Canada Excellence Research Chair Opportunity – UBC Okanagan

Date posted: April 12, 2022

The School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus is recruiting an outstanding researcher to be nominated for the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Disaster Resiliency. The CERC program, Canada’s highest research chair appointment, is designed to attract and support world-renowned researchers and their teams to Canada.

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Disaster Resiliency provides a unique opportunity for a researcher focused on natural hazards and their potential impacts on infrastructure and community. The world is facing unprecedented natural hazards—including wildfires, floods, heatwaves, and landslides—that are often interrelated and severely impact public safety, productivity, and quality of life. Climate change, being the key cause, has increased the uncertainty, intensity, and frequency of such hazards. Given the broad continuum of the magnitude and impact of these hazards, the need for safe and resilient infrastructure and communities has never been so acute. The CERC holder will lead a world-renowned research program that will guide Canada toward disaster-resilient infrastructure and communities. By taking an inclusive governance approach accounting for interrelationships of primary and secondary natural hazards, the CERC holder will lead a multi-disciplinary research team producing solutions for next‐generation adaptive and smart infrastructure as well as safer and more resilient communities. Recent disasters in various parts of the world have disproportionately affected disadvantaged and Indigenous communities, demonstrating the critical need for the CERC holder to engage Indigenous, government, and community stakeholders for knowledge mobilization, realizing design solutions and improving the current practices in disaster-resilient infrastructure and communities. This CERC position aligns with federal Science, Technology and Innovation Priorities in “Innovative and Resilient Communities”; expertise in one or more of the published priority areas will be given preference

Following a highly competitive and rigorous selection process involving peer review, the successful applicant will be nominated for a Canada Excellence Research Chair.  The CERC nomination is subject to review and final approval by the CERC Secretariat.  The CERC award, if successful, will be for $1 million per year for eight years. The CERC holder will be also eligible to apply for a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award for research infrastructure.

Reporting to the Director of the School of Engineering, the successful candidate will be expected to lead a strong, externally-funded research program, supervise postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, collaborate with other faculty members, and actively participate in service to the School, University, and academic/scientific community. They will also be expected to teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels but will have reduced teaching responsibilities during their term as the CERC holder. Applicants must be registered, or be eligible to register with Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (

The successful candidate will:

  • have a PhD (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline
  • be an internationally recognized leader of a multi- and inter-disciplinary research program with at least 10 years of internationally competitive research experience in disaster resiliencyor related topics
  • have made a major societal impact, as appropriate based on career stage (in cases where the nominee is a Canadian Indigenous – First Nations, Inuit or Métis – researcher based in Canada, the impact can be at the international level and/or at the community, regional or national level)
  • have demonstrated leadership in research and teaching that is creative, innovative, and collaboration-based

CERC holders will have a strong commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenous Reconciliation, and a commitment to creating a welcoming community where those who are historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized are treated equitably, feel respected, and belong. UBC recognizes that inclusion is built by individual and institutional responsibility through continuous engagement with diversity to inspire people, ideas, and actions for a better world. As Canada’s highest research chair appointees, UBC CERCs will have a unique and profound impact on our commitments to these values.

It is expected that the successful candidate will qualify for a full-time appointment in the School of Engineering at UBC at the rank of Professor or Associate Professor (if the latter, they are expected to be promoted to full professor within one or two years of the nomination). Nominees from outside the academic sector must possess the qualifications necessary to be appointed at these levels. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and is subject to final budgetary approval. Competitive start-up packages, relocation, and infrastructure development funds will be provided.

The CERC nomination is subject to review and final approval by the CERC Secretariat

A faculty appointment, as a tenured faculty member at the Full or Associate Professor level in the School of Engineering, is conditional on the award of the CERC. The anticipated start date will be July 1, 2023, or a date to be mutually agreed upon within 12 months after the notice of the award in Spring 2023 and acceptance has been signed by all parties.

Program nominees are not restricted by their nationality or their country of residence. Non-Canadian Chairholders may work in Canada under the procedures by Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. In some cases, a work permit may be expedited.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world and is a global leader for research and teaching in the areas of infrastructure management and community-based climate adaptation and mitigation. UBC’s reputed centers of excellence are engaged in cutting-edge research promoting resiliency and sustainability in the built environment. Contributions made by these centers are well recognized by governments, funding agencies, and industry leaders for their innovation and excellence. UBC is equipped with state-of-the-art testing and research facilities and technologies meeting global standards in the proposed field of research. They also house top-tier researchers (several Canada Research Chairs, industry chairs, and endowed chairs) who are pioneers in the fields of climate adaptation and/or infrastructure and community resilience. Cross-campus initiatives within this area, including the Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI), Green Construction Research & Training Centre (GCRTC), and the UBC Disaster Resilience Research Network, will provide synergistic opportunities for trans-disciplinary collaboration. Moreover, UBC has also well-established partnerships with industry leaders and design codes’ committees who will play critical roles in translating research outputs into practical solutions.

UBC opened its Okanagan campus in 2005 as a bold new UBC presence in the interior of British Columbia, designed to deliver on the promise of a research-intensive institution purpose-built for the 21st century. As part of the University’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, UBC Okanagan has committed to supporting and implementing five key commitments, which can be found at UBC’s Okanagan campus is situated in Kelowna on the unceded lands of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples.

UBC’s Okanagan campus is home to over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 630 faculty members and nine Faculties and Schools. With the campus rapidly emerging as a research powerhouse, UBC Okanagan students receive an outstanding education in a stimulating student-centric learning environment. Over the last five years, campus research income has more than doubled. Success rates at the Canadian tri-councils (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) have consistently exceeded national averages. Faculty have formal research partnerships with over 100 organizations (local non-profits, regional small and medium enterprises, national and multinational corporations, regional health authorities, hospitals, and municipalities), with activities on the main campus and in the Innovation UBC hub, which is located downtown in the Okanagan’s thriving tech ecosystem. In 2019, UBC Okanagan published Outlook 2040, a visioning exercise that positions the campus as one of Canada’s fastest growing post-secondary institutions.

UBC’s Faculty of Applied Sciences comprises a unique constellation of disciplines across both campuses. Our core purpose is to discover, design, innovate, provide unwavering top-tier education, and champion a community of responsible professionals. UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering is an integral part of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and is based in our Kelowna campus. Founded in 2005, the School is among the fastest growing post-secondary engineering programs in Canada and a premier destination for exceptional engineering education and research. Today, the School offers four undergraduate programs in civil, electrical, manufacturing, and mechanical engineering and three graduate degrees (MEng, MASc, PhD) that continue to respond to the demands of local, national, and global communities.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence

UBC seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce to maintain the excellence of the University. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged and offers students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or Indigeneity.

UBC is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive, non-discriminatory and accessible work environment for all members of its workforce. UBC is also committed to ensuring that the application and interview process is accessible to all applicants. If you require accommodations or have questions about UBC benefits, services or accommodations policies, please contact Victoria Gritchen at in the Workplace Reintegration & Accommodations Program.

UBC recognizes the legitimate impact that leaves (e.g., parental leaves, illness or disability, COVID-19 impacts) can have on research achievement and commits to ensuring that leaves are taken into careful consideration. Candidates are encouraged to highlight in their application how interruptions have had an impact on their careers.

To apply:

Interested candidates must apply through this online application. Complete applications will include a detailed curriculum vitae; a research statement; an equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDI+I) statement describing your contributions to advancing a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenous reconciliation within your campus or discipline, and the names and contact information of four arm’s length references. As part of the application process, applicants will be asked to complete a voluntary employment equity survey for which the link will be emailed to applicants upon receipt of applications.

Review of applications will begin on June 7, 2022. Applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

Please direct queries about the position to