Digging Deep: Highlighting the Need for Science, Technology, Innovation and Collaboration

By: Stephanie Killam, Chair of the Board and Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 and early 2021 a period of significant change, challenge and adaptation for society globally. As we look to economic recovery there is an opportunity to build on British Columbia’s successes and leverage our existing competitive advantages, with an important role for organizations like Geoscience BC.

Investments today in science and technology will attract investment, create jobs, promote collaborative innovation, reduce emissions and support Indigenous reconciliation throughout the province.

From January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, Geoscience BC completed 13 research projects, had 32 ongoing projects and started one new project, for a total of 33 current projects at fiscal year end. The Geoscience BC Annual Report 2020-21 highlights many of these innovative projects that are contributing to BC’s economic recovery and lower emission future.

Leveraging Core Funding and Attracting Investment
Geoscience BC minerals, energy and water research is made possible by core funding received from the Province of British Columbia. The most recent core funding received was $5 million in one-year bridge funding announced in May 2019 by then-Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall. We are grateful for this continued support and, at the time of writing, are in ongoing discussions with the provincial government about continued funding and a long-term funding mechanism. Letters from more than 35 industry and business organizations, universities, communities and Indigenous groups support our requests. The all-party Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services unanimously recommended continued funding for Geoscience BC.

Geoscience BC has leveraged core provincial funding by a multiplier of more than 1.7 times through direct and indirect partner funding. The return on investment of minerals-related geoscience research is estimated to be at least five times. The demand for and relevance of Geoscience BC’s independent earth science research continues to increase. This aligns with the forecast demand in growth for BC’s lower emission intensity minerals and natural gas and emerging zero-emission geothermal and hydrogen energy.

Building Partnerships
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for collaboration and strong partnerships. This has continued to be a focus for Geoscience BC and is underlined by newly formalized partnerships with organizations such as the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the British Columbia Geological Survey, the Canadian Gas Association’s Natural Gas Innovation Fund and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada.

On behalf of the Board, we wish to thank the Geoscience BC staff and the many dedicated volunteers from industry, governments, communities, Indigenous groups and academia for their flexibility, understanding and enthusiasm through a particularly challenging period. Over the coming years we believe that the made-in-BC collaborative approach to public geoscience will be essential in reducing emissions and increasing innovation, provincial competitiveness, investment, jobs and Indigenous participation right across the province.

This Digging Deep blog is an adaptation of the Chair and CEO Message in Geoscience BC’s Annual Report 2020-21, which was published in May 2021. The Annual Report 2020-21 is available online or in limited print quantities upon request.

View Geoscience BC Annual Report 2020-21