Research Environment

One of the most active mechanical engineering research departments in Canada, Mech had an annual research budget in excess of $13 million dollars in 2020-2021.  Though faculty and graduate students are divided into nine areas, many faculty members work along the intersections of these areas, creating excellent opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
We foster a collaborative environment, with flexible research areas that encourage faculty pursue their work from multiple angles:



Despite being located several provinces away from traditional manufacturing areas, industrial collaboration and engagement is strong, with faculty engaging with both local industry and companies from across the globe.

In addition to working within and across research areas in the Department, many department members are part of research centres and institutes, including:


UBC Library, the third largest research library in Canada, is a system of 8 libraries on campus and two off-campus, each specializing in a particular group of subjects. Together the libraries house over 7 million items (print and electronic), over 1.4 million e-books, more than 229,000 journal titles, over 5.3 million microforms, and more than 890,000 other items such as maps, sound recordings, videos, and graphic materials.


For those who wish to take their research beyond the lab, UBC’s University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO) provides an avenue for achieving the full potential of the technology transfer and commercialization activities of our faculty members and helps with  disclosures, patents, licenses and establishing agreements on royalties.  In addition, ICICS’ Hatch Accelerator offers an incubator and accelerator for outstanding technology and business plans.  They offer mentors, space, makerspace, and more.


Research funding comes from a mixture of government (~80%), industry (~12.5%), and non-profit (~7.5%) sources.  Many government grant programs encourage industry matching or partial matching, and collaborative work is encouraged.  Major sources of funding for faculty include:

  • New faculty starting funds.  At the time of your appointment, you may be offered a start-up funding package to cover the initial cost of research-related equipment and associated expenses
  • NSERC Discovery grant, the basic grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, one of the federal “Tri-Agency” granting groups
  • NSERC Research Tools and Instruments grant, a grant for purchase of tools essential to research work
  • NSERC Alliance, partnership grants for university researchers collaborativing with private-sector, public-sector, or not-for-profit organizations
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), another of the federal “Tri-Agency” granting groups
  • Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), a non-profit corporation that invests in research infrastructure
  • Mitacs, a funding agency that connects post-secondary institutions with the private sector to solve organizational challenges.

Grant facilitation staff are available at the Applied Science and university level to assist you with your grants.

Graduate students are typically funded through research assistantships provided by their supervisor, teaching assistantships, and sometimes scholarships.  Several large awards are available through NSERC, the university, and through students’ home countries.  UBC also offers International Partial Tuition scholarships to most international graduate students, making UBC an attractive destination from top students globally.