Our goal is to create, translate, and implement knowledge at scale across all research areas to increase global impact and promote improved individual and population health.

An essential element of this goal is for our research, in all Faculty of Medicine disciplines, to be impactful—for findings to make a meaningful difference in society as part of our broader vision to transform health for everyone. The key to accomplishing this is translation across the continuum from foundational science to clinical application, programs and policy.

We will focus on addressing current barriers to accelerated translation, which involves supporting excellence in all research areas, driving research innovation, creating a culture of connection and collaboration, and expanding and amplifying research—and doing it all at scale. A vital part of this is engaging with the growing and vibrant life sciences and biotechnology industry here in B.C.

By including people and patients and embedding respect, diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of research, we aim to reach broader audiences, which can ultimately lead to informing policy, programs and practise at a provincial, national and global scale.

Research Strategies

Foundational science has inherent value in its potential to change the world and, while the ways in which findings may be applied in the future are not always immediately clear, they enrich our knowledge base and provide the building blocks for future impact through translation. We will support basic and foundational science as essential components in expanding our body of knowledge.

Translational medicine aims to reduce the time and cost of applying new findings, approaches, and technologies that improve health and well-being, and that contribute to the local and national economy. Through effective knowledge sharing, we will enhance our capacity to apply research findings to the next translational stage, whether related to foundational science, clinical application, evaluation and implementation science, health economics or policy.

We will connect people and organizations along the translational medicine pipeline by providing ways and means to collaborate, innovate, and accelerate research deliverables and the delivery of outputs from research that benefit people and populations. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted inefficiencies and systemic barriers that can hinder innovation. We must apply the lessons learned from this experience, here and around the world, to demonstrably shorten the timeline from discovery to translation and implementation.

Research platforms support excellence across disciplines. We have multiple levels of platforms, from laboratory‑based platforms that have been made available to other researchers, through to larger platforms that serve researchers in many departments and faculties.

We will develop a set of guiding principles that support Faculty of Medicine decision-making related to platform creation and consolidation. These principles will consider research focus areas and the needs of our research community across the province, including in rural and remote areas, while remaining responsive and capable of anticipating future demands and technological advances.

Specifically, we will strengthen current platforms related to omics, precision health, biomedical engineering, research computing, data science and artificial intelligence, imaging and biobanking. We will further identify and strategically coordinate platforms such as early clinical trial capabilities, regulatory affairs, methods for patient engagement and inclusion, approaches to measuring impacts for people and populations, clinical quality improvement and health economics.

To meet our increasing responsibility to support open science and open access publishing for knowledge sharing and mobilization, we will continue to improve digital technology supports and processes that protect intellectual property.

To transform health for everyone, we must ensure our research findings are relevant and equitable, which means considering the range of needs of the populations we serve in how we design and carry out research. We will continue to engage people and communities in research, with public and patient involvement in all aspects of the research process. This also involves considering research from the perspective of different populations, including through the lenses of sex and gender, age and ethnicity.

Importantly, we will ensure that any research involving Indigenous peoples is conducted in a manner that is respectful, trauma-informed and culturally-safe, comes from a perspective of cultural humility, and meaningfully works with and supports Indigenous peoples in all aspects of the process. In addition, Indigenous-led research and fulsome partnerships will be central to achieving this strategy.

Finally, we will work with the Education pillar to critically examine the barriers that currently exist to engaging trainees from diverse and historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized populations, and will advocate to funding agencies for additional international scholarships.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary collaboration, and this strategy builds on that experience through a deliberate focus on supporting collaboration and team science within our organization, across organizations, and with other stakeholders. We need to be nimble, adaptable, and focused on building the relationships required to enable this, including by advocating for increased team grant opportunities with funding agencies, and seeking ways to value and recognize team science through the organization pillar.

We will invite and include different perspectives and expertise, and apply our collective energy to research questions. The power of data science and artificial intelligence is an example of one area that presents tremendous opportunity, and where we must expand our investigative and analytic capabilities to enhance the impact on health research.

This collaborative and team-based approach represents a fundamental shift towards a new way of thinking about research. It involves considering complex questions and systems and, in connection with the Partnership pillar, engaging broadly across disciplines and organizations to remove barriers and maximize creativity and progress.

Building the Future: 2021–2026 is the refreshed strategic plan for UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.

Special thanks to all the faculty, staff, students and partners across the province who have contributed to the development of this plan.