Engaging Research Attracts Attention
There’s no question UBC’s researchers are an engaged group, but it’s especially evident when it comes to their receipt of Engage Grants, a research award allocated through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Since their introduction in 2010, Engage Grants have been awarded to more UBC researchers than to researchers at any other Canadian university, with the Okanagan campus receiving a disproportionately large percentage of the grants.
UBC has received $4,472,509 in Engage grants for 184 projects since the beginning of the program, with this year’s total reaching $1,893,878 for 77 projects, 19 of which are taking place at the Okanagan campus.
“The NSERC Engage program really suits researchers who are energetic, flexible, and have a lot of initiative and UBC’s Okanagan campus has a lot of these researchers,” says Miriam Grant, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Vice Provost, Research, at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “Our campus is nimble and dedicated to including our community partners in cutting-edge research that solves the everyday problems they face.”
Engage Grants enable researchers to connect with Canadian companies in need of innovative solutions, knowledge and expertise in order to create new research partnerships.
One such initiative at UBC’s Okanagan campus is focused on automated landing (recovery) of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are increasingly found in applications such as aerial imaging and reconnaissance. Engineering Professor Homayoun Najjaran and his students in the Advanced Control and Intelligent Systems Lab are working on the technology with Accuas Inc. in Salmon Arm, BC. Automated landing eliminates catastrophic landing accidents and provides more effective and safer aerial imaging practices.
“Faculty members here are particularly attuned to connecting with companies,” says Derek Gratz, associate director of the University-Industry Liaison Office at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “Engage Grants show that industry is interested, too, and we are already seeing examples of longer-term research relationships developing as a result.”