NSERC awards UBC Science $1.6 M to train young researchers for bioeconomy

University of British Columbia students and postdoctoral fellows in biological engineering and bioinformatics have received $3.3 million in grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The two NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants will prepare students and postdoctoral fellows for careers in industry, government and academia through value-added professional and personal skills training. The two teams, led by Microbiology and Immunology associate professor Steven Hallam, and Psychiatry and Centre for High-Throughput Biology professor Paul Pavlidis, will each receive $1.65 million over six years.

“The CREATE program is a valuable resource that supports the professional and technical skill development of students and postdoctoral fellows as they pursue pioneering research at UBC and with partners outside UBC,” said John Hepburn, Vice President Research and International.

“We are grateful to NSERC and the Government of Canada for their continued support of young researchers.”

UBC’s two CREATE grants are part of a $28 million investment announced by the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology today in Toronto, ON.

Ecosystem Services, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (ECOSCOPE)

An emerging bioeconomy will require highly-trained personnel to understand and engineer microbial communities for social, economic and environmental sectors. In natural ecosystems, microbial communities are more efficient at performing metabolic tasks than single cells. This “community metabolism” function is of interest to synthetic biologists who engineer biological systems and could be helpful in creating valuable new materials and industrial processes. Thus, the ECOSCOPE grant will provide students with the skills needed to translate knowledge derived from studying environmental sequence information from microbial communities into commercial and entrepreneurial activities.

“ECOSCOPE aspires to train a new generation of scientific entrepreneurs poised to start new companies, develop independent scientific programs or join a burgeoning synthetic biology sector in need of motivated and creative problem solvers with durable environmental ethics,” said Hallam.

An emerging bioeconomy will require highly-trained personnel to understand and engineer microbial communities for social, economic and environmental sectors.

Alex Walls
Multimedia Specialist, UBC Media Relations
alex.walls@ubc.ca