Western Economic Diversification Canada

Western Economic Diversification Canada

November 09, 2011 14:30 ET

Parliamentary Secretary Saxton Meets With Indian Scholars as Part of SFU Initiative

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) - Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification, met today with key participants of the BC-India Innovation, Exchange and Mobility Initiative at Simon Fraser University's (SFU) Surrey Campus, including three scholars from India who are here as part of the program.

A federal investment of $302,525 was announced in June 2011 by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister for Western Economic Diversification (WD) to support the initiative that will facilitate partnerships between the two regions and lead to collaborative research, trade and investment activities.

"Thanks to WD funding, these scholars will be able to see why British Columbia is the ideal place to study, work, live and invest," said Parliamentary Secretary Saxton. "Our Government is proud to partner with Simon Fraser University in its efforts to strengthen the relationship between Canada and India, and create new opportunities for collaboration and economic growth."

Part of the initiative includes the short-term stay in B.C. of Indian industry or academic professionals who take part in lectures or customized programs with B.C. stakeholders in the clean energy, health and life sciences, and new media/film sectors.

Over two years, in addition to visits by Indian professionals and academics, the initiative will also place SFU students within Indian organizations and host sector-based workshops in both B.C. and India.

"The SFU BC-India Mobility Initiative enables B.C. to build connections with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. SFU's visiting scholars from India, Dr. Himanshu Tyagi, Dr. Daya Gaur and Dr. D.V. Rai, are exchanging information with B.C. researchers and companies to create opportunities in clean energy and health and life sciences," said Nimal Rajapakse, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Applied Sciences at SFU. "The impact of their visit will be seen in the years ahead as we bridge our local economies to benefit B.C. companies and create new opportunities for our students."

"I see tremendous benefit in coming to B.C. and seeing innovations happening in the renewable energy sector here. In exchange, I am sharing my research related to harvesting more energy from renewable sources and discussing ways the Indian energy sector is developing clean energy sources. Exchanges such as this are valuable in moving our initiatives forward in a coordinated way," said one of the participants, Himanshu Tyagi, School of Mechanical, Materials & Energy Engineering, IIT Ropar.

And Daya Gaur, Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Ropar and in charge of the Entrepreneurship Cell at IIT Ropar stated, "Having studied at Simon Fraser University as a graduate student in Computing Science, I have a good understanding of its strengths and the potential to expand its academic program overseas. I am excited to explore potential opportunities to bridge academic studies between SFU and IIT Ropar in Rupnagar, Punjab, as well as to share my research with students."

With eight facilities across three campuses in Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey, Simon Fraser University currently has more that 30,000 students, 110,000 alumni and over 900 full-time faculty members. In 2006, SFU was the first Canadian university to launch an India Strategy which has its secretariat at SFU Surrey and is guided by an India Advisory Council comprised of leading community and business leaders.

WD works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West, and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

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Contact Information

  • Ben Letts
    A/Regional Communications Manager
    Western Economic Diversification Canada
    (604) 666-1318

    Marianne Meadahl
    Assistant Director, External
    Simon Fraser University
    Public Affairs and Media Relations
    778-782-4323

    WD Toll-Free Number:1-888-338-WEST (9378)
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
    WD Website: www.wd-deo.gc.ca