Media Release | Jun. 26, 2012

NSERC awards UBC $4.9 million to train young researchers

University of British Columbia students and postdoctoral fellows in the fields of geochemistry, quantum sciences, and information and communication technology systems received a $4.9-million boost from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Three NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants of $1.65 million each over six years, will prepare young science and engineering researchers for careers in industry, government and academia.

“The CREATE grants are instrumental to supporting the professional and technical skill development of graduate students as they pursue innovative and interdisciplinary research at UBC,” said John Hepburn, Vice President Research and International. “We are grateful to NSERC and the Government of Canada for supporting young researchers as they work toward their future careers.”

UBC’s three CREATE grants are part of a $28-million investment for 17 projects announced today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, in Waterloo, ON. Since the program’s inception in May 2008, UBC has received 10 CREATE grants.


UBC’s three new CREATE programs include:

QuEST: Quantum Electronic Science and Technology

The demand for quantum materials is growing, with the miniaturization of electronic devices and new applications such as solar energy conversion and quantum computing. The aim of the QuEST training program is to give student the technical basis and perspective of how their research in quantum materials can impact society through technology transfer to existing companies and to high-tech startups. The QuEST program will offer innovative coursework, an open and collaborative research network, opportunities for internships in industry, and networking and mentoring with leading innovators and entrepreneurs.

Si-EPIC: Silicon Electronic-Photonic Integrated Circuits

The Si-EPIC program will train students in the new discipline of information and communication technology systems that integrate transistor circuits with optical circuits. Transistor circuits are a well-established computer technology that manipulates information using electrical signals while optical circuits are a new technology that allows information to be processed and transmitted directly using light. These new integrated electronic/photonic systems represent the next leap in information processing hardware.  Students in the program, which includes partners at McGill University, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, and the Université de Sherbrooke, will design, test and measure these devices and systems and complete an internship with industry leaders.

Watch a video to learn more about nanophotonics at UBC:

MAGNET: Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network

Geochemistry provides tools for the fundamental understanding of our planet and has numerous applications for the environment, global climate change, natural resources, human health and natural hazards.  Students in the MAGNET program will be involved in high-impact research projects in geochemistry that will promote the development of new techniques to detect, trace, and mitigate contaminants in the environment, to identify components and their distribution in the Earth’s mantle, and to advance resource exploration in previously under-explored terrains.  This industrial stream initiative involves researchers at UBC, McGill and the universities of Québec, Toronto and Ottawa, and provides internships with companies in the analytical (Nu Instruments, Acme, Actlabs, ALS), environmental (Lorax, Rescan) and resource (Anglo American, Barrick, Teck) industries.

For more information about CREATE and NSERC, visit:


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Heather Amos
UBC Public Affairs
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Cell: 604.828.3867

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