News release

Province Building Startup Potential

Premier Iain Rankin toured Dr. Jeff Dahn’s Tesla lab at Dalhousie University and met with university president Deep Saini today, March 29, as the province strives to make Nova Scotia a world-leading startup capital. Recently, the government invested $16.8 million in four Nova Scotia universities to help them expand and enhance their computer science programs. Dalhousie received $13.3 million.

In addition, Premier Rankin learned about the research being conducted by Dr. Dahn in his lab, which researches energy storage in the area of Lithium-ion batteries and is in partnership with Tesla, the all-electric vehicle manufacturer, as an exciting part of the Nova Scotia startup story.

“Dr. Dahn’s lab and the cutting-edge research being conducted here is positioning our province for the jobs of the future,” said Premier Rankin. “And our investments in computer science will only deepen our talent pool in the area of digital skills, which is also essential to future job creation.”

Digital skills drive the start-up economy and COVID-19 has accelerated digital adaptation and increased its importance. Producing more digital talent in Nova Scotia will strengthen the province’s startup ecosystem across all areas from clean tech to agri-food and ocean sciences.

The investment in Dalhousie and three other universities — Saint Mary’s, St. Francis Xavier, and Acadia — follows meetings that were held with university officials and representatives of government departments and organizations responsible for growth, education and innovation.

The clear message was the need to increase training in the area of computer science.

Due to the pandemic, many low-skilled and low-wage jobs have been eliminated, disproportionately affecting youth, diverse communities and women. With further digital adoption, some of those jobs will not return.

It was important for the province to address the systemic inequalities that exist and increase opportunities for underrepresented groups to acquire digital skills so they can find new employment.

The province has asked the universities to continue to be unwavering in their commitment to equity and inclusion in their recruitment, programming and supports for students.

Government has also supported tech growth at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), with the 2019 announcement of a $7 million addition to NSCC’s Institute of Technology campus in Halifax. It addressed the growing demand for NSCC’s information technology programs and included a three-storey, 21,000 square foot addition to their current campus.

Digital capacity in Nova Scotia can improve competitiveness in global markets and ensure the economy is resilient in the face of technological progress.

Quotes:

It was wonderful to be able to provide Premier Rankin a tour of Dr. Dahn’s Tesla lab and show him all of the work being done here at Dalhousie. As well, having the premier on campus gives him the opportunity to see the benefits of the province’s investment in computer science and the next generation of our digital leaders. Deep Saini, president, Dalhousie University

Quick Facts:

  • the Tesla-Dalhousie research partnership was created in 2015 and was just renewed in January 2021 for a second five-year term
  • the partnership was the first collaboration of its kind between the electric vehicle company and a Canadian university

Additional Resources:

Jeff Dahn Research Group: https://www.dal.ca/diff/dahn/about.html

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Media Contact:

Matt Hefler
Cell: 902-220-6048 Email: