Launch of DLR@UBC: Materials and Structures for Global Mobility

Mark Parlange (Dean, Applied Science), Josef Beck (German Consulate General in Vancouver), Helen Burt (VP Research & International pro tem), Elizabeth Croft (Associate Dean, Applied Science), Heinz Voggenreiter (Director, DLR), Warren Poole (Scientific Director, AMGM)


The University of British Columbia today celebrated its first partnership milestone with DLR, the German Aerospace Centre, with the opening of the DLR@UBC office on the University’s Point Grey Campus. The office will provide a physical base for the partnership and enhance the experience of visiting academics and exchange students from DLR, as they participate in joint projects with UBC researchers and industrial collaborators in Western Canada.

The international partnership builds upon the memorandum of understanding that UBC and DLR entered into last year. This  five-year arrangement will support collaboration across various core themes in advanced manufacturing, starting with robotics, composite manufacturing and lightweight materials for transportation. 

“This partnership will allow both institutions to accelerate solutions for advanced manufacturing challenges facing the world,” said Prof. Helen Burt, UBC Vice President Research & International pro tem. “The partnership is also a key component of UBC’s international strategy to actively connect to other global research leaders to advance knowledge, development and demonstration that will benefit current and future generations.”

Professor Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the Executive Board of the DLR, underlined that the cooperation with UBC and DLR@UBC is the first of its kind for DLR in Canada. It opens new pathways for our partnership. “The positioning of our 'DLR@UNI' university cooperations are important endeavours to strengthen long-term partnerships in research and technology. This new collaboration with the University of British Columbia will lead to the exchange of personnel and knowledge in innovative technology areas”, she said,” These networking skills in research, teaching and promotion of young talent will strengthen our partnership. At the same time scientific unique selling positions will be created that allow DLR and UBC to achieve international leading positions in global mobility.”

Professor Warren Poole is the Scientific director of UBC’s Advanced Manufacturing for Global Mobility research cluster. He spearheads the lightweight materials theme under the DLR partnership and is joined by a team of four senior engineering professors: Elizabeth Croft & Mike Van der Loos (robotics), and Anoush Poursartip & Reza Vaziri (composites).

 “We are delighted to be launching a partnership by welcoming our colleagues from Germany to a home at UBC.  On the global stage DLR is one of the most important centres of aerospace research and we are very pleased to be able to foster a relationship with such eminent experts. Working together, I see a bright future for advancing research into novel materials and manufacturing processes to make transportation of the future cleaner and safer.” said Prof. Poole.

Dr. Heinz Voggenreiter, Director of the Institutes of Materials Research, Structures and Design, and Centre for Lightweight Production Technology, said, “The partnership with UBC, our newest global academic partner, builds on the excellence of UBC in advanced manufacturing, and provides a sustainable platform for joint activities in new and emerging areas of science. This will give Canada and Germany an edge towards transferring advances in science, to industrial partners in the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors.”

This partnership will continue to support German-Canadian co-operation and exchange. It provides a new focal point for engagement with industry, particularly for companies with operations in both nations. Finally, it further validates Western Canada as a global leader for advanced manufacturing research, particularly in the simulation of complex manufacturing processes.

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Learn more about advanced manufacturing at UBC at