UBC Applied Science-led Research Excellence Clusters announced

UBC Vancouver

Edited: June 22, 2022

UBC’s Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters (GCRC) competition awards funding to seven Research Excellence Clusters led by UBC Applied Science faculty members.

The Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters (GCRC) competition aims to foster collaboration by supporting the creation of “networks of researchers spanning multiple disciplines at UBC who form and nurture interdisciplinary teams”. 

Teams launch research intiatives to "address key societal and cultural problems and solve challenges that transcend traditional boundaries."

These teams are expected to launch research initiatives that “address key societal and cultural problems [and] solve challenges that transcend traditional boundaries”, among other goals. 

The competition supports 40 Research Excellence Clusters, both established and emerging. Faculty members in established clusters, which can be awarded up to $200,000, are already leaders in their field and have a long history of collaboration. Those in emerging clusters, which can be awarded up to $100,000, are up-and-coming leaders with a more limited collaborative history. 

Research Excellence Clusters advance the strategic plans of both UBC (“Shaping UBC’s Next Century”) and the UBC Faculty of Applied Science ("Transforming Tomorrow").

The UBC Applied Science-led Research Excellence Clusters are: 

Established Clusters

Bionics Network 

Bionics Network research combines nature and technology to improve quality of life. We align materials within injured spinal cords to guide axon regrowth; develop implantable sensors; and give robots and prostheses a sense of touch. This is achieved by bringing together expertise in engineering, materials chemistry, biology, medicine, ethics and translation. 

Cluster LeadJohn Madden 

Quantum Computing Research Cluster 

Quantum computing is the next wave of fundamental science poised to revolutionize human experience. We want to discover and create the technology on which quantum computations will be run in the next two decades. The challenge is to produce a universal quantum computer that is demonstrably scalable and which also achieves a practical quantum advantage over classical computers. 

Cluster LeadLukas Chrostowski 

Reducing Male Suicide 

The Reducing Male Suicide Cluster aims to de-stigmatize men’s suicidality by engaging in three areas of focus: 1) Men’s mental health inequities; 2) The experiences of men who seek, and clinicians who provide, mental health care and; 3) Connecting men’s relationships, mental illnesses (including anxiety and depression) and suicide risk. 

Cluster LeadJohn Oliffe 

Transformative Health and Justice 

We are an interdisciplinary, cross-sectional and peer network catalyzing research on health and social inequity related to social exclusion, violence, trauma, stigmatization, colonialism, racism, and poverty that is deeply bound to criminalization, over-incarceration and post-release reintegration outcomes. Our studies are peer-led, multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary to address the complex and intersecting impacts of criminal legal system inequities across health and social service fields during and following incarceration. 

Cluster LeadHelen Brown 

Emerging Clusters

Disaster Resilience Research Network 

The UBC Disaster Resilience Research Network intends to build transdisciplinary connections and identify shared research goals to inform disaster risk reduction policy and decision making at community and governance levels. The cluster aims to advance multi-hazard assessment and mitigation in support of an inclusive and equitable development of just disaster risk management. 

Cluster LeadCarlos Molina Hutt 


The goal is to develop a community focused on designing and developing next generation immunotherapeutics to promote health and prevent and treat disease. We will create a research-to-practice continuum that facilitates this process by linking basic researchers with clinical disease specialists, industry partners and health-care policy experts.  

Cluster LeadsKelly McNagny and Pauline Johnson 

Trustworthiness of Machine-Learning-Based Systems 

TrustML facilitates development of trustworthy machine-learning-based systems, i.e., systems that are reliable, secure, explainable, and ethical. The cluster will examine trust-related requirements in several life-critical domains, including medicine and aerospace, and will investigate solutions for building trustworthy systems that professionals and the general public can reliably adopt.  

Cluster LeadJulia Rubin 

Learn More

For more information about the Research Excellence Clusters, please see the announcement on the website of UBC's Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation.

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