The first seven Vancouver-based supercluster projects out of the gate are now officially armed with $40 million to pursue advances in healthcare, natural resources and manufacturing.
The Digital Technology Supercluster (DTS) unveiled on Tuesday (March 5) its initial cohort of collaborations to receive funding from the program backed by industry and government.
While private sector collaborators are committing $25 million to the initial projects, the DTS is putting $15 million into the pot for a total of $40 million in investments spread over three years.
The first seven projects approved are the learning factory digital twin, predictive analytics for manufacturing processes, forest machinery connectivity, Earth data storage, dermatology point-of-care intelligent network, secure health and genomics data platform, and tailored health pharmacogenetics.
Each of the projects features five to nine partners of varying sizes and expertise collaborating on digital products.
Partners include giants like Telus Corporation (TSX:T), Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT), as well as mid-size or smaller firms such Burnaby's D-Wave Systems, Inc., Victoria-based LlamaZoo Interactive and MetaOptima Technology Inc. in Vancouver.
The national supercluster program, which aims to create public-private partnerships in regions with business activity primed for collaboration, has a total commitment of $950 million from the federal government.
Ottawa announced in November it was earmarking $153 million for the DTS to stoke industry and post-secondary collaborations on digital products, platforms and companies.
Telus, Microsoft and the University of B.C. were among the 60 organizations that participated in the initial bid for funding in 2017.
The number of participants has since grown to more than 500.
Participants are required to make their own investments in collaborative projects pitched to the DTS, which then provides co-investments if projects are approved.
A November 2017 executive summary estimated participants could eventually invest $1.4 billion to fund 100 collaborations involving 1,000 organizations over a decade.