Advancing technology to market

UBC’s Bioproducts Institute (BPI) is a partner of choice for organizations wanting to create sustainable products and processes in industries ranging from packaging to health care. 

Scientist in a lab holding a petri dish

In January 2023, BPI launched Advancing Technology Readiness (ATR), an industry-driven program that supports the development of investment-attractive biobased innovations. 

This stage-gate approach de-risks technology for manufacturing, and establishes an economic and environmental assessment for commercialization. 

Bioproducts Institute

Bridging the gap from idea to technology

Woman in lab pouring a clear liquid into a beaker

Whether you are a clean tech startup or a multinational organization, it’s extremely challenging to optimize a new product or process to meet technical specs, sustainability goals and economic constraints without having access to applied research expertise or specialized equipment. 

Partnering with BPI can help organizations connect to the talent and infrastructure needed to develop ideas into marketable products or processes. 

“Historically, there’s been a big gap between research in the lab and what industry is ready to take up and invest in,” says Richard Sones, Director of Partner Innovations. 

“At BPI, we’re supporting the technology side of the commercialization equation. Through the ATR program, we can support a technology’s readiness level on multiple levels and then advance it to the point where it can be launched.” 

Richard Sones

What we offer

Access to talent and infrastructure: More than 500 affiliated researchers work out of 13 state-of-the-art facilities on the UBC Vancouver campus on biobased materials development. 

The ability to accelerate technology development by tackling technical risks earlier on: Our team works alongside technology founders and partners to de-risk the technology and strengthen the value proposition.

A network of top researchers, industrialists and investors: Our network includes seasoned industrialists, investors and members with specific technical experience and knowledge in targeted markets and applications.

Leveraged investment: Partner contributions are often matched through government grants and funding.

Learn More About BPI

From technology to investment ready

Close-up of brown honeycomb cardboard packaging material.

The ATR framework consists of five stages and four decision-making gates to move a technology from innovation analysis through to proof of concept and ultimately being ready to launch as an investment-ready venture. 

The process is overseen by an advisory board, an industrial/commercial technical team and a project-specific advisory team, with defined services and deliverables at each stage. 

“Each project is unique and at different readiness levels,” says Sones. 

“We bring the specialized expertise and resources needed to advance a technology through a defined development process that can include addressing specific technological risks like energy input, resolving scalability issues or establishing the intellectual property/ freedom to operate.”

Bioproducts offer sustainable solutions with countless applications

close-up of several pipette tips dispensing liquid into a rack of small, clear plastic tubes.

BPI researchers are collaborating with industry and government partners on projects that fall into three broad categories:

  • The sustainable built environment: Using forest-based materials in structural and functional applications, including heat and sound insulation, energy management and textiles.
  • Green consumer products that use bioproducts to replace fossil-fuel-based plastics. 
  • Renewable packaging, ranging from single-use food packaging to protective cushioning for high value electronics.

BPI recently published a whitepaper with Apple to explore how fibre-based materials in cushioning packaging can help remove plastic from packaging materials. The paper explores both material functionality and the impacts on manufacturing and the marketing value chain.

A collaboration with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and BC Ministry of Forests is developing biodegradable packing foam from wood waste left behind from wildfires and pine beetle infestations that can replace Styrofoam. 

Team members are currently setting up a pilot plant to increase production capacity.

Another project is advancing an ultralight weight material made from hemp fibres that could have applications in outerwear or providing insulation for transporting pharmaceuticals that need to be maintained at specific temperatures.

A partner for growth

Close-up of several test tubes containing a bright green substance and plant matter, in a metal rack.

“The challenge with this kind of innovation development is that you can’t just develop it in your garage,” says Sones. “You need expertise and specialized infrastructure, and that’s where we come in."

"Here at UBC, we can tap into incredible expertise on virtually any technical topic to help solve problems perhaps more quickly and cost-effectively than could be done otherwise.” 

Partnering with BPI can help businesses find and develop the solutions our world needs to “de-fossil-ize” society’s materials and chemicals to reduce environmental impact. 

“It’s more than climate change,” says Sones. “It’s about sustainability, about making sure our precursors/ building-blocks and processes to create products are sustainable, that the products we create are truly recyclable and that the embedded carbon comes from non-new-fossil sources. The answers are there, in nature.”

About BPI

BPI brings together state-of-the-art research and resources in a unique innovation ecosystem to unlock the power of nature to make a positive impact on sectors ranging from transportation and buildings to health care. We achieve this by:

  • Creating novel technology platforms and biobased products
  • Accelerating and showcasing innovations
  • De-risking and scaling-up innovations
  • Connecting partners
  • Attracting and training future employees for the sector
  • Championing EDI and Indigenous partnerships 

Great innovations start with a conversation. Contact us and let’s explore how we can help your organization gain the innovation advantage. 

BPI’s multidisciplinary approach

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View outside Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute

Research Centres and Institutes

Our multidisciplinary expertise is creating innovations that make the world a better place. Partner with us and gain access to our world-class infrastructure and expertise.

View Centres and Institutes

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Research and Partnerships Team

Our dedicated team actively seeks collaboration opportunities with industry, non-profit and government partners to accelerate solutions for the future.

Meet the Team


Let's Work Together

Join us. Bring research and innovation insight to your biggest challenges. We work with industry, non-profit and government partners to accelerate solutions for the future.

Partner with Us

Let's work together

Join us. Bring research and innovation insight to your biggest challenges. We work with industry, non-profit and government partners to accelerate solutions for the future.

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