Research Excellence

The University creates and advances knowledge and understanding, and improves the quality of life through the discovery, dissemination, and application of research within and across disciplines.

Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.
Albert Szent-Györgyi

Collage photo of Michael Smith Laboratories building and UBC students in the lab
UBC is responsible for a quarter of all research conducted in British Columbia. Our strengths—including our interdisciplinary approach, commercialization record, and distributed medical program—point the way forward. Our challenge lies in asking ourselves again: How may we best think what nobody else has thought?

Emerging areas of research excellence at UBC reflect some of the world’s most insistent themes in science, technology, social sciences, and the humanities. Finding answers to questions in these and all fields lies in improving the conditions for discovery: Increased knowledge exchange. Partnerships both local and global. A resilient infrastructure grounded in freedom and responsibility.

UBC’s research excellence is a key economic driver, a draw for the world’s greatest minds, and an impetus for societal transformation—all that the University’s founders foresaw. We must now think what even they did not, and become more.

Goal Increase the quality and impact of UBC’s research and scholarship

Portfolio Action

Support and enhance UBC researchers’ grant funding competitiveness and success

  • Maximize success rates at NIH, and during a time of substantial programmatic change at the tri-councils through the expanded use of SPARC, VPRI Research Advisors, and Faculty-based support. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Increased share of funding through partnerships with NSERC, Mitacs and non-traditional funding sources. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Support the submission of the full major team proposal to the second CFREF competition. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Reduce administrative burden by optimizing grant submission and compliance certification processes. (VPRI)
  • Continue to increase funding from industry sources through support from business development activities. (VPRI)


Enhance infrastructure to support leading edge research

  • Complete the final phase of renovation and new construction of the animal research facilities. (VPRI; DVC)
  • Support the development of all Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) proposals to achieve the highest success rate as a fraction of our competition funding cap. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Complete the Preservation and Archive Centre. (PArC, VPA)
  • Continue to expand researcher access to support services and infrastructure for advanced research computing. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Advance UBC impact metrics project, bibliometrics, and tools to improve monitoring and reporting of research performance, impact and knowledge mobilization. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Continue to support research excellence on the Okanagan campus by establishing links between the two campuses to facilitate research brand success. (DVC, VPRI)

Foster UBC’s globally influential areas of research excellence

  • Develop a framework around the research innovation fund to promote research excellence. (VPRI, DVC)
  • Continue to develop research partnerships with local community organizations that address key emerging issues in the Okanagan. (DVC)
  • Strengthen existing global centres of excellence at UBC through the addition of new international partners.  (VPRI, DVC)
  • Support the development of the first global research excellence institute in quantum materials. (VPRI)
  • Foster the growth and competitiveness of UBC’s top research excellence clusters. (VPRI, DVC)  Recruit outstanding new faculty. (VPRI, DVC)

Collaborate with faculties to measure research outputs and impact

  • Establish a UBC research impact framework and annual report card in collaboration with each Faculty; provide adequate resources to allow collection of rigorous and relevant research impact metrics in support of defining research excellence. (VPRI, DVC)

Expand recruitment and retention of top ranked graduate students and postdoctoral fellows

  • Complete a review of the funding landscape and make a recommendation regarding guaranteed funding packages, as part of an overall assessment of time-to-completion. (VPA, Provost Okanagan)
  • Develop new tools to enhance graduate student recruitment. (VPA, Provost Okanagan)

Goal Be a world leader in knowledge exchange and mobilization

Portfolio Action

Increase the impact of UBC research through strengthened knowledge mobilization capacity and effectiveness (technology transfer, technology mobilization and knowledge transfer)

  • Implement the UBC Innovation Strategy, including a corporate relations office, establish a UBC Innovation office, and expansion of entrepreneurship@UBC. (VPRI)
  • Support knowledge translation programs and facilitate their adoption and use. (VPRI, DVC)

Support Innovation in the Interior Initiative

  • Establish the Okanagan Campus as a driver of knowledge translation and commercialization in BC’s Interior, in cooperation with other post-secondary institutions that educate the future workforce in the Interior. (DVC, VPRI)
  • Develop opportunities for research collaboration with Interior Health and the Southern Medical Program. (DVC, Provost Okanagan)

Facilitate access of UBC personnel and alumni to entrepreneurship programs

  • Continue to build our infrastructure, for-credit courses, flexible learning, mentorship and funding programs to increase participation in entrepreneurship@UBC and drive the formation of new for-profit and social/policy based ventures. (DVC, VPRI)

Facilitate engagement of external communities in research and graduate training at UBC

  • Continue to identify new external communities with which to mobilize and exchange knowledge while refreshing existing partnerships in order to facilitate deeper engagement. (VPRI)
  • Support innovation activities across both campuses, including the Innovation in the Interior Initiative. (DVC, VPRI)
  • Continue to develop strategic linkages at the Okanagan campus with partners around sustainability water, wine and technology industries. (DVC)
  • Initiate development of the Innovation Precinct on the Okanagan campus. (DVC, VPRI)

Develop a system for making UBC research accessible in digital repositories, especially open access repositories

  • Promote principles of open access to publications. (DVC, VPA, VPRI)
  • Collaborate with the Library to develop a strategy for digital repositories. (VPRI, VPA)
  • Facilitate deliberations of the working group on scholarly publications and data repository. (VPRI, VPA, DVC)

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