Over $36m awarded to UBC Researchers through NSERC 2024 Discovery Research Program

June 14, 2024

More than $554 million is being invested in research over five years through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Research Program.

Over $480 million of this funding provides new awards to researchers through the 2024 Discovery Research Program. An additional $72.4 million was awarded in one-time, one-year extensions with funds to existing Discovery Research grants held by more than 1,800 researchers across Canada impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NSERC Discovery Research Program awards were announced by Yasir Naqvi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, and Ryan Turnbull, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, as part of the Government of Canada's investment of $693.8 million in funding for discovery and applied research. 

This includes funding for new UBC-led projects through NSERC 2024 Discovery Research Program, NSERC PromoScience, the Canada Research Chairs program and CFI's John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Read the announcement

2024 NSERC Discovery Research Program

UBC Awardees

A total of 157 new programs and projects led by UBC researchers were awarded more than $36 million through the 2024 NSERC Discovery Research Program competition.

This includes:

  • 141 research programs awarded a combined total of $32.1 million over five years through individual Discovery Grants
    • 26 of these programs were awarded an additional combined $0.3 million through one-year grants of $12,500 each as part of the Discovery Launch Supplements program
    • Two of these programs were awarded an additional combined $0.2 million over five years through Northern Research Supplements
  • Three UBC-led projects and programs were awarded funding of $1.4 million through the Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants program.
  • Two UBC-led projects were awarded funding of $0.9 million over five years through the Discovery Horizons Grants program;
  • One project awarded a Ship Time Program grant of $21k; and
  • Ten projects led by UBC researchers were awarded one-year grants for a combined $1.4 million through Research Tools and Instruments grants


The NSERC Discovery Grants program supports ongoing programs of research with long-term goals rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. 

Discovery Launch Supplements provide timely resources to support early career researchers (ECRs) as they establish a Discovery Grant-funded research program. Projects marked with * below were awarded Discovery Launch Supplements

Northern Research Supplements recognize the added costs unique to conducting research in the Canadian North. Projects marked with ** below  were awarded Northern Research Supplements

  1. Abolmaesumi, Purang (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Deployable Machine Learning with Large and Multi-scale Ultrasound Data for Interpretable Decision Making
  2. Algar, W Russ (Chemistry)
    Advanced Materials and Portable Devices Toward Digital Assays, Point-of-Care Diagnostics, and Enhanced Bioanalyses
  3. Altintas, Yusuf (Mechanical Engineering)
    Hybrid physics-based and data-driven machine tool monitoring
  4. Amini, Kiana (Materials Engineering)
    Pushing Performance Limits of Redox Flow Batteries for Clean Energy Storage and Conversion*
  5. Auger-Méthé, Marie (Statistics / Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries)
    Understanding the effects of anthropogenic pressures on animals and overcoming roadblocks to conservation: a statistical toolbox**
  6. Avgar, Tal (Biology, UBC Okanagan)
    From wildlife space-use patterns to population viability*
  7. Babel, Molly (Linguistics)
    Who is talking? What are they saying? The tangled web of recognizing talkers and understanding words
  8. Bachmann, Sven (Mathematics)
    Topological Order: Classification and Applications
  9. Bam, Wouter (School of Engineering - UBC Okanagan)
    Improving sustainable industrial development decision support through novel computational approaches and re-conceptualisation*
  10. Banthia, Nemkumar (Civil Engineering)
    Resilient, digitally-monitored concrete structures approaching carbon-neutrality
  11. Bennett, Michael (Mathematics)
    Explicit methods in Diophantine number theory
  12. Berlinguette, Curtis (Chemistry)
    Laboratory for Accelerated Decarbonization
  13. Bohlmann, Joerg (Michael Smith Laboratories)
    Functional Genomics & Biochemistry of Conifer Terpenoid Defense Systems
  14. Bonn, Douglas (Physics and Astronomy)
    Multi-mode spectroscopy of high-mobility metals and superconductors
  15. Booker, Tom (Forest and Conservation Sciences)
    Understanding the Spatial Structure of Local Adaptation*
  16. Brumer, Harry (Michael Smith Laboratories)
    Discovery, characterization, and applications of carbohydrate-active enzymes
  17. Cembrowski, Mark (Cellular and Physiological Sciences)
    Subtype-specific neuronal processing within the deep neocortex
  18. Chau, Albert (Mathematics)
    Geometric evolution equations on noncompact manifolds
  19. Cherkasov, Artem (Urologic Sciences)
    D5 Research Platform: Democratizing Drug Discovery with Deep Docking
  20. Cheung, William (Oceans and Fisheries, Institute for the)
    Fish and fisheries under marine extremes and compound events: responses, resilience and solution options
  21. Chiao, Mu (Mechanical Engineering)
    Development of microdevices for multimodal stimulation and characterization of cells
  22. Chou, Keng-Chang (Chemistry)
    Applications of Machine Learning in Chemical and Biophysical Analysis
  23. Clifton, Kelly (School of Community and Regional Planning)
    Re-engineering the Pedestrian Right-of-Way with Human-Centric Approaches
  24. Coops, Nicholas (Forest Resources Management)
    Remote Sensing of Forest Structural and Functional Traits
  25. Dalton, Brian (School of Health and Exercise Sciences, UBC Okanagan)
    Context-specific adaptations of cortical, spinal and vestibular contributions to standing balance in hypoxia
  26. Damascelli, Andrea (Physics and Astronomy)
    It Takes Two: Probing Electron-Pair Dynamical Correlations in Quantum Materials
  27. Dennis, Jessica (Medical Genetics)
    Genomics of longitudinal traits*
  28. Diamond, Adele (Psychiatry)
    Improving Executive Functions
  29. Dumont, Guy (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Biomedical Monitoring, Signal Processing and Control
  30. Ellis, Naoko (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Biomass Gasification for Decarbonization of Energy Systems
  31. Eltis, Lindsay (Microbiology and Immunology)
    The metabolism of small aldehydes in a microbial cell factory
  32. Enns, James (Psychology)
    Visual Perception and Attention
  33. Eskelson, Bianca (Forest Resources Management)
    Fire and forests across scales: models to advance theory and adapt management
  34. Fannin, Robin (Civil Engineering)
    On the progression of internal erosion in dams and dikes with time
  35. Fedorova, Alexandra (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Novel storage and memory systems for AI applications
  36. Feng, Haibo (Wood Science)
    Achieving net-zero carbon through building circularity and digital technologies*
  37. Feng, James (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Processing of biomass-derived nanofibrils
  38. Finbloom, Joel (Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of)
    Microbe-Interfacing Nanomaterials to Study Bacteria-Material Interactions and Biofilm Behaviour*
  39. Floresco, Stan (Psychology)
    Prefrontal-subcortical circuitry underlying cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control
  40. Ford, Adam (Biology, BRAES Institute, UBC Okanagan)
    Developing the evidence and theory for process-based restoration of large mammals.
  41. Ford, Nancy (Oral Biological & Medical Sciences)
    Improved image quality using dual-energy and contrast-enhanced micro--computed tomography
  42. Foxall, Eric (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, UBC Okanagan)
    Spinal decomposition methods for structured, density-dependent and time-inhomogeneous branching processes
  43. Frostad, John (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Rheology of Soft Microparticles
  44. Gamu, Daniel (Kinesiology, School of)
    Histone Post-Translational Modifications and Tissue Adaptability*
  45. Ghioca, Dragos (Mathematics)
    Arithmetic dynamics over fields of positive characteristic
  46. Gold, Michael (Microbiology and Immunology)
    Regulation of B-lymphocyte function by the actin cytoskeleton
  47. Gopalakrishnan, Sathish (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Probabilistic Guarantees for Real-Time Systems
  48. Gujarati, Arpan (Computer Science)
    Fault-Tolerant Real-Time CPS for Emerging Low-Cost Consumer Devices*
  49. Gustafson, Stephen (Mathematics)
    Analysis of nonlinear dynamics in physical systems: solitons, skyrmions, waves and their interactions
  50. Hach, Faraz (Urologic Sciences)
    Empowering Genomics and Transcriptomics: A Toolkit for Single-Molecule and Single-Cell Sequencing Technologies
  51. Hariri, Amani (Chemistry)
    Advancing Functional Nucleic Acid Systems Using Single Molecule Methods: Towards Precision Detection and Delivery*
  52. Harvey, Nicholas (Computer Science)
    Algorithms in randomization, optimization, learning, and privacy
  53. Hatzikiriakos, Savvas (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Dynamics, Self-healing and Adhesion of Hydrogen Bonding Polymers
  54. Hilton, Brett (Cellular and Physiological Sciences)
    The role of the presynaptic active zone in axon growth during neuronal maturation*
  55. Hossain, Md Jahangir (School of Engineering, UBC Okanagan)
    Holographic-MIMO empowered next-generation wireless networks
  56. Howe, LeAnn (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    Novel Functions of Histone Acetylation
  57. Jin, Xiaoliang (Mechanical Engineering)
    Adaptive Additive-Subtractive Remanufacturing for High-Value Components Repair with Process Uncertainties
  58. Johnson, Thomas (School of Engineering, UBC Okanagan)
    Adapting wireless power system concepts to design efficient power combining networks for photovoltaic modules
  59. Joshi, Jaya (Wood Science)
    Enzymes- Evolution and Editing (E3) for Food Feed and Feedstock*
  60. Kim, Michael (Sauder School of Business)
    Combined Statistical Learning and Robust Optimization
  61. Kizhakkedathu, Jayachandran (Pathology and Lab Medicine)
    Novel Biomaterials Design Concepts in the Development of Immunomodulating Materials and Bioactive Surfaces
  62. Koehle, Michael (Kinesiology, School of)
    Mechanisms of the respiratory and exercise response to ozone air pollution in humans
  63. Koppes, Michele (Geography)
    Impacts of shrinking glaciers on landscapes, waterscapes and people
  64. Krishnan, Harish (Sauder School of Business)
    Addressing operational and supply chain barriers to climate action
  65. Kunimoto, Michelle (Physics and Astronomy)
    Advancing Exoplanet Demographics with Kepler, TESS, and Beyond*
  66. Laba, Izabella (Mathematics)
    Discrete methods in harmonic analysis
  67. Laval, Bernard (Civil Engineering)
    Predicting Physical Mass Transport in Lakes Under a Changing Climate
  68. Lee, Tim (Dermatology and Skin Science)
    Coherence- and polarization-based detection of melanoma
  69. Lefebvre, Louis (Medical Genetics)
    Genomic imprinting at the Mest cluster: mechanism and function
  70. Li, Isaac (Chemistry, UBC Okanagan)
    Decoding molecular force in mechanobiology with novel DNA tools and strategies
  71. Little, Jonathan (School of Health and Exercise Sciences, UBC Okanagan)
    Impact of exercise on inflammation in humans
  72. Liu, Wenying (Materials Engineering)
    Prediction of the quantity and quality of mine waste rock drainage using a physics-informed machine learning approach
  73. MacLean, Karon (Computer Science)
    Making Affective Touch a Reality in a Digital World
  74. Madden, John (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Soft sensors, actuators and batteries for medical, robotics and energy storage applications
  75. Madhav, Manu (Biomedical Engineering, School of)
    An engineering approach to model flexible neural representations that enable biological navigation*
  76. Maldonado-Pareja, Maria (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Assessing environmental impacts on in-situ marine microbial rate processes in the NE Pacific; linking `omics to biogeochemical cycles
  77. Mansfield, Shawn (Botany)
    It takes more than just bricks to build a wall: Elucidating the intricacies of plant cell wall synthesis
  78. Marmer, Vadim (Economics)
    Inference for long cycles in economic data
  79. Mason, Chase (Biology, UBC Okanagan)
    Genetic Architecture, Evolution, and Ecological Consequences of Phenotypic Integration in Plant Secondary Metabolism in Crop and Wild Sunflower
  80. Mayer, Ulrich (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Reactive Transport in Evolving Porous Media
  81. McDougall, Scott (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Development of new tools and techniques for the analysis and risk management of landslides and related geohazards
  82. Measday, Vivien (Land and Food Systems, Faculty of)
    Biodiversity and Phenotypic Traits of Pacific West Coast Wine Yeast Strains
  83. Mérida, Walter (Mechanical Engineering)
    New pathways in hydrogen production methods
  84. Moore, Alexandria (Forest and Conservation Sciences)
    Global change and coastal wetland ecology: Assessing anthropogenic impacts on ecosystem structure and function*
  85. Munzner, Tamara (Computer Science)
    Strengthening the Methodological Foundations of Visualization
  86. Murugan, Mathav (Mathematics)
    Heat kernel estimates and quasisymmetric uniformization
  87. Myers-Smith, Isla (Forest and Conservation Sciences)
    Tundra plant community responses to a rapidly warming Arctic**
  88. O'Connor, Mary (Zoology)
    Ecology of change: metabolic scaling in symbioses, populations and communities
  89. O'Connor, Tim (Cellular and Physiological Sciences)
    Continued expression of developmental guidance cues is critical for the maintenance of neural circuits
  90. O'Leary, Stephen (School of Engineering - UBC Okanagan)
    Novel Semiconductor Materials for Future Device Applications: Materials Issues and Device Implications
  91. Olson, James (Mechanical Engineering)
    Advanced microfibrillated lignocellulose biomaterial production, characterization and product development
  92. Oya Diez, Simon (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Principled Privacy Analysis of Efficient Searchable Encryption Schemes*
  93. Patey, Grenfell (Chemistry)
    Exploring Molecular Mechanisms of Crystal Nucleation
  94. Pleiss, Geoff (Statistics)
    Probabilistic Models for Complex and Large-Scale Scientific Discovery*
  95. Poursartip, Anoush (Materials Engineering)
    Understanding and Modelling Physical, Hygrothermal, and Thermoplastic Particle Aging During Cure of Advanced Composites
  96. Rhemtulla, Jeanine (Forest and Conservation Sciences)
    Restoring biodiversity and ecosystem function in working landscapes
  97. Rideout, Elizabeth (Cellular and Physiological Sciences)
    Mechanisms and consequences of an interaction between sex determination gene transformer and metabolic regulator spargel
  98. Rosen, David (Oceans and Fisheries, Institute for the)
    Physiological impacts of climate change on marine mammals
  99. Rubin, Julia (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Building Trustworthy Software Reliably
  100. Sadeghzadeh Milani, Abbas (School of Engineering - UBC Okanagan)
    A Materials Informatics Approach for Intelligent Forming of Woven Fabric Composites
  101. Schoof, Christian (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Fracture, flow and melt: the dynamics of ice-stream-ice-shelf systems
  102. Scoates, James (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    The record of terrestrial magmatism through geological time as preserved in mafic-ultramafic intrusions
  103. Seethaler, Rudolf (School of Engineering - UBC Okanagan)
    Flexible and Wearable Electronic Devices made from Laser Induced Graphene
  104. Servati, Peyman (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Autonomous, stretchable, environment-friendly fibrous electronics and photonics
  105. Sheffer, Alla (Computer Science)
    Human-centered Geometry Processing
  106. Sigal, Leonid (Computer Science)
    Scalable and Efficient Multimodal Visual Understanding and Generation
  107. Skoretz, Stacey (Audiology and Speech Sciences, School of)
    The mammalian aerodigestive tract: Exploring multi-system mechanistic integration during breathing and swallowing*
  108. Smith, Kevin (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Advancing clean energy technologies through two-dimensional (2D) catalysis
  109. Smukler, Sean (Land and Food Systems, Faculty of)
    Quantifying climate change mitigation and resilience of agricultural soils through cost-effective temporal analyses from the field to landscape scales
  110. Soma, Kiran (Psychology)
    Local glucocorticoid production during development
  111. Spering, Miriam (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences)
    Sensorimotor prediction in dynamic visual scenes
  112. Srebnik, Simcha (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Biophysical models of translation, folding, and misfolding of proteins
  113. Stull, Roland (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Numerical Weather Prediction Research to Improve Renewable Energy Productivity
  114. Subramaniam, Sriram (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    On-Grid Purification of Biomolecules for Electron Microscopy
  115. Tam, Roger (Biomedical Engineering, School of)
    Beyond the confusion matrix: A framework to compare neural network representations trained on biomedical data
  116. Tanentzapf, Guy (Cellular and Physiological Sciences)
    Regulation of spermatogenesis by gap-junction mediated signalling.
  117. Taubert, Stefan (Medical Genetics)
    Mapping new starvation response mechanisms in Caenorhabditis elegans
  118. Vallance, Bruce (Pediatrics)
    Using fasting to reveal critical microbiota-host interactions at the colonic mucosal surface
  119. Vatsal, Vinayak (Mathematics)
    Rigid cocycles and modular forms of integral and half-integral weight
  120. Wang, Daochen (Computer Science)
    Quantum speedups: structure, design, and application*
  121. Wang, Liwei (School of Engineering - UBC Okanagan)
    High power voltage source converter topologies, modeling, and analysis techniques for high voltage direct current transmission system
  122. Wang, Rizhi (Materials Engineering)
    Novel structural designs and additive manufacturing of orthopaedic implants
  123. Wang, Ying (Pathology and Lab Medicine)
    Cell-cell and cell-microenvironment interactions maintain tissue homeostasis of the cardiovascular system.*
  124. Wasserman, Wyeth (Medical Genetics)
    Bioinformatics for Prediction of Transcriptional Regulation Mechanisms
  125. Watson, Liam (Mathematics)
    Novel structure for homological invariants in low-dimensional topology
  126. Weber, Alexander (Pediatrics)
    Mapping the Structural and Functional Development of the Brain in the First Year of Life: A State-of-the-Art Quantitative MRI Approach*
  127. Wei, Juncheng (Mathematics)
    Singular Limits of Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations
  128. Welch, William (Statistics)
    Dynamic Gaussian Processes to Identify Environmental Mechanisms
  129. Wen, Kefei (Mechanical Engineering)
    Collaborative robots with intrinsically safe mechanisms*
  130. Wetton, Brian (Mathematics)
    Three problems in computational science
  131. Whitlock, Michael (Zoology)
    Antagonistic and synergistic pleiotropy with temporally and spatially heterogeneous selection
  132. Wiebe, Amy (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, UBC Okanagan)
    A unified approach to optimization complexity via realization spaces*
  133. Wiesner, Felix (Wood Science)
    Developing assessments for fire resilience in modern timber construction*
  134. Wolkovich, Elizabeth (Forest and Conservation Sciences)
    How shifts in biological time and extended seasons alter plant growth across species with climate change
  135. Wood, Frank (Computer Science)
    Flexible Diffusion Modeling for Planning and Control
  136. Yavicoli, Alexia (Mathematics)
    Intersections with fractal sets*
  137. Yi, Kwang Moo (Computer Science)
    Visual 3D Reconstruction and Reasoning
  138. Yip, Calvin (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    Structural and functional studies of mammalian intracellular transport regulators
  139. Zahl, Joshua (Mathematics)
    Advances in harmonic analysis using algebraic and combinatorial techniques
  140. Zhang, Hao (Sauder School of Business)
    Solving Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes Through A Deep Primal-Dual Framework
  141. Zhu, Jian (Linguistics)
    Computational Approaches to Massively Multilingual Speech Recognition, Retrieval and Alignment*


The Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants program supports both ongoing programs of research with long-term goals, as well as research projects with long-term visions and short-term objectives .  

  1. Bryman, Douglas (Physics and Astronomy)
    Rare Kaon Decay Experiments
  2. Parra Martinez, Julio (Physics and Astronomy)
    Scattering Amplitudes and Gravitational Waves
  3. Rozali, Moshe (Physics and Astronomy)
    String theory, gravity and strongly interacting systems


Discovery Horizons grants support investigator-initiated individual and team projects that broadly integrate or transcend disciplines to advance knowledge in the natural sciences and engineering

  • MacAulay, Calum (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)
    Co-applicant: Myers, Renelle (Medicine)
    Angular contrast multimodal optical imaging for lung cancer assessment
  • Velenosi, Thomas (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Co-applicant: Rodrigues, Brian (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Developing tools for stable-isotope tracing lipidomics that will investigate cardiac lipid metabolism


    The Ship Time program allows those holding an NSERC Discovery Grant to apply for additional funds to access vessels in support of their research programs.

    1. Pawlowicz, Rich (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
      Lagrangian studies of plankton productivity and fluid dynamics in the Salish Sea


    The NSERC Research Tools and Instruments grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering by supporting the purchase of research equipment.

    1. Abolmaesumi, Purang (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
      Ultrasound Imaging for Next Generation Continuous and Distributed Learning
    2. Bizzotto, Dan (Chemistry)
      Super resolution localization microscopy (SRLM) for electrochemical interfaces
    3. Foster, Glen (Health and Social Development, UBC Okanagan)
      Quantifying human inspiratory muscle blood flow: A novel application of contrast-enhanced ultrasound
    4. Gujarati, Arpan (Computer Science)
      Dependable and Secure Cyber-Physical Systems Lab
    5. Jones, David (Physics and Astronomy)
      Tabletop XUV Ptychography
    6. Madison, Kirk (Physics and Astronomy)
      Apparatus Repair for Quantum Sensor and Quantum Materials Research
    7. Milner, Valery (Physics and Astronomy)
      Urgent replacement of a failed laser in the core experimental setup
    8. Stoeber, Boris (Mechanical Engineering)
      Quantification of Flow and Strain in Soft Materials
    9. Tobber, Lisa (School of Engineering, UBC Okanagan)
      Advanced Data Acquisition and Feedback Control System for Resilient Infrastructure
    10. Uhl, Alexander (School of Engineering, UBC Okanagan)
      Optical Spectroscopic Characterization Equipment for Solar Energy Research

    Full 2024 NSERC Discovery Research Program competition results