It all started when…
The visionary Dr. Patrick McGeer, then Minister of Education for the Province of BC, founded Discovery Foundation nearly 40 years ago. Created to promote and support the province’s high technology research and development industry, the Discovery Foundation has gone through many evolutions since its formation in 1979. Government involvement ceased in 1991 but the Discovery Foundation has continued its efforts as a private organization with a public mandate.
A registered charity now governed by its own Board of Directors, the Discovery Foundation’s mandate is to promote and facilitate innovation and the development of the technology sector in British Columbia.
Its principal role is the delivery of the Technology Education Program (TEP) through selected Agents who educate technology entrepreneurs in British Columbia. Each year, industry organizations and educational institutions apply to be TEP Agents through a competitive process. This process ensures the delivery of the highest quality programs
Discovery Foundation currently receives all funding through the independent and self-sustaining organization, Discovery Parks.
Discovery Foundation is dedicated to promoting and facilitating innovation and development of the technology sector in British Columbia. We focus on programs that encourage and support diversity and inclusion. Our management team comprises of passionate professionals who each bring a unique set of skills to the foundation.
Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board - Mr. J. Tom English , Q.C.
Mr. English is an experienced business lawyer who is presently counsel with Dentons, the largest law firm in the world. His past directorships include the Discovery Group of corporations, Vancouver International Airport Authority, Nabob Foods and CHIP Real Estate Investment Trust. His community activities include being past chair of the Vancouver Aquarium, BC Sports Hall of Fame and Vancouver Economic Commission. Mr. English was also an Associate Professor of Law at UBC.
Mr. Darrell Elliott – CEO, Invivos Partners
Mr. Darrell Elliott, a professional director and strategic analyst, is a career investment professional, who has served on over 100 boards of directors. Mr. Elliott has contributed his experience and knowledge to Discovery Foundation since 2013, and has a keen sense of what it takes to succeed in the technology sector in BC. With over 45 years of investing experience, on three continents, in businesses at stages ranging from start-up to multinational, Mr. Elliott now enjoys assisting entrepreneurs and enterprises, including through the services provided by Discovery Foundation.
Mr. Paul Geyer – CEO, Discovery Parks Investments Ltd.
Mr. Paul Geyer is a successful Medtech Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Venture Capitalist and mentor. Mr. Geyer’s 25+ years of experience have provided him with the knowledge and opportunities to contribute back to the community by chairing or participating on many boards including Social Venture Partners, Science World, The BC Tech Association, Life Sciences BC, e@UBC, BCIT plus many others and since 2017, Discovery Foundation.
Mr. Ian McKay – CEO, Vancouver Economic Commission
Mr. McKay is the CEO of Invest in Canada, where he promotes Canada as a premier global investment destination, making it easier and more attractive to build innovative and global businesses in Canada.
Previous roles include a distinguished career in international finance markets, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission and political advisor.
Dr. John Nightingale – PAST President and CEO, Vancouver Aquarium
Dr. John Nightingale was the CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium and the ocean conservation OceanWise for over 25 years and has spent his entire career (and continues to!) as an ocean champion. His dedication to the community is shown by participating with numerous Boards of Directors, including Polar Knowledge of Canada, X Prize Foundation, The Vancouver Board of Trade, and countless other organizations with which he has chaired, co-founded and led into success. Dr. Nightingale joined the Discovery Foundation board in 2009 and brings a wealth of connection and compassion.
Ms. Kathy O’Donoghue – Independent Director
Ms. Kathy O’Donoghue is a Product Strategy Technology consultant, with a background in Computer Science and over 20 years of shipping commercial technology products; spanning gaming, mobile apps, big data and consumer packaged goods; with industry leaders such as Electronic Arts. Ms. O’Donoghue is also on the board of CNIS, Canadian Network of International Surgery, which is developing avatar, scenario based digital surgical training apps for Africa. Ms. O’Donoghue is passionate about the impact of global health, and feels that the Vancouver tech sector is her place to contribute.
Mr. Morgan Sturdy – Independent Director
Mr. Morgan Sturdy is a high-tech entrepreneur and executive with over 30 years of experience serving on corporate and community boards. Mr. Sturdy’s community contribution to the Vancouver tech sector includes board participation with Great Northern Way Trust, The BC Tech Association, Science World, ACETECH, British Columbia Innovation Council and the Premier’s Tech Council. Since 2016, Mr. Sturdy is pleased to serve on the Discovery Foundation board and oversee the focus on delivering outstanding educational support to many technology organizations associated with research and development throughout the province.
Dr. David G. Harper - CEO
Dr. G. Harper (Dave) has been a member of Discovery Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2007 and was appointed CEO in 2016. Dr. Harper has a long history in the BC tech sector as the President of Pacific BioVentures Inc., providing consulting and management services. He is the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of the Fraser Valley where he has been an Associate Professor since 1994 and is a presently a Visiting Scientist at the BC Cancer Research Centre, Terry Fox Laboratories.
MRs. Christina Toombs (née sCHROEDER) - Communications & LOGISTICS Manager
Mrs. Toombs joined the team in 2014 and brought her 20+ years of executive level administration support experience to the Discovery family. Mrs. Toombs has volunteered on various Boards over the years, including The Western Wilderness Committee and The Homework Club.