UVic Torch -- Spring 2009
Spring 2009,
Volume 30, Number 1

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By DAVID H. TURPIN
PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR
Photo by UVIC PHOTO SERVICES

THE SHIFTS IN THE WORLD ECONOMY WITNESSED IN RECENT MONTHS have been dramatic, widespread and nearly unprecedented in their scale.

In light of the global economic crisis, it has never been more important for British Columbians to continue to focus resources on education and innovation—a strategic approach that will anchor the province’s economy long into the future.

Such investments are critical.

The University of Victoria and its partners in the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia (the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Northern British Columbia) strongly believe in our province’s ability to succeed in the global economic landscape.

We have been encouraged by recent federal and provincial government initiatives that enhance funding for student spaces, allocate funds for infrastructure development, and create more opportunities for graduate students.

The global scale of the economic crisis has demonstrated the depth of our integration in a world economy, and BC must be able to compete in this increasingly globalized environment.

It has long been recognized that well-educated people are critical to improving competitiveness and quality of life. It was echoed recently in the United States, when President Barack Obama, in announcing the appointment of his secretary of education, stated: “If we want to out-compete the world tomorrow, then we are going to have to out-educate the world today.”

BC’s research universities are key strategic partners for governments, communities and businesses.

Our alumni bring comprehensive skill sets to the workforce. Our researchers are actively moving new knowledge into our communities.

The University of Victoria can be proud of a number of initiatives and entities that demonstrate our leadership in innovation and education:

  • The NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS cabled undersea laboratories, based at UVic, are bringing fibre optics, advanced instrumentation, and the Internet to the study of the ocean processes, climate and marine life.
  • The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, hosted and led by UVic, brings together the strength of BC’s four research universities to develop climate change solutions and strategies.
  • The Vancouver Island Technology Park is the largest university-owned tech park in BC. The technology park creates invaluable synergy among companies and the unique working environment helps them to create high-value job opportunities in our community.
  • Our Innovation and Development Corporation helps to turn ideas into economic activity.

It is our students, however, who play the most significant role in knowledge transfer. Graduate students, working so closely with our faculty, are vital to the research process. Undergraduate students play an essential role in transferring knowledge beyond the university to the business, public and non-profit sectors.

Through our co-operative education programs (in 40 academic areas, offering 2,700 co-op work terms every year) our students are contributing to companies, the public sector and other organizations around the province and around the world.

Through these and many other examples that can be found across BC, strong research universities are contributing to the generation of new knowledge that can make our province more productive and more prosperous in the long run. We have the momentum—let’s keep it going.

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