$27 million boost to UBC research into health, sustainability, IT

UBC receives more than $27 million in funding from the provincial government via the BC Knowledge and Development Fund.

The University of British Columbia has received more than $27 million in funding from the provincial government for a number of research projects, announced today by Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

The investment from the BC Knowledge and Development Fund (BCKDF) will boost research into a wide range of areas, including diabetes, next generation lighting, crop adaptation, software development, and antibiotic development.

“As one of the world’s top academic institutions, UBC is grateful for the provincial government’s support so our talented scientists can make new discoveries in areas like health, life sciences, and science and technology,” said Helen Burt, UBC associate vice-president, research and international.

“This investment in UBC has the potential to bring significant social and economic benefits to all British Columbians.” Among the funded projects is the Canucks for Kids Fund Childhood Diabetes Laboratories, led by UBC diabetes researcher Bruce Verchere at BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. A $3.2 million funding investment in new state-of-the-art technology will help further research into diabetes prediction, treatment and prevention.

“The research enabled by this infrastructure will lead to new ways to predict, prevent, and treat diabetes for the many children in this province affected by this devastating disease,” said Verchere. Established in 1998, BCKDF investments are meant to strengthen scientific research and foster talent at post-secondary institutions, research hospitals and affiliated non-profit agencies across the province. UBC Science projects funded in the announcement include:

Efficient solid-state lighting and next-generation nano-electronics

  • Zachary Hudson (Chemistry)

Funding will be used to create a laboratory with a focus on developing new materials for efficient next-generation display and lighting panels. Solid-state lighting based on organic light-emitting diodes is a promising technology with the potential to address concerns such as the impact of lighting on greenhouse gas emissions.

Insect respiratory adaptation

  • Philip Matthews (Zoology)

Funding will be used to develop a microscopic sensor to monitor blood oxygen and acidity within insects to understand how insects respond to environmental disturbances, manage beneficial insect populations, and mitigate damage done by vectors of disease and pests.

Plant research on environmental stresses

  • Abel Rosado Rey (Botany)

Funding will investigate how crops can resist adverse environmental conditions that limit their productivity in order to develop plants that are able to withstand these conditions.

Automated design, optimization and customization of critical software

  • Holger Hoos (Computer Science)

Funding will support research that will bring transformational changes to the designing, optimizing, and customizing of software for solving challenging computational problems arising in a broad range of applications, including natural resources management, analysis of large amounts of data, and energy systems optimizaation.

Dynamic macromolecular complexes at the host-pathogen interface

  • Natalie Strynadka (Life Science Centre, Biochemistry)

Funding will be used to undertake renovations at the Life Sciences Centre and purchase cutting-edge infectious disease research equipment. Research enabled by these technologies will promote design of new therapeutics and lead to development of new antibiotics and vaccines.

As one of the world’s top academic institutions, UBC is grateful for the provincial government’s support so our talented scientists can make new discoveries.

Alex Walls
Media Relations Specialist, UBC Media Relations