Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters

Fostering collaboration is a central priority in UBC’s new strategic plan (Shaping UBC’s Next Century). The Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters (GCRC) competition was jointly created by the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and the Provost & Vice-President, Academic to enable the formation and growth of interdisciplinary clusters of research excellence.

For the purposes of this funding competition, a cluster of research excellence is defined as a network of researchers spanning multiple disciplines at UBC who form and nurture interdisciplinary teams that foster partnerships and collaborations, develop new research questions/directions/themes in research creation, address key societal and cultural problems, and work together to solve challenges that transcend traditional boundaries.  These awards are specifically targeted at catalyzing advanced research initiatives with the expectation that awards will be used to enable the cluster to have more significant impact than otherwise possible. Researchers from all disciplines are invited to apply for funding. Additional support is available to humanities scholars.

GCRC competitions are open to clusters led by researchers at our Vancouver campus. Clusters led by researchers at our Okanagan campus can apply for funding through the Eminence program

2021/22 Competition

The 2021/22 competition will launch in the fall of 2020.


The 2019 Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters competition closed on November 12, 2019.

There were 69 applications totalling $9.7 million in budget requests. Twenty-six research excellence clusters were selected in December, 2019. Fifteen awards were made for established clusters and eleven for emerging clusters.

In response to the feedback received through broad consultation, the following changes were made to the 2019 GCRC competition:

  • Option to select one or two-year grant term. Applicants may select a period of either one or two years in which to spend the award. Those selecting two years will be required to spend at least 30 per cent of awarded funds by the end of the first year, and will not be eligible to apply to a potential 2020 GCRC competition.
    • Ten clusters opted for two-year grant terms; the remaining 16 will receive the funding in one fiscal year.
  • Option to apply for a trainee stipend supplement ($15k emerging, $30k established) to support research projects that advance the cluster’s goals and outcomes.
    • Seventeen clusters received a trainee stipend supplement
  • Funds will flow from April 1, 2020 to align with UBC’s fiscal year. Currently funded clusters that are successful in the 2019 GCRC competition will be eligible to apply for two months of bridge funding to cover any shortfalls caused by fiscal year alignment.


2019 Competition Details