PhD CoLab pilot program announces awardees

Five teams of collaborating PhD students and faculty members at UBC have received funding from the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) new PhD CoLab pilot program. Awards range from $30,000 to $100,000 and total nearly $340,000 during this pilot year.

The PhD CoLab is a pilot initiative originated and funded by G+PS, and has garnered very strong interest in its first year with more than 60 applications from across 40 academic units at UBC. This initiative offers awards and guidance to support PhD students from different disciplines to co-develop new knowledge and/or applications to address complex questions or problems.

The primary objectives of this pilot program are to provide new opportunities for PhD students to build competencies and networks in collaborative, inter/transdisciplinary scholarly work, and to advance collaboration as a desired research and learning mode across disciplines to enrich scholarship.

“We were delighted and encouraged by the sheer number and variety of proposed projects that would bring together PhD students from different disciplinary traditions to learn from one another and, as a team, carry out innovative scholarship,” says Dr. Jenny Phelps, Assistant Vice-Provost of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. 

“The world’s most pressing issues are highly complex and require multi-dimensional expertise to apprehend. We need scholars who are capable of blending their insights, methodologies and perspectives with others to generate new understandings and approaches. Doctoral education is an ideal arena to help build those collaborative capabilities. We are very excited to support the awarded students and teams as they take bold steps in innovative scholarship.”

As part of their doctoral work, students will collaborate with each other, faculty, and in some cases, other partners from sectors beyond the academy. This award is meant to free up student time and cover research and professional development expenses in ways that may not be possible with discipline-specific funding sources. Participating PhD students will be able to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries from the inception of projects through data collection to writing of theses and resulting publications. Collaborative outputs will form a component of each student’s dissertations.


Learn more about the funded teams and projects below.

Large awards – up to $100,000

Project title Team
Collaborative Doctoral Research to Redefine the Minerals Resource and Mining Sector in British Columbia and Beyond


  • Philippe Tortell, Professor and Head Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences / Botany
  • Nadja Kunz, Assistant Professor, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining / School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
  • Carol Liao, Associate Professor, Allard School of Law / Sauder School of Business
  • Roger Beckie, Professor, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Werner Antweiler, Associate Professor Sauder School of Business
  • Allison Macfarlane, Professor and Director School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

PhD students to be recruited

The Adaptive Text Encoding Initiative Network: Antiracist, Decolonial, and Inclusive Markup Interventions

PhD Students:

  • Sydney Lines, English Language & Literatures
  • Braden Russell, Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES)
  • Sarah Revilla Sanchez, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS)
  • Daniel Orizaga Doguim (FHIS)


  • Mary Chapman, Professor, English Language and Literatures
  • Katherine Bowers, Associate Professor, Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies
  • Ramón (Arturo) Antonio Victoriano-Martinez, Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies
  • Elizabeth Lagresa-González, Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies
  • Ekatarina Grgurić, Digital Scholarship Librarian,  UBC Library Research Commons; UBC Digital Scholarship in the Arts (DiSA)
  • Mark Turin, Professor, Anthropology and Critical Indigenous Studies, UBC Digital Scholarship in the Arts (DiSA)


  • Joey Takeda, SFU Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL)
  • Rebecca Dowson, SFU Digital Humanities Innovation Lab
Deep Brain-Body Control of Speech Production via Machine Learning

PhD Students:

  • Anjana Rajendran, Neuroscience
  • Yadong Liu, Linguistics
  • Debasish Mohapatra, Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)
  • Brian Diep, Linguistics
  • Eric Easthope, ECE


  • Sidney Fels, Professor, ECE
  • Lara Boyd, Professor, Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Bryan Gick, Professor, Linguistics
Building artificial trees for extreme-weather-resilient cities

PhD Students:

  • Zhengyang (Jason) Yu, Forestry
  • Keegan Parkhurst, Civil Engineering
  • 1 to be recruited


  • Jongho Lee,  Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
  • Simcha Srebnik, Associate Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Feng Jiang, Associate Professor, Wood Science

Small awards – up to $30,000

Tackling Online Hate Speech: Legal and Policy Pathways to Finding Justice in Canada

PhD students:

  • Kaitlyn Cumming, Peter A. Allard School of Law
  • Sophie Liu, Sociology


  • Amanda Cheong, Assistant Professor, Sociology
  • Laura Nelson, Assistant Professor, Sociology
  • Heidi Tworek, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
  • Margot Young, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law


  • Chris Tenove, Research Associate and Deputy Director, UBC Centre for Study of Democratic Institutions


For further information on the CoLab program, visit the website.

Wednesday, 06 March 2024