In a world characterized by complex societal challenges and heightened public expectations, broad-based innovation is essential. As institutions of research and learning, universities must embrace creativity and risk-taking across all their activities. Technology and data are reshaping our world and how we interact with one another; this explosion of information is opening new opportunities for study, problem-solving and knowledge exchange beyond the academy. The spirit of innovation must also characterize how public universities operate and steward resources.

Snapshot: Innovation

Research conducted at UBC has changed the world in many ways, from ensuring sustainable use of coastal marine ecosystems through UBC’s Project Seahorse to developing composite materials used in commercial aircraft. By enabling multiple ‘Research to Innovation’ pathways, UBC helps take new knowledge generated from research through to socio-economic impact. Some of these pathways, such as commercialization through licensing and patenting, have been supported for 30 years, with many notable achievements. These include the largest licensing deal in Canadian history— the $140-million licensing of a drug for prostate cancer—and the provision of panoramic stitching software used in mobile phones throughout the world.

Since 2013, the university has offered support for new venture creation by students, faculty and staff through entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC). Many of these endeavours are already having an impact, including Acuva, an easy and low-footprint water-disinfection treatment based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Knowledge exchange pathways that translate research results into policies and practices exist across the university. For example, research from the School of Population and Public Health, in partnership with provincial health care and research institutes, has been influential in setting and directing policy in cervical cancer prevention and reproductive health in Canada and around the globe. At the intersection of research, learning and engagement, these pathways extend and deepen UBC’s impact.


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