One of the greatest differences between this and previous UBC Science plans is the extent to which we recognize the importance of public service and external engagement. In part, this reflects the divides highlighted by the pandemic, but it more generally reflects our shared conviction that we can and must do more to connect our academic endeavours with the world around us.

We have a significant opportunity to amplify the impact of existing external activities through greater coordination, as well as to shift our attention towards policy and strategic partnership. We must nurture relationships with Indigenous peoples to help us understand and together advance opportunities for collaboration. To ensure focus and academic alignment in our policy and partnership work, both of which represent strategic growth opportunities, we will establish a new Faculty leadership position. Our objective in these strategies is to strengthen the external orientation and bilateral connections of UBC Science to enhance our public contributions and to enrich the learning of our scholars and students.

Relationship-building to understand and incorporate Indigenous perspectives and practices.

The Indigenous Strategic Plan sets out goals and actions to advance UBC’s vision of becoming a leading university globally in the implementation of Indigenous peoples’ human rights. UBC Science commits to Indigenous engagement to help build understanding, promote Indigenous voices, and determine how best to work together. Guided by the framework of the Indigenous Strategic Plan, we will strive to listen and to learn, creating channels for dialogue with Indigenous communities. We will work to bolster recruitment, mentorship, and support of Indigenous scholars, staff, and students. We will seek to establish and sustain active research partnerships with Indigenous communities. And we will foster discussion and learning throughout UBC Science, forming a representative committee to guide this fundamental work.

Leadership in public dialogue and policy to further embed science in society.

We will strive to promote faculty and alumni participation at public events, educating citizens on scientific issues and learning about societal concerns. UBC Science attractions provide valuable opportunities for engagement: the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Pacific Museum of Earth, and the UBC Botanical and Nitobe Memorial gardens. We will work to develop stronger connections between our researchers and government, enhancing our capacity to shape policy. This includes initiating and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue in key topics. We will provide training and support for interested faculty, staff, and students in public engagement, which is a core competency in today’s world. We will explore opportunities to expand our channels for public education. Underlying this important work will be appropriate and coordinated resourcing in communications, government relations, and development. We will highlight and put mechanisms in place to sustain the synergies between this strategy and our research.

Strategic outreach and partnerships.

There are countless linkages between individual faculty members and departments and external organizations and initiatives, provincially and beyond. Our task is to stimulate, connect, and target these efforts, so they most effectively reflect our research and education priorities, enriching the experience of all those involved. We will centralize support and information to help coordinate relationship management across UBC Science. We will work actively with our alumni network to identify opportunities for partnership and to initiate and sustain these ventures. More broadly, we will improve coordination across our extensive outreach activities with children and schools (“K–12”), including those aspects that reinforce recruitment pipeline development for UBC Science.