VPRI Staff Awards

The Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) recognizes the vital role that staff members across our portfolio play in supporting UBC’s research community. 

The annual VPRI Staff Awards were launched in 2018 to celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals in our portfolio. Awards are given in the categories of Service and Leadership and are determined by a VPRI Staff Awards committee following an open call for nominations across the portfolio.

Service Award

The staff award for service recognizes a colleague who has demonstrated sustained success in their job, who improves the value, efficiency and sustainability of the services they provide, and who contributes to the success of major projects or unit priorities. This individual is recognized for maintaining a consistently high level of customer service and professionalism and is clearly committed to enhancing the UBC community.


Lynsey Huxham

Lynsey is a Technology Transfer Manager in the UILO on the Vancouver campus.  The review panel agreed that Lynsey’s contributions to two major strategic projects in the last year were but two examples of the outstanding service she provides to the UBC research community. 





Lisa Shearer is the Assistant Manager of the Behavioural Research Ethics Board (REB) at UBC Okanagan, a position she has held since 2014. Prior to this, Lisa was an Awards & Ethics Officer in the Okanagan’s Office of Research Services, after having served in different roles in the provincial government in Saskatchewan. She has undergraduate degrees in chemistry and education and completed a leadership development program at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Lisa is recognized for the outstanding service she provides to researchers at UBCO. Researchers and other stakeholders call out her “high degree of professionalism and customer service”, and appreciate her willingness to coach and mentor researchers as they engage with the Behavioural REB. She has built meaningful connections and collaborations across UBC’s two campuses and plays a central role in the REB West conference that is held in Kelowna each year.



Shelly McErlane

Shelly McErlane is a clinical veterinarian in Animal Care Services, and head of the UBC Animal Training Program. Prior to joining Animal Care Services in 2006, she served as a clinical veterinarian in a neuropharmacology laboratory and as a veterinary surgeon in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Shelly graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1995. 

Shelly’s passion for animal welfare is clear to those she works with, and she has supported research that has an impact locally, nationally and internationally. Researchers have called out the unique and critical contributions she has made to research methodologies, and colleagues describe her willingness to teach and mentor. She joined Animal Care Services at a time of considerable change and was recognized for transforming the program into the world-class service that UBC researchers benefit from today.


Christy McTait 

Christy McTait is a health grant development officer in the Support Programs to Advance Research Capacity (SPARC) Office where she has worked since 2006 (formerly known as HeRRo, the Health Research Resource Office). Christy holds a bachelor's degree in Life Sciences from Queen’s and a master’s degree in health administration from UBC.

Christy is an original member of what is now the SPARC team, and her work in health grant development lay the foundation for SPARC’s model across all of the Tri-Agency domains. She is a champion mentor amongst her colleagues and is a trusted advisor for many of UBC’s faculty members. She is a sought-after expert for funding partners, and grant development professionals at other universities in Canada, and is actively engaged with the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) where she regularly provides presentations and workshops.


Leadership award 

The staff award for leadership recognizes a colleague who demonstrates a sense of purpose, vision and a mission to colleagues. This individual consistently influences colleagues to arrive at consensus-based decisions that advance the unit's objectives and demonstrates a commitment to colleagues that goes over and above their regular job requirements. This individual leads by example, actively contributes to enabling a respectful workplace, encourages and facilitates career advancement for others and has influence beyond their immediate unit that helps to make UBC a better place to work.


Diana Carlsen

Diana is the Senior Operations Manager in our Centre for Disease Modelling and the Modified Barrier Facility, two of our animal research facilities on the Vancouver campus.  Diana is a role model for her team, and consistently demonstrates leadership in how she supports our researchers to do their work.  The selection panel saw very clearly in Diana’s nomination that her colleagues and the researchers she works with felt this way. 




Holly Keller

Holly Keller is the Assistant Director of Production & Editorial Services at UBC Press, where she has worked since 1990. Prior to UBC, Holly worked at the University of California Press in Los Angeles. She has represented UBC Press for several years on the Association of Publishers of British Columbia. Holly has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario.

​Holly leads both through her meticulous work at UBC Press, and as importantly, through her unfailing commitment to her colleagues. She recently led a team through the publication of a book in a third of the normal time through her ability to keep sight of the book’s value as a UBC Press title, and her ability to unify the rest of the Press towards that goal. She is the first to recognize colleagues’ achievements, is a mentor to the staff at UBC Press, and is an advocate for professional development for her team. 




Jean Ruiz

Jean Ruiz is the Senior Behavioral Research Ethics Analyst in the Office of Research Ethics where she has worked since 2007. Jean holds an MA in History and an undergraduate degree in International Studies, both from the University of Saskatchewan. 

Jean is an expert in research ethics and policy. She works closely with staff, Research Ethics Board (REB) members and others to ensure the Behavioural REB remains relevant as research ethics constantly evolves. Most recently, Jean has led two related, province-wide initiatives that have helped position UBC as a leader in research ethics review. The BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative enables coordination amongst BC institutions participating in the same research studies. The Provincial Research Ethics Platform is the technical means for enabling the harmonization of research ethics review. Without Jean’s leadership, this infrastructure would not be available for researchers at UBC and across the province.