Metro Vancouver and the University of British Columbia have signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that strengthens their ongoing collaboration to address regional economic, social and environmental sustainability challenges.
“Metro Vancouver and UBC are committed to creating and maintaining a livable, prosperous and ecologically healthy region where we live, and to contributing globally on these issues,” said Greg Moore, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board.
“This stronger relationship will provide new opportunities for UBC faculty and students to connect with our partners by working on projects that will directly benefit the region,” said Dr. Martha Piper, UBC’s Interim President, “Metro Vancouver will have the opportunity to draw on UBC’s substantial pool of expertise and research capacity to address important challenges facing cities, the region and the world.”
The MOU provides opportunities for expanded partnership in a number of important areas. Joint initiatives under this MOU fall into three categories:
- Research, Learning, and Innovation: UBC will connect students, faculty and staff to the region to address local issues. One of the key programs will be the new Sustainable Region Scholars program. Working under the guidance of Metro Vancouver staff, UBC graduate students from multiple disciplines will apply their research skills to projects that lead to tangible economic, ecological and social benefits for the region.
- Operations: Given the proximity of the West Point Grey Campus of UBC and the Pacific Spirit Regional Park, there will be on-going efforts to identify operational issues on which collaboration should be considered to develop joint approaches for action.
- Regional Prosperity: The two organizations will work together on areas of regional significance including climate change. Researchers from UBC are testing behaviour change programs for their impact on reducing energy use in UBC’s multi-family residential buildings which will help to inform the work of Metro Vancouver to develop effective actions to reduce carbon emissions across the region.
Metro Vancouver and UBC already have a strong history of collaboration on individual research projects and initiatives. Examples include collaboration in the reduction of waste going to landfill through the identification of potential products from wood waste which are now being tested for market feasibility and the development of innovative tools and techniques to better engage the public on planning issues related to climate change.
“Metro Vancouver and UBC share a commitment to sustainability, and we believe that to achieve long-term livability and prosperity, innovative, creative, and collaborative problem solving is required, which is why we have expanded our partnership,” added Chair Moore.
A Strategic Collaboration Joint Steering Committee will oversee the ongoing collaboration, and the agreement will be revisited every ten years.