Every great discovery or innovation begins with research. Whether it is basic investigation in the sciences or arts, or developing applied solutions to meet the needs of society, research is a central component of UBC’s mandate as a public university.
UBC’s international reputation for excellence in research is founded on the amazing discoveries and inspired ideas of our researchers. Their work is strongly supported by strategic efforts to attract research funding, maintain modern facilities and equipment, steward partnerships with the public and private sectors and with other institutions, recruit and retain leading thinkers, and mobilize knowledge beyond the campus.
UBC supports a thriving community of talented research faculty and staff whose ideas, discoveries and innovations seek to advance our community and our society. This community includes over 12,000 faculty and staff members, 8,000 graduate students, and a growing number of undergraduate researchers.
Our researchers are based at UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, as well as in affiliated hospitals and research institutes around the province.
Many new faculty members are drawn to UBC – and choose to remain here – because of a well-supported and open-minded research environment. We encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and allow investigators the latitude to respond to emerging lines of inquiry, or to ask fundamental questions about the world, while providing the infrastructure they require to pursue answers.
UBC actively encourages interdisciplinary research through the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, Green College, and the College for Interdisciplinary Studies. Collaborations between faculties and departments help to break down traditional disciplinary boundaries and promote discovery and innovation. One example of this is the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative.
UBC ranks among the top three Canadian universities in attracting research funding from a wide range of sources, including: competitive government grants, awards from non-profit foundations, and contracts with industry or government for prescribed research. In 2012-13, UBC attracted more than $519 million in research funding from all sources (see Funding Figures and Reports).
Many UBC researchers are awarded funding from Federal granting agencies through peer-reviewed competitions. These agencies include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Their continued support makes possible much of the research at UBC and at universities across Canada.
In 2012-13, over 40% of UBC’s total research funding was awarded to health researchers based at UBC-affiliated hospitals and research institutes, who play a critical role in UBC’s extended research community.
Infrastructure refers to the capital costs of conducting research, such as buildings, equipment and facilities. Infrastructure awards have supported a number of iconic UBC (and affiliated) facilities including the Museum of Anthropology, the Beaty Biodiversity Centre, and the Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency.
Since 1997, UBC research infrastructure projects have received more than $400 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), a federally supported foundation that funds approved research infrastructure projects. The B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF), an agency of the Government of British Columbia, has provided $380 million in matching funds for many of these projects.
Beyond the Campus
Academic researchers publish books or journal articles that contribute new knowledge to their fields of expertise and encourage new avenues of research. UBC research is consistently published in the most widely read academic journals in the world, including Science and Nature. UBC Press, the University’s publishing branch, is acknowledged as one of Canada’s foremost publishers of books in political science, Native studies, and forestry.
UBC is a leader among North American universities in the area of technology transfer. Many of our 130+ spin-off companies are based in British Columbia and have made a significant contribution to the provincial economy, as well as providing numerous societal benefits in the areas of health care and technology. The processes of commercialization and patenting at UBC are stewarded by the University-Industry Liaison Office.
In 2007, UBC became the first university in Canada to adopt Global Access Principles to make UBC technologies, including new medicines, available and affordable to developing nations.
Engaging the World
Internationally, UBC is focused on promoting collaborative research programs and exchange opportunities for graduate students and faculty members with peer institutions worldwide. We maintain a wide range of formal and informal agreements with universities around the world. UBC is also a founding member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and a member of the Universitas 21 international association.