NRAS Research Team Program


The NRAS Endowment Fund was established in 2006 with a $50 million investment by the BC government. The fund was established to build research and development, advanced training, technology transfer and commercialization capacity in BC in engineering, natural resources and the applied sciences.

The first funding program to emerge from the endowment was the NRAS Research Team Program, developed collaboratively by BCIC and BCFRST. The program supports BC’s most accomplished researchers working on projects that hold potential for significant social, environmental and economic benefit to the province in both the near term and future. The focus is on innovative BC solutions to problems.

In the 2009 competition, 24 projects were chosen to receive a total of $6.9 million in funding, with each receiving a maximum of $300,000 over 4 years. In 2012, a mid-point review of the program indicated that all 24 projects reported potential industrial applications for their research, with 22 specific to BC. The program is still in progress with research teams at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria entering the fourth and final year of their projects.


“The NRAS grant has allowed students at SFU and UBC to collaborate with the BC mining industry and obtain valuable experience for their future careers in an area of high demand (in BC, Canada and internationally). Through this grant we have been able to increase technology transfer directed at improving mine safety, economics and sustainability, and provide a professional development opportunity through the organization of a major international slope stability and open pit mining conference with associated workshops on state-of-the-art research and technology”

Dr. Doug Stead, SFU, Earth Sciences
Title: Improving Mine Safety, Economics and Sustainability through Implementation of Geotechnical Innovation in British Columbia Surface Mines

“The NRAS grant has had a large impact on my research program. It has lead to a new multidisciplinary collaboration that otherwise would not have existed, involving faculty members from Chemistry, Physics and Engineering, at UVic and UBC. It has also lead to the training of 3 graduate students in leading edge technology, who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to study at UVic and UBC. The research project has allowed us to create new linkages to two BC companies and it has added industrial relevance to our research programs”

Dr. Reuven Gordon, UVic, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Title: Investigating a Plasmon-Enhanced Quantum Information Processing Platform

“The NRAS grant awarded to my team is rapidly becoming a critical part of the bigger picture in our environmental engineering research program. For the first time, I am now able to expand our work on total nitrogen management from liquid waste streams, in the context of nutrient removal and recovery, and in conjunction with our industrial partners, at pilot scale. A number of new students have already ‘signed-on’, and are active at our field sites in Abbotsford and Prince George, as well as in the Environmental Lab at UBC. Participation by Opus Dayton & Knight Ltd. has also been extraordinary. This bodes well for the long term benefits of this critical, field -based research program”

Dr. Donald Mavinic, UBC, Civil Engineering
Title: A cost effective and ecologically friendly technology for nitrogen management at wastewater treatment plants

BCFRST Foundation

The BCFRST Foundation is an independent foundation established within British Columbia to nurture and support research in British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions in the fields of natural resources, applied sciences and engineering.

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