UBC’s Faces of
Before the application of research, before the patent, ethics review, donations or grants, there is a person with a desire to discover. They embark into the unknown, making inquiries, investigating what has been and inquiring into the possibilities by asking why not? Through their research, they uncover new truths that result in our lives, and our world, being changed for the better.
At UBC, the collaborative environment where new ways of thinking are embraced and nurtured, research discoveries are often in the news — but what of the researcher themselves? Who is behind the application of the research? Who was the person, bent on discovery, that successfully made the journey to new knowledge?
Herewith, a spotlight on some of the individuals behind three national research groups who collectively contribute to UBC’s standing as a leading research university.
In 2008, the Canadian federal government launched the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS). The goal: bolster Canada’s ability to attract and retain the world’s best and brightest doctoral students and in doing so, underscore and advance the Canada’s centres of excellence in research and higher teaching — top-tier universities such as UBC.
The Vanier CGS focus in on graduate students who demonstrate strong leadership skills and high standards of ‘scholarly achievement’ in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health or engineering.
Open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and international students, the eligible candidates are nominated by the host university and if chosen, the Vanier CGS offers these top-tier students ‘a significant financial award’ — $50,000 per annum for up to three years — to assist their studies. The principal caveat: these scholarships are not transferable and must be held by the student at the university that nominated him or her.
Split equally between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the $25-million per annum Vanier CGS fund creates up to 167 new Vanier Scholars a year with more than 500 scholarships active at any one time.
Each year, UBC nominates a number of outstanding scholars to the national competition. In 2014, 31 of these gifted UBC graduate students accepted Vanier Scholarships, more than were awarded at any other Canadian university. Beyond the obvious personal benefits of the award for each student, their time as scholars at UBC enriches the campus on all levels. Not only do they contribute to the university’s reputation as a global centre of research excellence but their leadership and influence extends to all students within graduate studies and beyond at UBC.
UBC’s graduate students play an integral role in our research success. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships help us to attract the brightest scholars from around the world as they strive to advance their academic careers.“
— Dr . John Hepburn, Vice President Research & International
Call them catalysts, magnets, even disruptors; the federal Canada Research Chair (CRC) program is specifically designed to "attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds."
Backed by CRC funding, these gifted professors, eminent academics and researchers — the Chairs — ‘set up shop’ in Canadian universities, freed to focus on research excellence and so attract top-notch students and researchers from around the world; the goal being that insights and theories through collective work will translate into tangible realities.
Engineering, natural and health sciences, humanities and social sciences; the CRC mandate is to "improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness" and increase the host universities’ reach and prestige.
Fuelled by about $265 million per annum, CRC chairs are Tier I (seven-year renewable, $200,000 per annum) or Tier II (five-year, renewable once, $100,000 per annum). Tier I targets globally recognized, established researchers: the maestros. Tier II focuses on the protégées, the ‘exceptional emerging’ minds and potential.
With a combined total of up to 186 Tier 1 and Tier 2 chairs, UBC receives well over $20m per year in research funding through the Canada Research Chairs program. Via the chairs’ research, connections and institutional collaborations, the payoffs nearly always transcend immediate research results. By supervising, training and actively mentoring their students — the next generation of fertile, highly qualified minds — they contribute to the long-term environment of the university where innovation and bold thinking are given the freedom to flourish.
UBC’s Canada Research Chairs are pushing the boundaries of knowledge in an incredibly diverse range of disciplines.“
— Dr. John Hepburn, Vice President Research & International
They are peer-elected as the "best in their field," a recognition that any independent scholar, researcher, scientist or creative person in Canada is deeply honoured to receive. Indeed, to be recognized and asked to join the RSC and be named as a Fellow is the ultimate recognition of a life and career of ongoing achievement.
Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada was conceived as this nation’s pre-eminent and senior collegium to promote learning and research "and provide intellectual leadership for the betterment of Canada and the world."
Over its 130-year plus history, the RSC has welcomed more than 3,700 scholars and artists into its prestigious ranks; only the best, peer-selected by the best. When first conceived, the Society’s focus was in Eastern Canada, mainly Ontario and Quebec, and unabashedly male. Today, it’s nation wide, more than 2,000 strong, tightly linked within and gender inclusive; women now comprise 28 percent of the fellowship.
UBC is proud of its faculties’ proportionally large involvement with the RSC and what is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, sciences and humanities in Canada. In 2014, the RSC inducted five UBC professors as fellows and another two UBC professors were part of the inaugural cohort of the RSC’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. As the national recognition deepens, UBC’s standing as a leading research university grows.
The recognition that UBC faculty receive from the Royal Society of Canada, our nation’s preeminent body of scholars, artists and scientists, has solidified our reputation as a place where exceptional researchers help shape a better world.”
— Dr. John Hepburn, Vice President Research & International
Thank you to all who participated in the photo shoots:
Vanier Scholars: Kaylee Byers, Sam Stiegler, Rowan Cockett, Richie Nojang Khatami, Lindsey Heagy, Jackie Lerner, Jennifer Lay, Sabine Lague, David Twa, Kari Grain, Erin Macri, Miriam Matejova, Victor Li, Sahan Ranamukhaarachchi, Andrea Jones, Crystal Karakochuk, Alessio Gallina, Ron Darvin
Canada Research Chairs: Toni Schmader, Jeremy Seamans, Christian Schoof, Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, Srikantha Phani, Yvonne Lamers, Gabriela Cohen Freue, Carles Vilarino-Guell, Christina Laffin, Abel Rosado, Jiaying Zhao, Carla Nappi, Susanne Clee, Martin Ordonez, Kiley Hamlin
Royal Society of Canada: Karen Bakker, Alan Mackworth, Harvey Richer, Mark MacLachlan, David Granville, Michael Richards, Doug Oldenburg, Susan B. Boyd, David P. Wilkinson, Judith G Hall, Chris Orvig
Thank you to Liz Bell Agency: Luisa Rino (Stylist), Melanie Neufeld, Anya Ellis (Hair and Makeup).
Story team: UBC Communications and Marketing — Martin Dee, UBC Photographer; Margaret Doyle, Digital Storyteller; Adrian Liem, Senior Web Coordinator; Mark Pilon, Communication Designer; Jamil Rhajiak, Communications Coordinator, Digital Information Channels; Charlotte Sander, Marketing and Communications Associate; Matt Warburton, Manager, Graphic Design; Aida Viziru, Web Interaction Designer. Additional research and copywriting — David Leidl, Copy Editor and Researcher.
Published: January 2015