An investment from the Province of British Columbia will create 355 domestic undergraduate spaces in the new School of Biomedical Engineering, a joint effort between the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Applied Science.
“UBC is the first university in Western Canada to recognize the importance of biomedical engineering with a school of its own,” said Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “By adding undergraduate courses to the school’s existing offerings, we will give some of British Columbia’s most promising students a head start in charting their course in this burgeoning field, on their way to becoming scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs who can find new solutions to health care’s most critical needs.”
The biomedical industry is one of the fastest growing tech sub-sectors in North America and biomedical engineers, who apply engineering and mathematical principles to address major health-care problems, are in growing demand. The School of Biomedical Engineering, created last year, will help address industry needs for qualified professionals in life sciences, biotechnology and digital health technology.
“We are thankful for the province’s support, which will allow us to not only provide students with exciting new educational and work opportunities, but also contribute to the growth and retention of B.C.-based tech companies,” said James Olson, Dean of the UBC Faculty of Applied Science. “As the global market for top technical talent becomes increasingly competitive, the need for a thriving local tech scene becomes ever more imperative. We look forward to helping meet this need.”
The school opened in September with graduate students only. This provincial funding will add undergraduate seats, with 100 students admitted for the 2018-19 academic year. Those students would apply from the first-year engineering program in the Faculty of Applied Science.
UBC will be recruiting eight new faculty members for the school, who will join 20 current UBC faculty members jointly appointed from their current departments. Among the school’s new faculty is its founding director, Peter Zandstra, a specialist in stem cell technology recruited from the University of Toronto.
“The School of Biomedical Engineering will provide the foundation to generate the fundamental knowledge, critical thinking tools and practical skills needed to support growing needs of the life science and medical device industry in British Columbia and Canada,” Dr. Zandstra said. “We would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the Government of British Columbia for its vision, and look forward to seeing the impact of our efforts on the health and welfare of Canadians.”
The new seats form part of an announcement by Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, to add 2,900 tech spaces throughout the province.