Context

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam).


Home to science at one of the world’s top public universities, UBC Science brings together a community of students and scholars internationally recognized for their commitment to advancing human knowledge and understanding, through invention, discovery, learning, and innovation.

Initiated in 2011, our previous strategic plan (Advancing Science) guided the Faculty for a decade, with significant strides made during this period. Research funding grew gradually in a highly competitive landscape, with UBC Science strengthened by Canada Research, Canada 150, and President’s Excellence chairs. The Faculty launched the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, recognized globally for its research impact, the Data Science Institute to incubate and accelerate innovation and training, and the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, a world-leading research group. Almost 100 new faculty members came to UBC Science between 2015 and 2020 through an ambitious hiring program, maintaining our faculty complement and renewing its strength and continuing promise. The renowned Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) transformed undergraduate science education through the evidence-informed renewal of teaching methods reaching over 16,000 undergraduates each year. The 60 educational leadership faculty in UBC Science may represent one of the largest groups of scholars in the world focused on science pedagogy and learning. The number of students concentrating in a Science program specialization increased by 31% from 2010 to 2020, notably through attracting international students, while total Science teaching increased by 38%. UBC Science also established itself as a leader in data-based approaches to understanding the impact of gender and race on faculty hiring and progression, with women faculty representation rising by five percentage points during the timeframe of Advancing Science.

These achievements reflect the foundational academic strengths of UBC Science. They demonstrate the capacity and commitment of our people. They also reinforce the advantages of place. As part of UBC, we can work with colleagues, leverage connections, and access facilities that are among the best in the world. Our location in the Pacific Northwest, with its associated opportunities for study and partnership, is a key factor in the success of UBC Science in environmental science, biological science, quantum matter and algorithms, computer science, and data science. Our external context is starkly different to that which prevailed ten years ago, as is the complexity of societal challenges. Most of these problems can only be addressed through an interdisciplinary perspective, data analytics and collaboration. The convergence and escalation in 2020 of global crises in public health, the environment, and racism only reinforced this dynamic. The pandemic has severely tested and damaged public trust in science, fueled by misinformation and polarized national responses. Research is increasingly conducted at scale, learning technologies are increasingly pervasive and effective, students are increasingly demanding a distinctive, holistic experience, and universities are increasingly competing for faculty and staff talent. Moreover, educational institutions have a crucial responsibility to help advance Indigenous reconciliation and social justice.

The world is at an inflection point, as is the Faculty. Building from the strength of our community, expertise, and relative advantages, UBC Science is poised to play a key role in preparing students, attracting and developing scholars and leaders, and building knowledge to help understand and address the challenges of today and tomorrow.