AWS announces cloud innovation centre in Canada
July 11, 2019
Amazon Web Services has announced the CIC cloud innovation centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver to provide students, staff and faculty access to cloud technology to advance projects, along with training on how to employ Amazon’s innovation processes.
The CIC is the first of its kind in Canada, will focus on issues of health and wellbeing, and is officially called the UBC Community Health & Wellbeing CIC, powered by AWS. It will support student teams tackling real-world issues, where the application of novel and emerging technology or computing approaches are essential.
The CIC aims to change the way UBC teams use cloud technology, drive innovation, and improve agility and cost. Located on the university’s Vancouver campus and slated to open officially in early 2020, teams working on projects will also have in-person support from a Vancouver-based AWS team of cloud computing and data experts.
“The UBC Community Health & Wellbeing CIC will give student teams, supported by staff and faculty, the opportunity to use leading cloud technology from AWS to unlock results for challenge projects faster and generate new insights for our community,” said Simon Bates, associate provost at UBC. “The team-based, hands-on approach – coupled with industry expertise – will significantly advance our efforts to support authentic, digital learning experiences for students as well as opportunities for our teams to work with the world’s leading cloud services from AWS.”
Teresa Carlson, vice president of AWS, added: “We’re seeing cloud adoption across every segment in Canada, from non-profits to education and all levels of government. The CIC at UBC further accelerates the digital transformation of the Canadian public sector by providing teams access to next-generation cloud technology from AWS that can be used to solve real-world challenges. Our expertise and experience with machine learning, high-performance computing and data analytics will directly help the UBC community in delivering innovative projects.”
Using Amazon’s innovation methodology, dedicated UBC and AWS CIC staff will work with students, staff and faculty, as well as community, government or not-for-profit organisations to define challenges. The team will engage with subject matter experts, identify ways to tackle the challenges, and to build proofs of concept (PoCs). All of the innovation outputs, including the PoCs, will be published as open source for other community members to access and use.
“For the remainder of the year, we will be working with the UBC community, as well as partners in healthcare, non-profit organisations and government to queue up a selection of challenges to begin working on,” said Bates. “During this time, we will also be securing the location for the CIC on campus, hiring and fleshing out the operations model supported by colleagues in IT and teaching and learning.”
Bruce Ralston, minister of jobs, trade and technology for British Columbia, added: “UBC is a world-recognised leader in research and learning, and this new cloud innovation centre will undoubtedly unlock new ways to solve problems that will make a difference to people and businesses. Cloud computing skills are essential to the workforce, and students at UBC will soon be able to get hands-on training and experience to help support BC’s growing tech sector.”
And Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and economic development, said: “Our government’s recent announcement of Canada’s Digital Charter recognised the importance of partnerships between industry and academia to address digital and data transformation and ensure that Canada continues to be competitive on the global stage. Giving our researchers access to the best tools and methodologies will spur innovation, leading to the creation of better outcomes for Canadian communities. Developing and applying methods to use the wealth of data now available to advance society through research and learning is needed now, more than ever.”
This CIC in Canada joins seven other cloud computing research initiatives funded by AWS worldwide. These are the California Polytechnic University Digital Transformation Hub, Arizona State University Smart City CIC, Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) Digital Transformation Lab, Code University of Applied Sciences Better Future Lab, Sciences Po Public Innovation Lab, Busan City CIC, and the recently launched Swinburne Data for Social Good CIC.