SURREY, BC – Surrey has signed a partnership with Israel Brain Technologies as a way of strengthening the city’s Innovation Boulevard – a medical technology hub located between Simon Fraser University and Surrey Memorial Hospital.
The partnership was announced in December during a week-long mission to Israel by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts (pictured) and a delegation of health-technology and education officials. It is expected to produce ties between Israel’s leading neuroscience innovators and their colleagues on Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard.
Watts maintains Surrey is “looking to tap into Israel’s pioneering cutting-edge medical, entrepreneurial and scientific innovation.”
The Israeli agreement is the first international deal secured since Watts – and SFU neuroscientist and professor Ryan D’Arcy – announced plans last April to turn a square mile in Surrey’s City Centre between SFU and the hospital into a network of health institutions, universities, and corporations.
The idea, modelled on a similar corridor designed by D’Arcy in Halifax, as well as others in New York and Boston, is aimed at creating a world-class medical technology centre in Surrey to enhance patient care, attract top medical and scientific talent, and grow companies in the health-technology and service sectors.
About 180 health-related businesses are already located in the area, including four universities and the hospital. To kick-start the program, SFU Surrey and the city also expanded the city’s high-speed Canarie fibre-optic network, to provide technological infrastructure.
Watts noted earlier this year that the Innovation Boulevard will be “a key element to (the city’s) success. We have state-of-the-art health facilities and the brightest minds at work in Surrey.”
Israel Brain Technologies is cited as Israel’s most prestigious neuro-technology consortium, and was created by Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres. The Surrey delegation also met with representatives from Israel’s most respected hospitals, research institutions, start-up companies and scientific leaders.
The City of Surrey has also agreed to share its unique formula for Innovation Boulevard with Be’er Sheva’s Gav Yam Advanced Technologies Park – Israel’s fastest growing innovation centre, which is pioneering the growth of Israel’s Negev region.
“Israel and Surrey have common healthcare challenges and share the goal of setting a new standard in medical care and innovation. By combining our remarkable pools of talent and expertise I know that Surrey and Israel will together create ground-breaking and life changing advancements in healthcare,” said Mayor Dianne Watts.
The University of British Columbia is excited by the opportunities this mission has presented.
“Perhaps most promising is the realization of new partnerships with Israeli research institutions, aligned with UBC’s most accomplished programs in heart and brain diseases,” said Dr. Howard Feldman, Executive Associate Dean at UBCs Faculty of Medicine.
Simon Fraser University is also poised to benefit from collaborations in Israel.
“We are already assembling a team of various stakeholders to expand a research project in diabetes and dementia which will benefit SFU, Surrey and beyond,” said Dr. Norbert Haunerland, Associate Vice President of SFU.
“It’s been an absolutely inspiring opportunity to see the exciting medical technologies coming out of Israel. This initiative taken by Mayor Watts and the Innovation Boulevard team will be a game changer for Surrey and all of British Columbia,” said mission participant Dr. Roy Jackson, Founder and CEO of the Romich Group.
“We have seen specific cutting edge Israeli technologies which will have great applicability for patients in BC. This will have far reaching implications for patients, but also importantly for jobs and the economy,” said Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of PHEMI Health Systems.
The City of Surrey looks forward to hosting former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, along with the former leaders of Greece and Australia, as part of an international panel on global innovation at the city’s Surrey Regional Economic Summit on February 27th, 2014.
Innovation Boulevard is a network of health institutions, universities, companies and talented people located within one square mile in Surrey’s City Centre between Simon Fraser University and Surrey Memorial Hospital Campus. For more information visit www.surrey.ca/innovationboulevard.