The Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program supports the training of teams of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs that:

  • encourage collaborative and integrative approaches, and address significant scientific challenges associated with Canada’s research priorities; and
  • facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.

UBC has been very successful in setting up CREATE programs at UBC. Since 2011, UBC has received almost $20 million for its training initiatives – more than any other university nationwide.

UBC NSERC CREATE Programs (active)


The overall objective of the PRoTECT Program is to provide rigorous and comprehensive training on plant defence mechanisms against microbes and insects that is anchored on collaborative international research projects. The interdisciplinary nature of PRoTECT will promote cutting-edge fundamental and applied research and prepare trainees for careers in academia, science education, government research/policy creation, or research in industrial sector.

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies

The Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies training program will officially launch in January 2020; it is set to become the world’s most multidisciplinary blockchain training path, providing students with next-generation tools and applications to address issues in FinTech, engineering and computer science, and information governance through its disciplinary streams. The program, which expects to train 139 students over six years, will focus on four primary sectors: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and indigenous issues. Notably, the initiative is supported by 15 industry partners from a wide range of sectors who will be offering students high-value internships in collaboration with Mitacs. Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. will be a flagship partner, providing funding to support research at the intersection of blockchain and healthcare.

The Living Data Project

The Living Data Project seeks to both preserve historical data and provide opportunities to graduate students. In an age of global change, historical data is invaluable in allowing us to track and predict the threat to our ecosystems. However, this data is itself prone to extinction. The Living Data Project is a nationwide initiative to preserve and breathe new life into legacy datasets in ecology, evolution and environmental science, and to train graduate students in best practices in data management, reproducible research, synthesis statistics and scientific collaboration.

Quantum Computing Program

This program, hosted by the Quantum Matter Institute at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is co-delivered by faculty at three BC universities (UBC, SFU and UVic) with collaboration from leading quantum hardware and software companies.

This unique training program will equip graduates with skills in both building quantum computing hardware and software. Students will acquire highly specialized technical expertise and commercial skills in both quantum computing hardware and software through a combination of hands-on workshops, research projects, industrial internships and professional development workshops to ensure job readiness among graduates pursing careers in the emerging quantum computing technologies sector.

Pacific Rim Ocean Data Mobilization and Technology (PRODIGY)

The Pacific Rim Ocean Data Mobilization and Technology (PRODIGY) program provides advanced training in ocean observation, prediction and knowledge mobilization. Our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows bridge the fields of oceanography, geophysics, computer science and statistics. They learn state-of-the-art technology, data science and visualization tools to support the collection, analysis and communication of ocean data.

Bringing together leading faculty from the Universities of British Columbia (UBC), Victoria (UVic), and Waterloo, PRODIGY provides training across the ocean-data life cycle: deploying and testing new ocean sensors, data analysis, and assimilation, numerical modeling and forecasting, and engaging decision-makers and stakeholders. 

Cohorts gain interdisciplinary knowledge and professional experience in courses, workshops, summer schools, mentoring, and internships. Through an international exchange with the Millennium Institute of Oceanography in Chile, trainees examine critical ocean issues across the eastern Pacific Rim through a cross-cultural, collaborative lens.

3D Printing Technology and Materials (3DPTM)

The NSERC CREATE Training Program in 3D Printing Technology and Materials (3DPTM) is a new, innovative training program at UBC and UVIC that will train a future generation of scientists and engineers in 3D Printing. 3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), is a powerful manufacturing technique with key advantages that include reduced waste and pollution and the ability to print custom designs from 3D structural data.

The 3DPTM training objective is to prepare the graduates of our program with a powerful skill set that will help Canada become a global leader in advancing this manufacturing technique and meet its need for highly qualified personnel in 3D printing technology.

Care Anywhere: Smart Biosensors to Promote Healthy Aging and Transform Healthcare

One-quarter of the Canadian population will exceed 65 years of age by 2030. The healthcare needs of this aging population will strain an already overburdened system. Rapid advances in biosensing technologies can transform healthcare by screening and detecting disease or tracking the body's response to care. This potential motivates our proposed Care Anywhere Training Program: Smart Sensors to Promote Healthy Aging and Transform Healthcare. Care Anywhere will train the next generation of multidisciplinary graduates to attain a unique skillset to both develop and apply sensing technologies to improve the health and well-being of older adults and people living with chronic health conditions whether in home, community, or hospital settings.

Charging into the Future (CITF): Training in Polyelectrolyte Biosystems for Tomorrow’s Health Challenges

Polyelectrolytes are charged macromolecules that have a range of potential medical applications, including in drug delivery systems, medical device coatings, biomaterials and beyond. This unique international training initiative will equip students with technical and entrepreneurial skills for the development of polyelectrolyte-based materials for applications in health.

MUlti-Scale multi-modal Image Computing for health (MUSIC)

Most important scientific challenges in modern biomedicine require a detailed understanding of how biological processes at the molecular scale give rise to functions at the cellular, tissue and organ level. Building on the established Biomedical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence research cluster at UBC and its extensive connections with Canada's biotech industry, the MUlti-Scale multi-modal Image and omics Computing for health (MUSIC) training program responds to an acute need for a multi-faceted, data-driven approach to understanding the biological processes that lead to disease. The MUSIC training program will produce a new generation of interdisciplinary engineers with expertise in biology, biotechnology and data analysis, who can alleviate pressures on our healthcare systems by enabling data-driven basic and translational research.

Net-zero in materials and manufacturing (Net0MM)

Recognizing the impact of man-made climate change, Canada has instituted the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act to bring our net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The challenge of meeting this target is significant given that Canada's per-capita emissions are well above the G20 average. For Canada's manufacturing sector, the cost of changing practices to meet net zero commitments is in the tens of billions of dollars and most have yet to develop a plan for how to proceed. The impact of this sector on achieving net zero is not limited to curbing its own emissions. Innovation in materials and manufacturing has the potential to deliver new lower carbon footprint products and processes.

The Net Zero in Materials and Manufacturing (NetOMM) CREATE training program has been designed with both challenges and opportunities in mind. This industrial CREATE program's primary objective is to stimulate interdisciplinary research, training, and mentorship specifically in the areas of energy, materials, and manufacturing needed to achieve net zero. Students will gain specific training in

  1. research to support the industrial transition to net zero
  2. tools for assessing the total life cycle potential of specific technologies and
  3. entrepreneurial skills that can accelerate the transition of product to market.

These will be combined with professional skills training in communication, program management and mentorship. Trainees will also gain an understanding of climate justice, recognizing that transitioning to net zero risks creating or amplifying economic and social disparities. Combined, these provide an internationally unique training program.

Advanced Machine Learning Training Network (AML-TN)

The use of machine learning and AI is expected to double the economic growth rates of developed countries in the next ten years. AML-TN is designed to train a new generation of computer scientists who will develop fundamentally new methodologies and provide the innovation that is predicted to drive what is being called the fourth Industrial Revolution.

The AML-TN program is designed to fill the machine learning and AI knowledge and skills gap in Canadian business. A global network of 47 leading researchers will collaborate in the research training program to offer opportunities beyond those provided by traditional computer science programs provide, and linking students and institutions in the field.


The goal is to develop a community focused on designing and developing next generation immunotherapeutics to promote health and prevent and treat disease. We will create a research-to-practice continuum that facilitates this process by linking basic researchers with clinical disease specialists, industry partners and health-care policy experts.

UBC NSERC Create Programs (funding concluded)

Some programs may continue to provide funding from other sources even after the NSERC Create funding has concluded.

Biodiversity Research: Integrative Training & Education (BRITE)

The Biodiversity Research Centre (BRC) aims to train experts in the study of biodiversity and the application of biodiversity science. Graduate students whose supervisor is a BRC-affiliated faculty member can apply for funded, full-time internships with a non-governmental organization, government agency, or industry. BRITE internships are flexible, as they last from six weeks to three months and may be closely aligned with or unrelated to the student's research.

Engineers in Scrubs (EiS)

Designed to foster innovation in medical technology by training biomedical engineers in clinical environments, and developed to help engineers understand and appreciate the needs and uses of technology in health care, EiS helps biomedical engineers navigate the interfaces among engineering research, medical research, clinical practice, and product development. Students applying to the MASc or PhD in Biomedical Engineering or related fields are eligible; successful EiS students will follow a slightly modified curriculum and are eligible for the ten merit-based fellowship stipends available annually.

Isotopes for Science and Medicine (IsoSiM)

The Isotopes for Science and Medicine (IsoSiM) NSERC CREATE program was established by UBC and TRIUMF in response to the growing importance of applications of isotopes in a broad range of fields, from environmental science, preclinical medical research, and characterization of new materials, to investigations of the foundations of the universe. This is a collaborative program involving several UBC Departments and Faculties.

Joining IsoSiM gives you access to the world’s largest cyclotron at TRIUMF, mentorship from supervisors who have over 1000 peer-reviewed papers, and elite international exchanges with our industry partners in Germany. Apart from stipends, IsoSiM provides students with enriched training experiences in the production, preparation, and application of isotopes for science and medicine that is enhanced by individualized professional skills development plans and internships. IsoSiM’s interdisciplinary training and experiential learning activities will create the next generation of leaders in isotope-related activities.

Students applying to graduate programs in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the departments of Chemistry; Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; Physics and Astronomy; and Radiology are eligible to apply for the IsoSiM scholarship.   

Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network (MAGNET)

MAGNET addresses today’s research challenges in analytical, environmental and exploration geochemistry with a multidisciplinary approach. Trainees benefit from participation in high-impact research projects, mentorship from leading scientists, hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment, internships, networking, professional development training, and travel and research funding. Students must apply to and be accepted onto a project by a MAGNET-associated faculty member.

Nanomaterials Science & Technology (NanoMat)

NanoMat nurtures students to meet the growing demand for workers with strong knowledge and training in nanomaterials synthesis, characterization, and application, nanoscience instrumentation, and professional leadership skills. Trainees undertake interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects with a focus on alternative energy, the environment, or health, and receive outstanding hands-on training in nanomaterials research, professional development opportunities, and access to industry mentorship. Students applying to be supervised one of NanoMat’s Principle Investigators – across the faculties of Science, Applied Science, and Medicine – are eligible.  

Quantum Electronic Science and Technology (QuEST)

QuEST gives students a broad technical basis and a well-rounded perspective of how their research in quantum materials can impact society through technology transfer to existing companies and to high-technology startups. In addition to working with cutting-edge researchers, competitively selected students interested in quantum materials and applying to graduate programs in Physics, Astronomy, and Chemistry receive funding comparable to major scholarships such as NSERC, as well as conference travel awards and opportunities for exchange/internship/research at a major user facility.

Silicon Electronic-Photonic Integrated Circuits (Si-EPIC)

Si-EPIC is designed to train students in the new discipline of information and communication technology systems that involves miniaturization of optical components onto silicon chips. Current and prospective students with supervisors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are eligible to apply for trainee stipends. In addition to funding, Si-EPIC students receive specialized training through design workshops, a nine-month design-fabrication-test cycle, internships, and professional development opportunities.

Sustainable Building Science Program (SBSP)

The SBSP aims to advance research that will develop buildings that are more sustainable from human, environmental, and economic perspectives. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows currently under the supervision of a SBSP research faculty member are eligible to apply for SBSP fellowships. Trainees complete internships in industry, receive funding from SBSP, and have access to the support of the interdisciplinary SBSP community.

Sustainable Synthesis (SusSyn)

SusSyn aims to prepare industry-ready graduates to contribute to Canadian made, globally competitive clean technologies and sustainable manufacturing solutions. SusSyn provides interdisciplinary training in catalysis research, with a particular focus on programs addressing waste generation, environmental compatibility, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources. Trainees participate in three laboratory rotations, a monthly seminar series, an annual symposium, professional development courses, and an industrial internship of four to eight months in duration. Students applying to programs in Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Pharmacy are eligible.

Terrestrial Research on Ecosystems and World-wide Education & Broadcast

The goal of TerreWEB is to create an enriched, innovative, collaborative graduate training environment that addresses key scientific gaps in understanding the impacts of global change on terrestrial ecosystems and developing strategies for mitigation and adaptation, and evaluating the factors underlying global change communication deficits, developing novel communication strategies for addressing these deficits, and measuring the efficacy of those strategies.

Ecosystem Services, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (ECOSCOPE)

ECOSCOPE provides the training needed to translate environmental sequence information derived from studying microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems into commercial and entrepreneurial activities. Successful applicants who are admitted into a UBC graduate program participate in a collaborative network between multiple departments on the UBC campus spanning basic and applied science, receive trainee stipends, complete a team internship in a start-up environment, and are eligible for competitive travel prizes.

High-Dimensional Bioinformatics

This program provides collaborative research training and activities for graduate students that go beyond their classroom learning. Research areas range from the organization and management of data, the development of algorithms and software, and application of these approaches to questions in wide-ranging areas of biology. Students admitted to the Bioinformatics program in the Faculty of Science are eligible to apply for a trainee stipend, with additional funding and training opportunities available – including a three-month internship and a travel award.

Training Our Future Ocean Leaders

With natural disasters increasingly affecting and displacing entire communities, scientists need to know how to navigate the delicate waters of climate communication with the public, government, and industry. The Training Our Future Ocean Leaders program will bring collaborators from across campus, non-profit and industrial sectors together to form a cross-disciplinary team which will equip trainees with the skills to examine how marine life and processes are connected to human behaviour and societal processes, preparing them to shape government and industry policy.

Designing for People (DFP)

DFP enables students studying in programs across UBC to work together to become leaders in a wide range of fields involving interactive technology design - by supplementing and honing their disciplinary knowledge with holistic design understanding, hands-on design experience and engagement in cross-disciplinary collaboration.