Universities Work Together to Use Data for Social Good in ‘Cascadia’ Region

In an expansion of regional cooperation, the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington this week announced the establishment of the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative.

The cooperative will use data to help cities and communities address challenges from traffic to homelessness. It is the largest industry-funded research partnership between UBC and the UW and was made possible thanks to a $1-million gift from Microsoft, who is interested in better connecting Vancouver and Seattle for business.

“Thanks to this generous gift from Microsoft, our two universities are poised to help transform the Cascadia region into a technological hub comparable to Silicon Valley and Boston,” said Professor Santa Ono, President of the University of British Columbia. “This new partnership transcends borders and strives to unleash our collective brain power, to bring about economic growth that enriches the lives of Canadians and Americans as well as urban communities throughout the world.”

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to use data to help our communities make decisions, and as a result improve people’s lives and well-being,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

The announcement follows last September’s Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Vancouver, which brought together regional leaders to identify concrete opportunities for partnerships in education, transportation, university research, and human capital.

“We believe that joint research based on data science can help unlock new solutions for some of the most pressing issues in both Vancouver and Seattle,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “We hope this investment will serve as a catalyst for broader and more sustainable efforts between these two institutions.”

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