event, thousands of people checked out the latest in research from the University of Victoria, heard speakers talk about the growth of Victoria’s tech industry and how to get careers in the industry, and saw which young companies are preparing to test the marketplace.

    That included new firms along “Start-up Alley” with innovative twists on office furniture, robotics and marine services such as Wisertech Marine Services, which has 10 employees despite being active for only a few months. Wisertech founder Edward Wisernig said the firm has developed marine products from mooring solutions to augmented reality navigation systems.

    On Thursday, he was showing off the company’s solar-energy capture system for boats, which, he believes, is the only sun-tracking device available. He said its 150-watt solar panel will provide the same energy as five 100-watt flat solar panels.

    The system captures energy through photovoltaic solar panels and by using a stainless mirror and a solar collector.

    Unlike flat panels that only get a percentage of the sun during the day, the system can track and capture energy from full sun through the day, he said.

    “It’s designed to reduce the number of solar panels while getting the same amount of energy,” he said, noting 150 watts would power a fridge, electronics and charge a boat’s batteries.

    Jerome Etwaroo, associate director of the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre at UVic, which helps student entrepreneurs takes ideas and concepts to market, said Discover Tectoria is circled on their calendar every year.

    “It’s great, it brings the community together and showcases some of the great things that are happening,” he said.

    For start-up firms, it’s a chance to build connections and get feedback before going to market. “What better place to get candid feedback than this?” Etwaroo said.

    Industry veterans also see the value in the event.

    “It makes you aware of everything going on in the city,” said Scott Dewis, chief vision officer at Race Rocks 3-D. “Most tech companies don’t sell to Victoria, they sell to the world, so to get them together and see what they are actually doing is pretty neat.”

    Dewis said his company was on the trade show floor because it is always looking for talent.

    Race Rocks hired 18 people last year and expects to grow this year.

    “The trouble is finding people who are available,” he said. “There’s now so many tech firms and every one is growing.”

    The Victoria tech sector, which generates about $4 billion in annual revenue from [955] companies, employs about 20,000 people.

  • Sadie Evans posted an article
    UVic recognized as best Canadian comprehensive university see more


    VICTORIA, BC (December 6, 2019) - Graduates from the University of Victoria are among the world’s most employable, according to a prestigious international ranking by Times Higher Education. 

    THE’s 2019 Global University Employability Ranking report identifies UVic as the best Canadian comprehensive university, and one of only nine Canadian universities overall, in preparing its students for the workplace, based on feedback from top international companies. 

    UVic prioritizes dynamic, hands-on learning as a core focus of its student experience, with research-enriched experiential programming that includes co-operative education (co-op) work terms, practica, internships, field schools, international exchanges, community service learning, research opportunities and more. 

    Seventy-five percent of UVic co-op graduates receive an offer of employment before they graduate, often returning to work for a former co-op employer in a full-time role. 

    “Students tell us that the hands-on work experience they gain at UVic is transformative,” says Andrea Giles, acting executive director of UVic’s Co-operative Education Program and Career Services. “They apply what they’re learning in class to solve real-world challenges, and in doing so, they develop confidence, connect with passionate professionals, and discover how they can positively impact the world around them.” 

    Student participation in co-operative education at UVic is on the rise, with 43 percent of eligible students taking part. Co-op integrates paid work experience with employers into students’ academic schedule. Last year, UVic co-op students completed 4,288 co-op terms with 1,350 different employer organizations around the globe, including 325 international work terms. Co-op is built right into programs for students in the faculties of engineering and business and available as an option for students in most other areas of study across the university. 

    Google, Tesla, the Canadian Space Agency, Global Affairs Canada and Western Digital Thailand are among the diverse employers who hired UVic students for co-op terms in 2019. Google and Tesla also regularly hire UVic graduates—currently, Google employs more than 50 UVic graduates, while Tesla has hired close to 20. 

    Here in BC, employers range from local small businesses to large-scale organizations. Companies such as AbeBooks turn to UVic to recruit new talent. Since 2011, the online book marketplace, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, has hired 84 UVic co-op students studying everything from software engineering and computer science to economics and global business. Amazon is likewise a long-time employer. 

    “AbeBooks has supported UVic’s co-op program for many years, integrating students into our technology and business teams,” says Arkady Vitrouk, chief executive officer of AbeBooks. “We take around 10 UVic co-ops each year and we are always impressed by their knowledge, skills and creativity. With around a dozen UVic alumni currently employed at AbeBooks, we appreciate having this institution on our doorstep.

    View a brief video on UVic and the ranking’s results.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    An all-Canadian research team led by a University of Victoria neuroscientist, to be in simulation. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Roxanne Egan-Elliott

    An all-Canadian research team led by a University of Victoria neuroscientist is spending a week in a simulated Mars habitat in Hawaii in hopes of solving a problem for NASA.

    The researchers are testing technology that they believe could become a reliable way to measure an astronaut’s brain function during space missions.

    Beyond just asking astronauts how they’re doing, NASA doesn’t have a way to determine if people on long missions are feeling depressed, stressed, cognitively impaired or mentally tired, said Olav Krigolson, a neuroscientist and associate director of UVic’s Centre for Biomedical Research, who is co-leading the mission. Krigolson and the team of scientists are hoping to change that.

    “This is an objective way to peer inside someone’s brain,” Krigolson said of the technology they’re testing.

    The team of six scientists from UVic, the University of British Columbia Okanagan, the University of Calgary and the University of Hawaii will wear headbands that monitor changes in their memory, decision-making, learning, attention and perception.

    “If we see changes in the scores, that might tell us that someone’s getting mentally tired or they’re getting depressed or they’re getting stressed,” Krigolson said.

    Being able to assess an astronaut’s brain health would mean being able to make adjustments to avoid dangerous burnout on long space missions.

    The headband the team is using is commercially available, but Krigolson figured out that the technology could be used to measure brain health. He developed an algorithm that he has used to track concussions, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    He has already taken the technology to the emergency room at Royal Jubilee Hospital to test fatigue in doctors and nurses, and to a mine in northern B.C. for similar tests.

    The team entered the Mars simulation habitat on Dec. 1 after a couple of training days to learn how the habitat works, prepare for potential emergency situations and practise walking in a space suit.

    The dome where six people will spend the week is about 12 metres in diameter, Krigolson estimated, and built to NASA standards. It’s located in a volcanic field in a remote part of Hawaii’s Big Island.

    The dome has a kitchen, where they’ll prepare freeze-dried meals, an exercise area where they will do daily, hour-long workouts — as astronauts on Mars would have to do to maintain muscle tone — work stations for research, a bathroom and six small sleeping compartments on an upper level.

    To make the simulation realistic, life inside the dome has strict rules. Each team member is limited to eight minutes of shower water for the week — despite the fact that they’re exercising daily and wearing heavy space suits when they leave the habitat to explore.

    Krigolson is providing daily updates on the mission online, and on Thursday, he said he was more convinced than ever that the technology will prove useful for space exploration.

    The team had a surprise evacuation drill on day four that saw all six don space suits and squeeze into a cave formed by hardened lava.

    “One of our iPads had a copy of Star Wars on it, so there we were … our research crew, in a lava tube cave, watching Star Wars, in space suits. Now that, I believe, is a fairly unique experience,” Krigolson wrote on his blog.

    If the exercise is successful, Krigolson is hoping to put the technology to the test in a longer simulation. “Say for six months or a year,” he said. “And if that works, hopefully it’ll go into space, either as part of the Mars mission or at the International Space Station.”

    The team is set to come out of the simulation on Sunday.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A huge boost for the project that will change people’s lives while enhancing learning for students see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy
    Photograph by: Darren Stone

    A $1-million injection of funding will allow the UVic-based Victoria Hand Project, which manufactures low-cost prosthetics for the developing world, to expand and develop a new low-cost project for communities in North America.

    The project, which has been using 3-D printers to manufacture low-cost prosthetic hands since 2015, has received a large grant from the TD Ready Challenge.

    The money will allow Victoria Hand Project to develop custom-fit, low-cost scoliosis braces and low-cost prosthetics for amputees in underserved communities in Canada and the U.S.

    It’s a huge boost for the project that will change people’s lives while enhancing learning for students at the University of Victoria, said Nick Dechev, executive director of the project and acting chair of the university’s department of mechanical engineering.

    “Our mission is to help the most under-served people in North America and remote communities,” he said.

    The money comes from the TD Ready Challenge, an annual North American initiative that offers $1 million in grants to fund innovative solutions for problem sectors.

    This year’s challenge offered as many as 10 $1-million grants to help improve access to early detection and intervention for diseases.

    The funding will go a long way to expand the scoliosis-brace project Dechev and his team started working on in 2016. Dechev said they saw an opportunity to manufacture braces to help correct curvature of the spine, using the same 3-D printing process they use for prosthetic limbs.

    “About three per cent of kids anywhere in the world have scoliosis, and of those, 10 per cent need bracing. That means three per 1,000 kids in Canada and the U.S. have backs that are crooked to the extent they need corrective braces,” he said, noting the cost of bracing is not covered in Canada.

    “And in the U.S., it’s worse, unless you’re insured.”

    The cost of a brace can be up to $5,000, while the 3-D printed version can be made for about $150 in materials, though it would have a retail cost of about $1,000.

    Chief operating officer Michael Peirone said the grant money will cover setting up seven print centres across North America and the initial printing of 200 prosthetic hands and 160 scoliosis braces.

    “Once these print centres are set up, they can continue to print braces beyond the funding of the grant,” he said.

    The funding will also allow them to print custom-fitted prosthetic limbs for underserved people in North America. The cost of a 3-D printed limb is about $100, compared to non 3-D limbs that can range from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on their customization and the material used.

    Dechev said students stand to win with the new funding. “It means a lot of learning opportunities,” he said, noting teams of students and designers have devoted well over 12,000 hours to honing the design of the prosthetic limbs alone. “This means we can engage with a lot more students and it gets them some real-life experience.”

    Over the last two years, the Victoria Hand Project has manufactured 130 prosthetic limbs for people around the world. They now have partners in seven countries, including Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador, Egypt, Cambodia, Uganda and Nepal.

    The project, funded by UVic with a series of grants — they won a $250,000 Impact Challenge grant from Google in 2017, for example — sets teams up in each of the countries with the technology to scan, print and fit people with prosthetics.

    “Cost is everything to us — the cheaper you can make it, the wider the reach,” said Dechev, adding that in many of these countries, $20 is hard for most people to come up with, let alone $300 — the retail price of a 3-D printed prosthetic. “This is a charity … the reality is the people we are serving have next to nothing.”

    Peirone said seeing the final result — someone who has been without a hand actually getting to use one for the first time — is hard to describe.

    “When you go to some of these countries, when you work with some of these people and see how their lives are changed and how happy they are, it’s very rewarding,” he said.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Ocean Networks Canada part of 'Our Oceans: Our Future' film that launches today in London. see more

    Launching today with ITN Productions, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, Ocean Networks Canada and the City of Glasgow College is the new film  'Our Oceans: Our Future'.  Training the next generation of maritime professionals to deal with the challenges of industry is crucial and as part of the film, the college showcases how its 50 year world-class heritage in maritime education and training is equipping students with essential skills to navigate their careers. 

    View the film

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    UVic will soon be home to a national Canadian Indigenous law centre thanks to the support of $9.1M see more

    Source: VictoriaBuzz
    Author: Adam Chan

    UVic will soon be home to a national Canadian Indigenous law centre thanks to the support of a $9.1 million investment from the federal government.

    The new centre is being designed to be an accessible space for cultural engagement and discussion and will be the first institution to offer a joint degree program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders (JD/JID) in Canada.

    The facility will also be the first to feature an Indigenous Law Research Unit, and is intended to revitalize indigenous legal systems and the significant roles that they play in both Indigenous communities and the country as a whole.

    “Our government’s investment in the University of Victoria will create local jobs, and significant Indigenous input will go into the design and construction of the national centre for Indigenous law,” said federal Minister of Innovation, Science. and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, in a statement.

    “The building will use innovative technology to teach and connect at a national and international level regarding Indigenous law.”

    Besides the $9.1 million contribution to construct the centre, the Department of Justice Canada will also be investing $173,300 over three years to UVic’s Faculty of Law to help fund courses and field studies in Indigenous communities.

    “Canada is firmly committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to ensure Indigenous peoples and knowledge are included and respected as we build a stronger Canada,” said federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett in a statement.

    “The national centre for Indigenous law will create a space for conducting the research and providing the teaching necessary to ensure Indigenous laws will guide the paths of self-determination and reconciliation.”

  • Article
    RRU is looking for a consultant to map out a plan for a new post-secondary school. see more

    Source: Times Colonist 
    Author: Carla Wilson

    On the Street: Royal Roads University charts expansion

    Royal Roads University is looking for a consultant to map out a plan for a new post-secondary school campus on the fast-growing West Shore.

    The comprehensive plan is to be ready by August. A request for proposals was issued this week and closes June 18.

    Last year, the province provided $250,000 for Royal Roads to lead a study, with partners UVic, Camosun College and the Sooke School District, into a new campus in the West Shore.

    A feasibility study into the concept led to $1.5 million from province for a full business case to be developed.

    Concerns driving the investigation into building a new campus include the lengthy commute for West Shore students to post-secondary schools, the lower than average number of West Shore students moving on to post-secondary school and the rising demand as the population expands in that region.

    The idea is to set up a new campus focused on under-graduate programs, with space for collaborative learning.

    The new plan will include designing a curriculum, determining how much space will be needed, site selection and design, infrastructure needs such as parking, estimating student numbers, financial analysis and timelines. The new university could be a collaboration between Royal Roads, UVic and Camosun, Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said in April.

    UVic’s Kidovate entrepreneurs in Bay Centre

    Participants in a new UVic entrepreneurship program for young people aged 12 to 18 will be showcasing and selling products on Saturday they have created.

    The Kidovate program was created by UVic’s Gustavson School of Business. Its first market will be from 10 3 p.m. at The Bay Centre’s centre court.

    A total of 26 young people will sell products, including crocheted and yarn creations, hand-made soap and bath bombs, felt friends, socks, poetry, water-colour paintings, pet food, greeting cards, silver jewelry, paper straws, plants and garden sticks.

    Participants received a graphic novel workbook and access to UVic student mentors. Kidovate offers a learning guide for educators that is tied to the new B.C. curriculum.

    Brock Smith, entrepreneurship area champion at UVic, said Kidovate is an opportunity for youth across the region to develop entrepreneurship and business skills. “These youth have worked hard to create valuable products and I hope customers will reward them for their efforts by coming to the Bay Centre and making purchases.”

  • Armon Arani posted an article
    UVic’s School of Business has launched a new youth entrepreneurship experience called Kidovate. see more

    Source: Peter B. Gustavson, School of Business

    Kidovate Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative Launched

    UVic’s Gustavson School of Business has launched a new youth entrepreneurship experience called Kidovate. Kidovate aims to develop entrepreneurial skill and spirit among middle school and high school youth by encouraging them to make and sell goods or services at a Kidovate marketplace Saturday May 25th. There is no cost to participate in Kidovate.


    Kidovate assists by providing a graphic novel workbook to help youth think through key business decisions, by providing access to UVic student mentors, and by providing access to customers, as Kidovate markets will be hosted by local malls. 


    For further details, and to register as a youth, educator, or parent, visit

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    UVic Course starts up this April see more

    So, you want to make a video game?

    UVic Course starts up this April

    Feeling creative? How about making a video game? Video games are a convergence of so many creative components: art, music, environmental design, character development, animation, narrative, and yes, even code. Making a video game can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. Join our two experienced and passionate instructors who will guide you through the art and science of making your very first game.



    Software and Hardware Requirements 

    • Students must bring their own laptop (PC or Mac) and power cable.
    • Students should download the following software to their laptops prior to the first class:
      - Unity3D game engine with Visual Studio (available as a free download

    Instructors: David Ehret and Dylan Gedig
    Date: Saturdays, April 6 to May 11
    Time: 2 to 4:30 pm
    Fee: $225 plus $11.25 GST
    Code: TECC019 2019S C01

    Register today!


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Digital technology chief executive named UVic’s distinguished entrepreneur see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Sue Paish, chief executive of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, has been named this year’s University of Victoria Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.

    Paish, who holds a bachelor of commerce and law degree from University of B.C., leads an organization which intends to establish the country as a global leader in digital technology by bringing together companies, post-secondary institutions, research organizations and non-profit groups.

    “Sue is a true inspiration, always working toward making the world better, whether it is through technological advancement, innovations in healthcare, or law,” said Peter Gustavson, chair of the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year award committee.

    Paish becomes the third University of B.C. grad to step into the honour after 2007 recipient David Black, founder of Black Press, and 2013 recipient Brandt Louie, chair of H.Y. Louie Co.

    Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is one of five business-led innovation superclusters, which facilitate and fund collaborative technology leadership projects that develop products and platforms. It is hoped projects approved and supported through the organization will foster economic growth across Canada by delivering jobs, increased GDP and advancing the country’s competitiveness.

    In addition to the supercluster, Paish led transformative change in her previous position as chief executive of LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services, where she grew the company to be the nation’s leader in diagnostic services.

    Prior to that, in her role as chief executive of Pharmasave Drugs, she implemented new dispensary management technology that has become the Canadian standard. “Sue’s ability to lead companies and people through technological transformations with great success is a quality we’re excited to celebrate,” said Saul Klein, dean of the business school. “Our students and business leaders will learn from her exceptional leadership, teamwork and innovation skills.”

    Paish, who is an appointee to Queen’s Counsel in B.C. and named by the Women’s Executive Network to its Hall of Fame of Canada’s Top 100 Most Influential Women, will receive her award May 22 during the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Gala at the Victoria Conference Centre.

    Last year, the award was given to UVic philosophy graduate Stewart Butterfield, a high-tech whiz kid who taught himself computer code at an early age and went on to create communication companies worth billions.

    Paish joins a group that also includes Sir Terrance Matthews of Mitel Corp.; JR Shaw, founder of Shaw Communications; Clive Beddoe, founder of WestJet; and Alex Campbell, co-founder of Thrifty Foods.

    The Gustavson School celebrates entrepreneurial excellence with its Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. Each year, it recognizes an inspirational entrepreneur who has had a significant impact on the global community through business leadership.

    Previous winners

    2018: Stewart Butterfield, Slack

    2017: Don Mattrick, Microsoft

    2016: Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar Corp.

    2015: David Foster, music producer

    2014: Dennis Washington, industrialist

    2013: Brandt C. Louie, London Drugs

    2012: Dennis (Chip) Wilson, Lululemon

    2011: JR Shaw, Shaw Communications

    2010: Alex Campbell Sr., Thrifty Foods

    2009: Sir Terence Matthews, Mitel Corp.

    2008: Clive Beddoe,WestJet

    2007: David Black, Black Press

    2006: Gwyn Morgan, Encana

    2005: Dave Ritchie, Ritchie Bros.

    2004: Jeff Mallett, Yahoo!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The program hopes to address a gap in the industry with a novel approach for students. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Spencer Harwood / The Canadian Press

    UVic program preps students for tech world

    A technology education program launching at the University of Victoria hopes to address a gap in the industry with a novel approach for students.

    HighTechU is a pilot program developed through the university’s computer science department in partnership with Victoria’s technology and education sectors. It aims to develop skills in enterprising Vancouver Island teens to make them more effective in the tech industry, beyond the primary coding and technical abilities needed.

    Andrew MacLean said he and program co-founder Ulrike Stege wanted to prepare students for the reality of the industry ahead of them, while making diversity a cornerstone of the program.

    “It really focuses on the soft skills that go along with that career, and really focuses on workplace competencies for these students,” MacLean said.

    “They get a sneak peek and to test drive a technology industry career before they even graduate from high school.”

    HighTechU has two separate programs — the Computer Science Skills Academy, a six-week program that teaches coding and practical skills, and a summer industry internship program to give those students an eight-week, paid experience with a technology company in Greater Victoria.

    MacLean said students enrolled in HighTechU are taught “soft skills” such as project management and personal communication to help them understand the breadth of roles in the tech sector.

    Stege said there appears to be a perception of what working in the tech sector is like, which she said is not necessarily in line with reality. “It’s never been right and might still not be right. A program like ours will hopefully help to correct that,” she said.

    MacLean said their mission is to impart to students how critical personal development is to a successful career in technology and that it’s as important as mastering the latest code language.

    “It’s about how to be someone who’s not just building something, but someone who’s developing something and truly bringing it from start to finish,” said MacLean.

    MacLean said HighTechU is a grassroots initiative that de-emphasizes students’ socio-economic backgrounds while it looks to narrow the diversity gap in the technology sector. They do this by focusing on groups that are underrepresented in the industry, such as women, Indigenous youth and people of colour.

    “We have six core competencies we were looking for in students,” he said.

    Those values of respect, resilience, teamwork, creativity, curiosity and innovation were specifically asked for by the industry partners who worked with MacLean and Stege through each step of their students’ application process, he noted.

    MacLean said when they pitched the project initially it started out being a coding-primary program, until conversations with several industry partners revealed a different need.

    They told MacLean they did not care as much about the technical skills as having balanced, flexible students. “They said ‘we’re looking for you to find those students that are self-motivated, passionate,”’ said MacLean, “their ‘big words’ were curious and passionate about technology, willing to learn and do the work and put in the time to be able to adapt to the changing situations [of the industry].”

    MacLean likened their approach to the old truism of the fisherman. “If you teach one programming language, that’s great for the year that language is really popular. But then when the new programming language comes out, those students need to be able to learn on their own.”

    MacLean said they worked with three school districts and several private schools in Greater Victoria to develop curriculum for the program. “A lot of the students that come through have done the computer science programs and are exceptional students before they come to us,” he said.

    One of those students from an earlier pilot program, Bridget Weston, finished high school at Victoria High in June and is already working as an intern at Victoria tech firm Sendwithus. Weston will attend UVic’s software engineering program when classes resume.

    MacLean said the demand from industry partners is so high that almost every teacher in the area would need additional training to continue educating in the field. “Schools think about it one way and we’re able to provide additional challenges that aren’t always possible in school,” said Stege.

    The program is delivered at no cost to students beyond nominal registration fees and MacLean said the next group of students will be welcomed to HighTechU’s Academy program in February.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The school has once again cracked the Financial Times Top 100 list of masters in management programs see more

    Source: Times Colonist

    UVic business program improves global ranking

    The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria has again cracked the Financial Times Top 100 list of masters in management programs. Gustavson School’s Masters of Global Business program is offered through the Sardul S. Gill Graduate School and has moved this year to an overall ranking of 69 from 71 in 2017. It is now ranked 12th in international mobility and 21st in the international course experience category. It remains one of only three Canadian universities to be listed in the global ranking.

    University of B.C.’s Sauder School was ranked 49, an improvement from 58 last year, while Queens slipped to 53 from 46. “Being named to FT’s top masters in management list two years in a row, and moving up in the ranking, is a great achievement and a testament to the strength of our programs,” said Gustavson dean Saul Klein. “Developing a global mindset helps our graduates better understand the world’s complex business challenges, and provides them with the courage and confidence to succeed wherever they build their careers.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Simon is now headed off to Palo Alto for a co-op term at Tesla in September! see more

    Source: CTV News Vancouver Island

    UVic student lands internship with Tesla

    Simon Park, a Mechanical Engineering and Business School student at UVic (And one of the recent winners of the "PitchIT" competition run by the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre), was featured on CTV News on August 14th sharing the newest version of his technology Caboost (He was also featured back in March). 

    Caboost is a new way to give cyclists a boost when it comes to grueling climbs up hills. It's a small trailer-mounted electrically motorized wheel that attaches to the back of a bike, to give the rider an on-demand boost.

    Simon is now headed off to Palo Alto for a co-op term at Tesla in September! Watch the news feature below:

  • VIATEC posted an article
    Submissions for challenges are now open for Victoria's first ever Health Hackathon see more

    The Victoria Health Hackathon – Call for Challenges!


    The first ever health and regenerative medicine themed Hackathon will take place in Victoria September 28-30, 2018. Health Hackathons are focused events that bring together interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative solutions to front-line healthcare problems. This event is being held with support from the Centre of Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria, the B.C. Regenerative Medicine Initiative, Starfish Medical, and Island Health.

    Call for Challenges: The Hackathon’s organizers are seeking a diverse array of health related challenges that can be addressed by groups of hackers in a one month time period as part of our Hackathon! These challenges can be addressed through a variety of engineering disciplines, including biomedical, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering. See below for the event timeline. Preference will be given to projects with strong in-kind support through either mentorship or donation of supplies or resources. The challenges should be no longer than 750 words in length.

    Please email Stephanie Willerth ( with your potential challenges for consideration with subject line “Health Hackathon Challenge” and you will be notified by mid-August if yours has been selected for the competition. Those wishing to serve as judges or mentors are invited to provide their interest via email as well.

    Deadline for submissions: July 31st, 2018.

    Dates / Format:

    Summer: Hackers, mentors, and judges will be recruited to participate

    September 7: Kick-off, to be held at the University of Victoria, where the challenges will be presented to the hackers, enabling them to create teams. The teams will have until the hacking weekend to think about their approach to challenges. During this period, we will have a team of mentors who will answer questions about the challenges during that time.

    September 28-30: The Hackathon itself will take place at Fort Tectoria, with the solutions being judged on Sunday, and an awards ceremony to follow.

    November 2: A status update on the hacks has been tentatively scheduled during the University of Victoria’s Biomedical Engineering Day on November 2nd, 2018.

    Register: Registration for the Hackathon will open in July


    Still puzzled about what a Hackathon is?  Check out the following links to similar events for inspiration!

    Questions can be directed to Stephanie Willerth (