Canada and B.C. contribute total of $90M for new building at university

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Simon Fraser University in Surrey B.C. announcing federal funding for a new building. Photo by The Canadian Press.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed $45 million in federal funding for a new building at the Surrey, B.C., campus of Simon Fraser University to advance research and innovation in the energy sector.

The province matched the funding for a total of $90 million for a building that Trudeau said will be home to new degree programs in energy systems and environmental engineering.

Trudeau made the announcement at the university Tuesday, saying research at the five-storey centre will equip students with an education allowing them to contribute toward Canada's aim to be a world leader in research and innovation.

"The new building will also have specialized space and support for graduate students in the mechatronics program who are looking to commercialize their interdisciplinary engineering research," he said.

The program combines the fields of mechanical, electrical and software engineering with entrepreneurship and business.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the new programs will create more jobs in a province that is already leading the country with the most startups per capita.

Clark said extra funding from the university and private donors will amount to a total of nearly $120 million in investments for the new building.

"I firmly believe this: that every great city is anchored by a great university. SFU is a great university. Surrey is a great world city," she said.

The university said it is expected to open in the spring of 2018 and will build on SFU's research strengths in fuel cell technologies, alternative energy and big data analytics.

University president Andrew Petter said the building was designed by renowned Vancouver architect Bing Thom, who died last month.

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