UBC researchers to tackle global challenges caused by climate change and to explore bold and disruptive research

June 3, 2024

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced more than $92 million in funding through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) to support 165 Canadian-led research projects through two initiatives: the 2023 International Joint Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, and the 2023 Exploration competition.

A total of 15 UBC-led projects were awarded a combined total of $9.60 million through the two competitions.

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2023 International Joint Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Canada led the international joint initiative with an investment of $60 million to support 32 international interdisciplinary research projects, involving 424 researchers from 45 countries. These three-year projects focus on designing and implementing adaptation and mitigation strategies for vulnerable groups. These groups are currently the most impacted by climate change effects, because of their physical and socio-economic vulnerability. The initiative is also the result of a collaboration with research funders from Brazil, Germany, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, who together contributed a total of more than $30 million in additional funding to the research projects.

UBC-led projects

Four UBC-led projects were awarded a combined $6.86 million.

Community Water Systems: Climate vulnerabilities and resilience opportunities

Nominated Principal Investigator: Mohseni, Madjid (Chemical and Biological Engineering)

Co-Principal Investigators:  Ese, Anders (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design), Linden, Karl (University of Colorado Boulder), Thomas, Evan (University of Colorado Boulder)

Co-Applicants: Bergby, Synne (Urban-A) de Almeida, Bernardo (Urban-A) Kathuni, Styvers (Millennium Water Alliance) Kellett, Ronald (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture - The University of British Columbia) Larsen, Janike (Oslo School of Architecture and Design) Lien, Ida (Urban-A)  Lokman, Kees (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture - The University of British Columbia) Maleki, Keyvan (RESEAU Centre for Mobilizing Innovation)  McSorley, Brian (OXFAM) Muthike, Denis (University of Colorado Boulder) Swei, Omar (Civil Engineering - The University of British Columbia)

International Co-funding Partners: National Science Foundation, The Research Council of Norway

Research Summary
Co-developing Decision Support System for Coastal Mangrovebased Socio-ecological Systems in Eastern and Western Africa (CoastMan) 

Nominated Principal Investigator: Sunderland, Terence (Forest and Conservation Sciences)

Co-Principal Investigators: Morel, Alexandra (University of Dundee) van Blerk, Lorraine (University of Dundee) Zeleke, Belachew (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research NIBIO)

Co-Applicants:  Aheto, Denis (Centre for Coastal Management - ACECoR, University of Cape Coast) Alem, Habtamu (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research NIBIO) Alemu, Diress (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) Bayr, Ulrike (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research NIBIO) Debella-Gilo, Misganu (NMBU) Jilala, Zawadi (CBO Community Based Organisation) Rizzi, Jonathan (NIBIO - Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) Salim, Suleiman (Community Forest Management Agreement/Area for Mtambwe Kusini and Shumba Mjini Shehia-Pemba, Zanzibar) Seki, Hamidu (Mkwawa University College of Education) Shirima, Deo (Sokoine University of Agriculture) Sumaila, U. Rashid (Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries /  School of Public Policy and Global Affairs - The University of British Columbia)

International Co-funding Partners: The Research Council of Norway, UK Research and Innovation

Research Summary
Addressing Intersecting Crises: Climate, Housing, and Compounding Health Vulnerabilities for Senior Tenants 

Nominated Principal Investigator: Yoon, Liv (Kinesiology)

Co-Principal Investigators: Arefin, Mohammed (Geography - The University of British Columbia) Hernandez, Diana (Columbia University) Klein, Naomi (Geography / Centre for Climate Justice - The University of British Columbia) Koch, Sarah (Barcelona Institute for Global Health ISGlobal) Masuda, Jeff (University of Victoria) Pratt, Geraldine (Geography - The University of British Columbia) Triguero-Mas, Margarita (Barcelona Institute for Global health ISGlobal)

Co-Applicants: Bigger, Patrick (Tides Center) Furmanek, Jeannie ( South Vancouver Neighbourhood House) Parks, Robbie (University Mailman School of Public Health) Sakamoto, Andrew ( Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre)

Reserach Summary
Agroecological Transitions for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation 

Nominated Principal Investigator: Wittman, Hannah (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability / Land and Food Systems)

Co-Principal Investigators: Mancano Fernandes, Bernardo (Sao Paulo State University UNESP) Raghavan Sathyan, Archana (Kerala Agricultural University) Seufert, Verena (University of Hohenheim)

Co-Applicants: Coca, Estevan (São Paulo State University) Kernecker, Maria (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) Sansolo, Davis (São Paulo State University UNESP) Smukler, Sean (Land and Food Systems - The University of British Columbia)

International Co-funding Partners: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), Sao Paulo Research Foundation

Research Summary


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NFRF Exploration Stream

The NFRF Exploration stream supports projects that bring disciplines together to reach beyond traditional disciplinary or common interdisciplinary approaches by research teams. Researchers are encouraged to undertake research that would defy current paradigms; bring disciplines together in unexpected ways and from bold, innovative perspectives; and have the potential to be disruptive or deliver game-changing impacts. This year, $33 million was awarded to 133 research projects.

UBC-led Projects

Eleven UBC-led projects were awarded a combined $2.75m

  • Baada, Jemima Nomunume (Geography)
    Using gender transformative agroecology for climate change adaptation among smallholders in Ghana and Rwanda
    Co-Principal Investigator: Dusenge, Mirindi Eric (Mount Allison University)
    Co-Applicant: Luginaah, Isaac (Western University); kpienbaareh, Daniel (Illinois State); Nsabimana, Donat (University of Rwanda); Soliku, Ophelia (Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies)

    Research Summary


  • Byers, Michael (Political Sciences)
    Coordination challenges on-and-around the Moon 
    Co-Principal Investigator: Boley, Aaron (Physics & Astronomy)

    Research Summary


  • Dahmen, Joseph (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture)
    Modular mycelium composting toilet
    Co-Applicant: Moraes, Christopher (McGill); Hallam, Steven (Microbiology and Immunology)

    Research Summary


  • Fairbairn, Nadia (Medicine)
    Evaluating Longitudinal Evidence for using health incentiVes to Address and Treat Opioid Use Disorder Effectively (The ELEVATE Study)
    Co-Principal Investigator: Richardson, Lindsey (Sociology)
    Co-Applicant: Dennis, Brittany (Medicine); Bach, Paxton (Medicine); Fleury, Mathew (Simon Fraser University); Ibrahim, Mohamed (Social Work); Jaffe, Kaitlyn (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Johnson, Cheyenne (BC Centre on Substance Use/ Nursing); Socias, Maria Eugenia (BC Centre on Substance Use/ Medicine); Nolan, Seonaid (Medicine)

    Research Summary


  • Ford, Nancy (Dentistry)
    Effects of e-cigarettes on respiratory and oral health
    Co-Applicants: Laronde, Denise (Dentistry); Bertram, Allan (Chemistry)

    Research Summary


  • Gsponer, Joerg (Biochemistry/Michael Smith Laboratories)
    Out of time: Combining AI, Statistical Physics and Biochemistry to Develop In-silico techniques for molecular scale simulation of nucleation events
    Co-Principal Investigator: Sinclair, Chad (Materials Engineering)

    Research Summary


  • Harten, Julia Gabriele (School of Community and Regional Planning / School of Public Policy and Global Affairs)
    Opening the Approvals Black Box: Leveraging Large Language Models and City Council Public Records to Understand Housing Supply
    Co-Principal Investigator: Thrampoulidis, Christos (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

    Research Summary


  • Holmes-Cerfon, Miranda (Mathematics)
    Disordered Lattices: Mathematical Pathways to Engineering New Materials
    Co-Principal Investigator: Clare, Adam (Mechanical Engineering)

    Research Summary


  • Kuo, Calvin (School of Biomedical Engineering)
    The Role of Risk-Taking and Exploration in Motor Learning for Children 
    Co-Applicant: Zwicker, Jill (Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy / BC Children's Hospital); Blouin, Jean-Sébastien (Kinesiology)

    Research Summary


  • Vu, Ly (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Decoding cell fate regulatory networks through single cell omics and modelling approaches
    Co-Principal Investigator: Park, Yongjin (Statistics)

    Research Summary


  • Williams, Karla (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Detection and Categorization of Cancers using Nanoaperture Optical Trapping of Single Extracellular Vesicles
    Co-Principal Investigator: Gordon, Reuven (University of Victoria)

    Research Summary

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