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B.C. technology pipeline gets a boost with 500 new student spaces at Simon Fraser University

May 27, 2024

Simon Fraser University will train more students to meet the demand in British Columbia’s thriving technology sector with the addition of 500 new student spaces, thanks to funding from the provincial government.

The new student spots will be added to existing tech-focused programs like computing science, software systems, agritech, social data analytics, data science, statistics and business analytics and decision making at SFU’s Burnaby and Surrey campuses.
“Workplaces are transforming, and we have more job openings in growing and in-demand fields than we have skilled workers ready to fill them,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “People with skills and knowledge are in high demand within nearly every sector from agritech to data science. That’s why we are excited to add more student spaces for people to learn, grow and thrive in these in-demand careers.”
The new funded spaces will be rolled out over four years within the faculties of science (269 new seats), applied sciences (209), arts and social sciences (11) and the Beedie School of Business (11). The provincial investment also includes $2 million for start-up costs, renovation of existing classrooms and labs at SFU’s Burnaby campus, and equipment upgrades.
“We’re very grateful to the Province for supporting more students with technology training,” says Peter Hall, SFU’s vice-provost and associate vice-president, academic (AVPA). “Many of these programs, such as agritech and data science, are distinctive and aligned to SFU’s commitment to excellence and innovation. We are thankful for the government’s support of a new generation of technology workers that can make a difference for B.C.”
One of the programs to benefit from the expansion in seats is data science, which is emerging as a critical field in British Columbia that touches on virtually every field, from agriculture to zoology.
“Data science is a field where there is tremendous demand at all levels. We have people from our department working in astronomy, physics, social sciences, as well as economics and finance,” says Derek Bingham, professor and chair of statistics and actuarial science at SFU. “If you like interacting with people, models, computers and solving real-world problems using information, there is a data science application for whatever you’re interested in and there’s probably a data science job out there for you.
“This investment allows us to be creative and develop more industry-focused programs and courses, with an increased emphasis on ‘doing’ – students working with industry and solving problems – so it’s great for our students.”
The expansion of technology-relevant spaces at SFU is part of a larger provincial plan to create 3,000 more spaces in the public post-secondary education system.
The new student spaces are possible through a provincial investment of $74.7 million over three years. The spaces and supporting investment are included in the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, which is working to accelerate talent development and skills training to address workforce challenges across all sectors and throughout B.C.


  • Faculty of Science:
    216 seats for the Data Science program
    53 seats for the Statistics program 
  • Faculty of Applied Sciences:
    130 seats for the Computing Science program
    52 seats for the Software Systems program
    27 seats for the Agritech program 
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
    11 seats for the Social Data Analytics Minor program 
  • Beedie School of Business:
    11 seats for the Business Analytics and Decision-Making Certificate program