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The University of British Columbia in Vancouver is pictured in 2015. The school is one of four B.C. universities set to receive $4.3-million from a government research and innovation program.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Four British Columbia universities will receive $4.3-million from a government research and innovation program to help fund projects in the fields of health, technology and natural resources.

Jobs Minister Brenda Bailey says the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University will receive the funding, with the bulk going to projects at the Vancouver and Okanagan UBC campuses.

She says the funds will contribute to 18 projects already under way at the universities.

Bailey says one of the health projects under way at UBC is working toward developing personalized screening to provide early-stage risk assessment of non-communicable diseases.

She says UVic is looking to find new ways to reduce traffic-related air pollution, while SFU is developing programs to employ virtual reality to improve services in remote areas of the province by cutting the need for travel.

Bailey says the government’s Knowledge Development Fund has invested more than $862 million in more than 1,600 research projects since its creation in 1998.

“From 2011 to 2020, the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund has enabled 66 new spinoff companies, 237 provisional or granted patents, which is an average of 26 patents a year, 37 licensing agreements and over 1,800 jobs,” Bailey said at a news conference.