Thompson Rivers University

BC’s Interior universities join forces to take research to a new level

December 15, 2017

Representing the three universities is (left to right) Dr. Philip Barker, Associate Vice President Research & Vice Principal Research at UBCO; Dr. Will Garrett-Petts, Associate Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies at TRU; and Dr. Geoff Payne, Interim Vice President Research and Graduate Programs at UNBC.

Students at British Columbia’s three Interior universities will benefit from enhanced research opportunities and increased mobility, thanks to a newly-signed agreement that will be a game changer for higher education in the region.

The Interior University Research Coalition (IURC), a memorandum of understanding between the University of Northern BC (UNBC), Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBC Okanagan), is the product of more than two years of collaboration.

As partners, the three universities form a core of research and innovation talent in the BC Interior that will further develop the innovation ecosystem of the entire region, build and strengthen new and traditional industries, and enhance overall quality of life. The agreement will facilitate mobility and academic opportunities for students and faculty, enhance research partnerships and enable greater overall co-ordination among the institutions.

Watch a replay of the announcement

“This agreement recognizes the mutual interests our institutions have in supporting research in the province. Graduate students and researchers bring ideas, questions and solutions and can bring real benefits to communities through their collaborations,” says TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Alan Shaver.

The IURC commits to the creation of a tri-university partnership office, whose mandate will be to explore new possibilities for talent development, facilitate research collaboration and co-ordinate joint funding proposals. The office will be headed by Janice Larson, an expert in strategic planning with more than 22 years of experience in public policy development and implementation.

While each university contributes its own areas of expertise, co-ordination of efforts will enhance student access to equipment and mentorship across the partner institutions, help form clusters of expertise, and meet provincial and federal priorities, including fostering talent, training highly qualified personnel and driving innovation in the technology sector and all areas of the economy.

Says UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks:
“Each of our institutions brings a unique set of research strengths that will ultimately lead to greater educational opportunities for graduate students in Central and Northern B.C. By working together we have the opportunity to apply innovative research solutions and ask meaningful questions about life in the 21st century.”

Says UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard:
“Universities have a special role to play in partnership with the communities they serve. By collaborating more closely with our colleagues across the region, we can be drivers of discovery, understanding, and innovation for positive social and economic development.”

Says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training:
“It’s great to see three of our universities collaborating to advance research and innovation opportunities. Research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the post-secondary sector are critical to our 21st century economy. Research and innovation supports industry demands as well as improving the lives of citizens in the Interior, throughout our province and across the country.”


About UNBC
Located in the spectacular landscape of Northern B.C, UNBC is one of Canada’s best small universities, with a learning environment that is friendly, inclusive and supportive. It provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate learning opportunities that explore cultures, science, health, economies and the environment. As one of BC’s research-intensive universities, it brings the excitement of new knowledge to its students and the outcomes of its teaching and research to the world.

About UBC Okanagan
UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

About TRU

Thompson Rivers University serves nearly 26,000 students on its campuses in Kamloops and Williams Lake, and in distance or online courses and programs through TRU Open Learning. At TRU, student success is a top priority. TRU empowers students to reach their goals with flexible learning options, hands-on learning opportunities and a supportive, inclusive environment. TRU offers open access, an exceptional range of programs and on-campus, online, distance and blended learning options.

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