ICICS Research Clusters

ICICS supports research clusters in areas of established and emerging strength. We provide various combinations of seed funding, lab and office space, workshop/conference logistical and financial support, and grant-writing and communications support to the following clusters:

AI for Decision-making and Action (AIDA)

Leads: Alan Mackworth, CS; Kevin Leyton-Brown, CS. AIDA builds on a long history of AI and machine-learning innovation at UBC. Over 50 cluster researchers from across 5 faculties collaborate with the local, national, and international academic and industrial ecosystem to tackle some of the most pressing artificial intelligence and machine learning challenges.

AI in Embedded Platforms

Lead: Sudip Shekhar, ECE. AI on devices with limited power, communications functionality, and/or a need to operate in remote/autonomous/secure locations.

Biomedical Imaging and AI

Leads: Tim Salcudean, ECE; Peter Zandstra, Medical Genetics, Director School of Biomedical Engineering/Michael Smith Labs. This cluster aims to enable effective personalized medicine by using AI to analyze vast amounts of data derived from medical imaging across scales (molecular, cellular, tissue) and application areas (prostate, cardiac, brain). This integrated view of multi-scale imaging and AI will provide transformative solutions to bottleneck problems in healthcare systems.


Lead: John Madden, ECE. In a joint effort with local and international collaborators in neural interfaces, soft robotics, spinal cord injury, physiotherapy, and orthopedics, the Bionics cluster is creating biohybrid systems that integrate live cells with artificial materials and electronics to enable 3D printing of a fully functional “bionic” arm.


Leads: Victoria Lemieux, iSchool; Chen Feng, School of Engineering, UBC-O. The blockchain is a distributed ledger that enables a trusted environment for transactions without the intervention of a centralized mechanism. Actual and proposed applications encompass cryptocurrency (e.g., Bitcoin), payment systems, clearing and settlement, securities trading, supply chain management, identity management, notarial services, the Internet of Things, land transfer and registration, health record keeping, voting, intellectual property management, and beyond. Blockchain@UBC harnesses research talent from across UBC and collaborations with an industry consortium to address some of the most significant challenges facing this rapidly emerging technology, including security, scalability, and records lifecycle management.

Designing for People

Lead, Karon MacLean, CS. Designing for People (DFP) takes a broadly multidisciplinary approach to people-centered design for interactive technologies. The DFP approach addresses complex human-facing research and design problems requiring diverse viewpoints and methodologies deployed by integrated teams. An NSERC CREATE-funded training program launched in September 2017 is imparting this knowledge to a new generation of graduate students.

Graphics and Vision for Computational Reality

Lead: Alla Sheffer, CS. Computer vision and graphics researchers from across UBC are tackling high-impact applications in virtual (VR), augmented reality (AR), and physical manufacturing, as well as traditional digital media.

Quantum Computing

Lead: Lukas Chrostowski, ECE. The Quantum Computing cluster is developing next-generation quantum information technologies to enable a scalable, universal quantum computer that can solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.


Lead: Peyman Servati, ECE. To address the growing prevalence and cost of chronic health conditions, STITCH (SmarT Innovations for Technology Connected Health) creates and investigates advanced wearable devices that collect personalized information about our bodies and physical environments. This intelligent interface serves as a Second “Digital” Skin, designed by engineers and clinicians, to expand geography of care and improve outcomes.