New president, Arvind Gupta, pledges to boost UBC research excellence


Photos by Chandra Bodalia
Photos by Chandra Bodalia

THE University of British Columbia’s new President Arvind Gupta pledged in his formal academic installation ceremony on Friday to increase funding for research excellence by $100 million during his presidency, supporting those who discover, develop, and deploy knowledge.

He said the pledge to boost research excellence is fundamental to improving teaching and learning, building engagement throughout B.C. and the world, fostering a vibrant international learning community, and promoting innovation.

Last year UBC received $564 million in research funding for more than 8,440 research projects.

“Excellence in research is what distinguishes great institutions from the rest,” said Gupta. “It’s what puts our students at the cutting edge of knowledge, so they have access to the latest discoveries and revelations.”

The installation ceremony, a formal academic tradition, was attended by more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, as well as representatives of peer institutions and government.

“The installation of Dr. Arvind Gupta as President and Vice Chancellor is a great moment for UBC and for post-secondary education in British Columbia,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Dr. Gupta’s outstanding track record in research, development, and innovation will further cement UBC’s position as a world-leading research and teaching university that strengthens our whole province.”

Gupta committed to work for enhanced resources for students including more financial assistance, more campus housing, improved physical and mental health facilities, venues for sports, and outlets for culture.

He also promised to build new community partnerships across the province, to forge new research and learning alliances around the world, and to double UBC’s extracurricular student experiences through internship and co-op programs. He said he would achieve his goals through entrepreneurship, consultation and a clear focus on success for students.

UBC 2Gupta urged the university community to build on the efforts of past leaders that helped make UBC one of the top 25 public universities in the world.

“It is our challenge to build on their contributions – endeavouring to lift UBC from the top 25 to the top 10. That is, I would argue, our responsibility: to take UBC as we find it – and make it better.”

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade said: “I congratulate Dr. Arvind Gupta, who has already made so many contributions to higher education in Canada, on his appointment as President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia. Dr. Gupta’s leadership at UBC will play an important role in the International Education Strategy’s stated objective of making Canada a world leader in international education. As a key component of Canada’s new Global Markets Action Plan, we are committed to working with Canadian educational institutions to attract international students while providing Canadian students the opportunities to study and conduct research abroad and develop important international linkages for Canada.”

Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education, said: “I look forward to working with Professor Gupta as the new President of UBC in providing a world-class education to thousands of students. It is an exciting time for post-secondary education in the province as we collaborate with public post-secondary institutions such as UBC on the implementation of B.C.’s Blueprint that is aligning education and training with jobs.”

UBC 3Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said: “Dr. Arvind Gupta’s remarkable record of leadership in research and development makes him an inspired choice to lead UBC as its President and Vice Chancellor, and I know he will greatly expand upon the university’s impact as a world-leading engine of innovation.

“The City of Vancouver has a strong and longstanding partnership with UBC, both as our region’s largest university and as an immense contributor to cutting-edge growth in Vancouver’s economy. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Gupta on shared priorities like supporting our fast-growing technology sector, attracting the world’s brightest minds and best ideas, and improving transit connections to UBC with a new Broadway Subway.”