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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 5 | Mar. 7, 2002

Research matters

Disseminating knowledge cornerstone of strategy, says VP

by Indira Samarasekera, vice-president, Research

The University of British Columbia occupies a strikingly unique location that, historically and geographically, can be taken to symbolize the place of research in its current priorities.

UBC stretches westward on its promontory, the towers of the city in miniature behind it, the world’s largest ocean in front of and around it.

As a university, it did not start off in the bracing surroundings of West Point Grey: its faculty and students made what is known as the Great Trek in 1922 to rally support for a new campus, and gradually UBC as we know it took shape.

Creative, collaborative effort and the continual looking outwards beyond the known: these integral elements of UBC’s history are also the hallmarks of its many researchers, whose brilliance has made UBC one of Canada’s leading research universities.

Through research, we not only seek new knowledge of all forms of life on this planet, of all phenomena in nature and of the universe, but also satisfy the uniquely human desire to be creative.

We strive to understand our past in order to illuminate our present. We explore the complexities of our communities, our societies, our nation and our world so that we can create a future that is in the best interests of all concerned.

We give necessary depth and colour to our inner and outer lives through visual art, dance, music, literature and poetry. Every one of these scientific or artistic occupations generates scholarship that enriches our lives.

By conducting basic and applied research that gains international renown, and by fostering in its graduates superb creative and analytical skills, UBC aims to create innovative ideas and methodologies that will ultimately translate into benefits for society.

In research excellence, UBC is one of the top three Canadian universities. We provide a dynamic research environment that values academic freedom, creativity, curiosity and scholarly integrity, and gives high priority to the first-class infrastructure and administrative support that is essential for research.

The allocation of substantial research funding from a variety of sources provides further evidence of UBC’s merits as a centre of outstanding research in many fields.

We are attracting and retaining world-class researchers through new federal research initiatives, competitive salaries and start-up funding, endowed research chairs, seed funding for individual and team-based research endeavours, and graduate student support.

UBC is one of Canada’s most important social institutions today, for the simple reason that it is educating the nation’s citizens and creating knowledge -- and knowledge is the hard currency of this society. Investments in education and knowledge creation drive technological and social innovation, and are the cornerstones of social and economic policy.

Publicly funded universities are responsible for ensuring that knowledge is disseminated for public good. This is achieved through a university’s students; its research publications; the sciences, humanities and performing arts; technology transfer and the creation of companies; and through community, academic and professional service.

This responsibility has altered the image of a university from that of an ivory tower to a town hall, a community gathering place where vigorous debate is expected and encouraged.

To achieve our research goals at UBC, we have placed knowledge dissemination -- as well as partnerships with the community, government and industry -- at the forefront of our strategy.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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