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

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.


  • Support and enhance UBC researchers’ grant funding competitiveness and success
  • Enhance infrastructure to support leading edge research
  • Foster UBC’s globally influential areas of research excellence
  • Collaborate with faculties to measure research outputs and impact
  • Expand recruitment and retention of top ranked graduate students and postdoctoral fellows


  • UBC received 7 Banting postdoctoral fellow awards, more than twice the number compared to last year, including Okanagan campus’ first Banting
  • 5 UBC faculty members became Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • UBC officially opened the $34M Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility, as part of the Living Lab initiative
  • UBC is Canada’s first university to produce clean energy for its campus
  • In the 2012 NSERC Strategic Projects Grants competition, UBC’s success was the highest in the country at 41%, receiving $5.287M in total funding
  • The Okanagan Campus has the highest per research success rate in Canada for NSERC Engage grants, receiving 62 since the programs inception
  • 2012 CIHR Open Operating Grants results showed for the 3rd competition cycle in a row, higher success rate than the national average
  • UBC was invited to submit two Canada Excellence Research Chairs Phase 2 nominations
  • UBC was awarded a $5.784M CIDA Grant for the project “Sustainable Clubfoot Care Project in Bangladesh


  • Increase the impact of UBC research through strengthened knowledge mobilization capacity and effectiveness (technology transfer, technology mobilization and knowledge transfer)
  • Facilitate access of UBC personnel and alumni to entrepreneurship programs
  • Facilitate engagement of external communities in research and graduate training at UBC
  • Develop a system for making UBC research accessible in digital repositories, especially open access repositories


  • An all-Canadian treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease moved closer to reality, with Cangene Corporation licensing a UBC discovery
  • TwoThirds Water, a company formed by UBC graduate students and supported by entrepreneurship@UBC, launched its simple-to-use water filter that has value in the developing world and disaster-hit areas
  • A unique low-frequency wireless charging technology invented at UBC was successfully developed and demonstrated utilizing the campus as a living lab concept to power a fleet of electric vehicles managed by UBC Building Operations
  • UBC’s Composites Research Network, created to translate discoveries in composite manufacturing into practical applications, welcomed Boeing as its founding industrial member