UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 5 | Mar.
Disseminating knowledge cornerstone of strategy,
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 worlds 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 UBCs
history are also the hallmarks of its many researchers, whose brilliance
has made UBC one of Canadas 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 UBCs
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 Canadas most important social
institutions today, for the simple reason that it is educating the
nations 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 universitys students; its research publications;
the sciences, humanities and performing arts; technology transfer
and the creation of companies; and through community, academic and
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.