UBC researchers awarded more than $2.8m through New Frontiers in Research Fund Competitions

April 4, 2022

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced a total of over $45 million in support for research projects through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF).

This combined investment will support 751 researchers, including 245 early career researchers. These projects were part of two competitions under the banner of the NFRF: the 2021 Exploration competition; and the NFRF special call on innovative approaches to research in the pandemic context.

Twelve projects led by UBC researchers were awarded more than $2.8m through the federal New Frontiers in Research Fund 2021 Exploration and Special Call Streams.

This year’s NFRF Exploration stream supports 102 research projects with the potential to yield innovative results in social, cultural, economic, health-related and technological areas.

The NFRF special call on innovative approaches to research in the pandemic context supports 90 research projects that will accelerate the development and testing of new directions in research methodologies. While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted Canadian researchers’ ability to conduct research, particularly community and field-based research, it has also provided a unique opportunity to explore new, innovative directions in how research is conducted. 


2021 Exploration stream UBC-LED PROJECTS

Seven UBC-led projects were awarded a combined $1.7 million

  • PI: Jakobi, Jennifer (School of Health and Exercise Sciences UBCO)
    Co-PI: Boger, Jennifer (University of Waterloo)
    Virtual Reality: A relevant, safe, trusted and co-created platform with older adults
  • PI: MacLean, Karon (Computer Science)
    Co-applicant: Mikami, Amori (Psychology)
    Designing for Subversion: Finding a Framework for Embodying Teen Social Interaction in a Robot Swarm
  • PI: Matsubara, Joanne (Opthalmology and Visual Sciences)
    Co-PI: Ju, Myeong Jin (School of Biomedical Engineering) Co-applicant: Leavitt, Blair (Medical Genetics / CMMT)
    In Vivo Imaging for Investigating Neurodegenerative Diseases of the Brain and Eye
  • PI: Ortner, Christoph (Mathematics)
    Co-PI: Militzer, Matthias (Materials Engineering)
    Hybrid Mechanistic/Data-driven Models for Interatomic Potentials
  • PI: Shakiba, Nika (School of Biomedical Engineering)
    Co-applicant: Bader, Gary (University of Toronto)
    Cell simulator: a computer-driven approach to genetically programming cells
  • PI: Tobber, Lisa (School of Engineering UBCO)
    Co-PI: Benoit, Michael (School of Engineering UBCO) Co-applicant: Perley, Bernard (Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies)
    Using Indigenous ways of knowing to design novel structural components and systems
  • PI: Wang, Ying (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)
    Co-PI: Clint Miller (University of Virginia)
    Beyond morphology: Convert disease-related gene networks to pixels in digital pathology to solve the puzzle of “vulnerable plaques” that lead to cardiovascular events

See all 2021 Exploration Stream recipients

2021 Special call UBC-LED PROJECTS

Five UBC-led projects were awarded  a combined $1.1 million

  • PI: Kobor, Michael (Medical Genetics)
    Co-applicants: Bidlack, Felicitas (Harvard); Brooks, Jeffrey (University of Toronto); Dunn, Erin (Harvard); Soma, Kiran (Psychology); Weis, Dominique (Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Developing an integrated, innovative platform for retrospectively quantifying the prenatal and early child exposome using deciduous teeth
  • PI: Oliffe, John (Nursing)
    Co-applicants; Darroch, Francine (Carleton); Kealy, David (Psychiatry); McKenzie, Sarah (University of Otagao); Mootz, Jennifer (Columbia University); Ogrodniczuk, John (Psychiatry); Rice, Simon (University of Melbourne); Seidler, Zac (University of Melbourne)
    Men Building Intimate Partner Relationships
  • PI: Pratap Singh, Anubhav (Land and Food Systems)
    Co-applicants: Ahmadou Ahidjo, Bintou (UBC FINDER); Bacca, Mattia (Mechanical Engineering); Jiang, Feng (Wood Science); Kitts, David (Land and Food Systems); Perrin, David (Chemistry); Sin, Don (Medicine / Centre for Heart Lung Innovation); Thamboo, Andrew (Surgery / Centre for Heart Lung Innovation)
    In-vitro and In-vivo trials on the aerosolized rhACE2 intranasal delivery approach for treating mild COVID-19 system patients
  • PI: Tworek, Heidi (History /  School of Public Policy and Global Affairs)
    Co-applicants: byma, magda (Canadian Association of Science Centres); Hodson, Jaigris (Royal Roads University)
    Mobilizing a Network of Health Communicators to Investigate and Respond to Online Abuse
  • PI: Wittman, Hannah (Land and Food Systems / Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability)
    Co-applicants: Dao Duc, Khanh (Mathematics); Garibaldi, Lucas (Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro); Siddique, Ilyas (Federal University of Santa Catarina)
    Digital Solutions for Advancing Agroecological Transitions

See all 2021 Special Call recipients