Digging Deep: Adaptation, Net-Zero and Partner Alignment | June 2022
By: Stephanie Killam, Chair of the Board and Gavin C. Dirom, President and CEO
This Digging Deep blog is an adaptation of the Chair and CEO Message in Geoscience BC’s Annual Report 2021-2022, which was published in May 2022. The Annual Report 2021-22 is available online or in limited print quantities upon request.
Geoscience BC is adapting and will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic prepared to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. Commitments to a lower carbon economy are manifesting in increased demand for critical minerals and metals, for cleaner energy and for developing geological carbon capture and storage. All of these require new public geoscience that can be accessed and used by industry, governments, academia, communities and Indigenous groups to make evidence-based decisions.
During the reporting period (April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022) for our Annual Report 2021-2022, Geoscience BC completed eight research projects, had 25 ongoing projects and started three new projects, for a total of 36 projects during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
A collaboration agreement with the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and a memorandum of understanding with the Geological Survey of Canada serve as examples of our work to develop new relationships and deepen collaboration with our partners.
These new agreements are just a small part of our exciting and necessary transformation, which includes diversifying funding sources. Geoscience BC received $5 million in funding from the Province of British Columbia in 2019 and continues to seek additional funding to enable future research. Targeted, but limited, provincial funding was secured in 2021 – 2022 for projects such as the Traditional Knowledge and Scientific Data Education, Comparison and Collaboration in Northeast BC Surface Water Use project, which is part of the Pilot Collaborative Water Monitoring Program, Northeast BC, and the forthcoming Northeast BC Geological Carbon Capture and Storage Atlas project. This is a partnership between Geoscience BC, provincial government and the new BC Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy.
Our research projects and direction have strong alignment with industry and government priorities, and we believe we have the structure and track record to leverage resources and deliver vital research quickly, efficiently and effectively. With that in mind, we have worked to build our profile within the federal government and submitted a funding request to the 2022-2023 budget consultation process with the goal of establishing a funding model with contributions from provincial and federal governments and third parties.
In January 2022, we launched new non-voting membership classes. These are already proving valuable as a mechanism to develop stronger relationships, receive more input and improve communication with a wide variety of groups. Thank you to more than 80 individuals and organizations that have joined as members between January 31 and June 23! We look forward to welcoming many more members.
We have also made significant progress using sponsorship to leverage funds. In January 2022 we announced the NEBC Lithium – Formation Water Database project which is leveraging funding from Geoscience BC with funds from LithiumBank and Northern Development – as well as in-kind support from the Geological Survey of Canada. In March 2022, we also opened our Scholarship Program to sponsorship for the first time.
On behalf of the Board, we would like to thank our staff and many volunteers for their input and tireless commitment to Geoscience BC during a transformational year. It has positioned us well to meet the growing need for a made-in-BC collaborative approach to public geoscience that helps us transition to a net-zero emission economy, attract investment and spark innovation.