Twenty-seven research excellence clusters led by researchers on the Vancouver campus were funded through the Research Excellence Clusters initiative in 2019. These clusters are inter-departmental networks of researchers at UBC who collectively represent leaders in a particular field of study.
Clusters are recognized as either established or emerging depending on multiple factors relating to their developmental stage and funding requirements.
The 27 Research Excellence Clusters receiving funding through the 2018 Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters (GCRC) competition were announced in December 2018.
The capabilities of innovative, transformative products will be shaped by the materials from which they are made. Tomorrow's complex products need to be safer, stronger and more sustainable. This is one of the great scientific challenges of our time, where UBC has made a sustained, international contribution, anchored on digital manufacturing and advanced simulations of materials.
Cluster Lead: Warren Poole
The British Columbia Regenerative Medicine Initiative (BCRegMed) supports the coalescence of academic, industry and government entities to foster collaborative activities within the BC regenerative medicine community. The group aims to engage and mobilize the scientific and entrepreneurial community in BC to facilitate the translation and commercialization of basic discoveries.
Cluster Lead: Fabio Rossi
The most remarkable feature of our planet is the diversity of its life forms, but this biodiversity is threatened by anthropogenic impacts, including climate change. The Biodiversity Research Cluster will identify global change impacts on biodiversity and offer solutions to challenges associated with these changes.
Cluster Lead: Loren Rieseberg
Designing for People (dfp.ubc.ca) takes an intensely multidisciplinary approach to human-centered research and design of interactive technologies, to address complex problems requiring diverse viewpoints and methodologies by integrated teams. DFP is sharing this approach through many pathways, from an NSERC CREATE graduate training program to regional outreach and translation initiatives.
Cluster Lead: Karon MacLean
The Diversified Agroecosystems Research Cluster uses ecological and systems analysis perspectives for integrated research on sustainable food systems that can feed the world while cooling the planet, protecting biodiversity, and promoting food sovereignty. Our network brings together leading researchers worldwide to create novel, next-generation, grassroots generated and open-data food systems assessment strategies from citizen science to remote sensing.
Cluster Lead: Hannah Wittman
The Gynecologic Cancer Initiative will accelerate transformative research and translational practice on prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship of reproductive cancers. This will be done in collaboration with women throughout BC and through synergistic partnering of research institutions, scientists, and clinicians to reduce the incidence and mortality of these cancers by 50% in the next 15 years.
Cluster Lead: Gavin Stuart
UBC is a centre for ground-breaking research and education in the science of language that together enable positive impacts in society. UBC Language Sciences facilitates collaborations that advance our understanding of how language shapes our individual and collective human experience.
Cluster Lead: Janet Werker
There are currently no disease-modifying therapies for 2.5 million Canadians suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The aim of The UBC Airway Centre is to address the growing burden of COPD and other airway conditions in BC and elsewhere by finding better diagnostics and therapies for patients.
Cluster Lead: Don Sin
Wingspan Dis/ability Arts, Culture & Public Pedagogy Cluster is composed of and by the Wingspan Collaborative at UBC, which is an intellectual ‘studio’ of interdisciplinary scholars in disability studies, arts, culture and public pedagogy across many disciplines who collaborate and establish research excellence on common projects regarding the rights of people with disabilities and who pro-actively promote the idea that while individual disabilities pose impairments, they should not be seen as deficits but instead as differences that enrich collective human experience and the arts. We identify variously as disabled, non-disabled or as artists who focus on disability aesthetics between and among artist/researcher/teacher in the broadest sense of these terms, hence, we are Dis/A/R/Tographers in an unequal global world. We perform inclusion and accessibility through the first Canadian Dis/Deaf artist-residency program launched in the K-12 schools. Through public pedagogies, we ask: What do inclusion and accessibility mean to our schools and the dis/Deaf artists and the students who collaborate with them? What and how we can learn from the voices of students and artists with disabilities?
Cluster Lead: Leslie Roman
Sepsis kills more individuals worldwide yearly than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and HIV combined. Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection damages organs. Our team ‘Action on Sepsis’ will deliver cutting-edge innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sepsis in British Columbia and around the world.
Cluster Lead: Mark Ansermino
In response to recent shortages and alarming declines of wild and managed bee populations, the BeeHIVE cluster explores the honey bee’s role as pollinator, producer, and biomonitor. Using innovative fingerprinting tools, we seek to understand how these critical functions are impacted by environmental exposures (both natural and human caused), with the common goal of improving the fate of the honey bee.
Cluster Lead: Dominique Weis
Big data refers to data that is large in scale, primarily data that has been collected through, or made available by digital technologies; e.g., Twitter Posts, Facebook posts, mobile phone records, comments on newspaper articles, tax filings, voter registration, restaurant reviews, scanning of archival documents, etc. There are societal and scholarly demands to develop high quality personnel who have the skills to analyze these data. The purpose of the Big Data and Computational Social Science Research Cluster is to strengthen the research community working in this area by attracting attention to work currently being done by scholars at UBC, facilitating networking amongst those conducting research in this area, developing synergies amongst those currently working in this area at UBC, and developing infrastructure and pursuing funding opportunities to enable UBC to develop further in this scholarly field.
Cluster Lead: David Tindall
Our Grand Challenge is to develop a deeper understanding of how molecular, cellular and tissue structure and organization relate to normal and diseased tissue function. To address this challenge, we will make use of vast amounts of data from multi-modal, multi-scale biomedical imaging, which we will collect/access, manage, and interpret holistically through advanced artificial intelligence. This understanding will help alleviate pressures on healthcare systems by enabling effective personalized medicine.
Cluster Lead: Tim Salcudean
Our Grand Challenge is to implement a living lab model in the design and development of bionic devices, where the needs of end users are built into the devices from the start. To address this challenge, we engage with patients and industry specialists to develop project teams that connect these end users with interdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers and clinicians with a goal of generating assistive and medical products that offer measurable improvements in quality of life.
Cluster Lead: John Madden
The Blockchain is a critical ledger that enables a trusted environment for transactions without the intervention of a centralized mechanism. Actual and proposed applications encompass cryptocurrencies, (e.g. Bitcoin) payment systems, clearing and settlement, securities trading, supply chain management, identity management, notarial services, the Internet of Things, land transfer and registration, health record keeping, voting, intellectual property management, and beyond. Blockchain @UBC harnesses research talent from across UBC and collaborations with an industry consortium to address some of the most significant challenges facing this rapidly emerging technology, including security, scalability, and records lifecycle management.
Cluster Lead: Victoria Lemieux
The Critical+Creative Social Justice Studies is an international, interdisciplinary collaborative framework of scholars, artists and activists. With an anti-colonial and intersectional approach, its speculative, critical, and critical practices and research aim at the development of a transformative approach that attends to current social and ecological conditions.
Cluster Lead: Denise Ferreira da Silva
A fundamental challenge within Neuroscience is to understand behaviour through connectomics, a knowledge of molecular and cellular information mapped onto the pathways that connect brain cells together. A central focus for neuroscientists at UBC is the study of brain connections, including their dynamic changes during normal development and learning and how these connections become dysfunctional in neuropsychiatric disease.
Cluster Lead: Timothy Murphy
Our Cluster will bring together experts in medicine, public health and policy, and the social and natural sciences to determine how children's social environments influence their physical and psychological exposures to impact their health and development and lead to the persistent health disparities in our society. We will do this by exploring the "social exposome," the cumulative social exposures over the life course that influence development from conception onwards.
Cluster Lead: Michael Kobor
The Marine Systems Research Cluster brings together a diverse group of USC researchers from electrical, computer & systems engineering, computer science, naval architecture & marine engineering, public health and psychology to reduce the environmental footprint and increase the safety and situational awareness of both merchant and naval ships.
Cluster Lead: David Michelson
The UBC Migration Research Cluster explores the global challenge of international migration. Bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines and community organizations, this cluster examines the determinants and consequences of international migration, and focuses on the legal governance of migration and refugee flows, immigrant and refugee integration, the nexus between migration and Indigeneity, and the relationship between immigration and national identity.
Cluster Lead: Antje Ellermann
The cluster's research aims to advance our understanding of the mechanistic principles of healthy balance control and the mechanisms that underlie balance deficits and falls. Our research will provide the foundation for developing improved clinical balance screening tools, effective therapeutic interventions and new technological advances to reduce the likelihood and impact of balance deficits and falls.
Cluster Lead: Mark Carpenter
This Research Cluster proceeds from the understanding that the questions we ask about our time depend on full and evidence-based understandings of the past, and, at the same time, that present-day concerns continually shape and inform our engagement with that past. We seek to explore both the forms of representation of the past, and their uses: how the past is excavated (literally and metaphorically) and expressed in relation to contemporary practices and concerns.
Cluster Lead: Anne Murphy
Quantum computing is the next wave of fundamental science poised to revolutionize human experience. We want to discover and create the technology on which quantum computations will be run in the next two decades. The challenge is to produce a universal quantum computer that is demonstrably scalable and which also achieves a practical quantum advantage over classical computers.
Cluster Lead: Lukas Chrostowski
This Cluster will address the Grand Challenge of the 'criminocentric' understanding of crime, rehabilitation, and recidivism, by creating a research and policy agenda to address health and justice inequities experienced by individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. We will focus on three themes: (1) Determinants of Health and Justice, (2) Incarceration, (3) (Re)integration.
Cluster Lead: Ruth Elwood Martin
This UBC Research-Based Theatre collaborative builds out of a growing interest from researchers across disciplines to employ creative means of knowledge exchange with stakeholders, communities, and other researchers. Through careful and ethical presentations of dramatized data, Research-Based Theatre catalyzes dialogue towards positive change through interactive engagement with diverse audiences and communities.
Cluster Lead: George Belliveau
Women’s health research is vital to explore how unique factors, both biological and societal, contribute to health in women. Women experience poorer health from missed diagnoses, minimized symptoms, greater burdens of specific diseases, and poorly targeted treatment than men. Although there is much focus on how biological sex alters disease trajectory and outcome, it is important to study the physiological and societal challenges unique to women that directly influence women’s health. This research cluster and network will provide the research and clinical communities with invaluable information that will make help make women healthier.
Cluster Lead: Liisa Galea
Research Clusters led by researchers at our Okanagan campus are funded through the Eminence Program.