Survey Findings: Services Provided by VPRI Portfolio

Earlier this summer, the Vice-President, Research & Innovation launched a survey to the UBC community to gather input and advice on the range of services offered by the portfolio, and the extent to which those services are meeting the needs of the research community.

We would like to thank the hundreds of people who took time to respond to the survey.  Your input is critical for helping to align the services provided with the needs of the research community.

This page summarizes what we learned and describes actions we will take to improve the services offered.

Survey Format

Survey respondents were asked to provide responses to questions in the following areas:

  • Basic demographic information
  • How the VPRI portfolio communicates with the UBC research community
  • Which VPRI units they were familiar with, which units they had engaged with in the last two years, and finally, which ones they would be willing to provide more feedback on. 
  • Unit-specific questions designed to help us understand satisfaction levels with the services of that unit.

Response rate

The survey was distributed widely on both campuses.  979 responses were received in total, 835 from the Vancouver campus, and 144 from the Okanagan campus.  496 respondees provided full responses for all units they have interacted with.

Faculty, students, trainees and staff were all represented in the responses from both campuses.  These researchers and scholars came from a variety of Faculties and administrative units. The three most highly represented faculties on each campus are listed below.

Okanagan campus

  • IKB School of Arts & Sciences (38%)
  • School of Engineering (19%)
  • Faculty of Health & Social Development (16%)

Vancouver campus

  • Faculty of Medicine (39%)
  • Faculty of Science (16.5%)
  • Faculty of Arts (16%)

  • Key findings & responses

    Overall, the community was generally satisfied with services provided and offered helpful, constructive advice about how the services can be improved.

    System-wide feedback

    A couple of consistent themes emerged relating to how the VPRI and its portfolio units can better inform the research community about the range of support offered and available opportunities:

    1. Increased clarity in describing services provided
      Unit names are not always intuitive and do not necessarily reflect how researchers look for services, while other terms are ambiguous in meaning.
      Response: We are developing a more user-focused communications framework that emphasizes the services we offer rather than reflecting our organizational structure. Our services will be described using language that makes better sense to those who use those services.
    2. Proactive delivery of information
      Information on external and internal funding opportunities, prizes and initiatives is currently dispersed across websites both within and outside the VPRI portfolio, requiring prior knowledge of where to find this information.
      Response:  We will aim to establish a consolidated, reliable platform to proactively deliver details of funding calls and other opportunities identified as being of interest to the UBC research community. 

    Unit-Specific Feedback

    Very specific suggestions were made about ways different units in the portfolio could enhance the services offered to faculty and staff. Each unit leader identified ways to address many of these suggestions, some of which include: 

    • The Advanced Research Computing team will prepare an outreach and orientation program for the new Digital Research Infrastructure that will soon be operational at UBC;
    • The Animal Care & Use Program will review the timing of its animal training labs and the way information about these is communicated to the research community;
    • entrepreneurship @UBC will be refreshing its approach to ensuring its services are available to a broad audience at the University;
    • Our Indigenous Research Support Initiative is planning several Research Days to more regularly orient the community to its work;
    • The Institutional Programs Office will be implementing a new set of orientation sessions for researchers;
    • Staff in the Office of Research Ethics will provide enhanced training and support to Research Ethics  Board members;
    • Our team in the Office of Research Services is going to establish and monitor metrics that will inform them about service efficiencies;
    • Research prizes & awards will be supported with the implementation of a new institutional awards strategy and the introduction of a new “Office of Research Awards & Prizes” with enhanced resources to support the development of nominations;
    • The Sequencing and Bioinformatics Consortium is planning to develop a series of training modules targeted at student to complement the suite of consultation services that are already available to researchers and research staff;
    • UBC Press is planning to develop a series of publishing workshops on both campuses based on the feedback that stakeholders want more direct acquisitions outreach;
    • The University-Industry Liaison Office is going to find additional opportunities for automation of standard processes to create more time for customer engagement; and
    • The UBC-Okanagan Office of Research Services will provide proactive communications regarding funding opportunities, program details or changes, and application deadlines.  The website will also contain clearer information about the services we offer and who to contact to make use of them.

    Further feedback

    We genuinely appreciate the compliments, criticism, and advice provided in survey responses.  We are keen to hear from you any time you would like to share feedback on the services of the VP Research & Innovation portfolio.  Please contact us at