After more than a decade of outstanding service to UBC as Vice-President, Research and International, Dr. John Hepburn has announced he is stepping down effective May 28 to assume a new role as Vice-President, Research at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in Toronto.

Dr. Hepburn joined UBC in 2001 as a Professor of Chemistry and Physics & Astronomy and Head of Chemistry. He became Dean of Science in 2003, and Vice-President, Research in 2005. The international portfolio was added to his list of responsibilities in 2009.

During Dr. Hepburn’s tenure, UBC has solidified its position among the world’s top 40 research universities and top 20 public institutions. Under his leadership, UBC research now has an annual research budget of more than $530 million supporting over 8,200 projects, and more than 560 institutional agreements with 400 different international partners.

Among Dr. Hepburn’s proudest accomplishments was last year’s announcement of UBC’s success in the Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition. The $66.5-million award will elevate UBC’s Quantum Matter Institute to the forefront of quantum materials research.

He also helped drive the creation of the UBC Excellence Fund, which will provide significant new resources to strengthen UBC research in the years to come. Starting this year, a portion of annual revenue will be devoted to initiatives that support world-changing research. The fund — projected to grow to in excess of $30 million per year by 2018/19 — will support key initiatives that will further substantiate UBC’s reputation as a top-tier research-intensive university.

A passionate champion of research innovation, Dr. Hepburn has helped UBC become one of Canada’s major research hubs. UBC researchers are among the world’s most frequently cited, and their discoveries are at the heart of products and services that have generated more than $5 billion in sales and have led to the creation of more than 180 companies.

I am grateful to Dr. Helen Burt, who has worked closely with Dr. Hepburn as Associate Vice-President since 2011, for agreeing to serve as Vice-President pro tem while a formal search is undertaken over the next year. You are invited to follow the search process at

Friday, 15 April 2016