Industry-Sponsored Research

ICICS and Industry: A New Partnership Model

As a research unit with membership from 18 departments at both UBC campuses, ICICS aligns research, industry partnerships, and entrepreneurship for technology-based solutions to critical problems facing society. Our deep reach into UBC allows us to connect disparate sector-specific expertise, including at external organizations like hospitals and municipalities. In recent years, we have developed a new industry partnership model that matches this expertise with industry-sponsored projects. The model has been refined in the UBC-Rogers Partnership on 5G R&D co-managed by ICICS and the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI).

Early involvement of end users and regular, data-driven project review with all stakeholders provide opportunities for feedback and iteration, and can reveal new pathways for discovery that require expanding the partnership. The industry partner may engage other companies or governmental organizations, while the University identifies additional researchers with the necessary expertise. The net result is an effective, agile stakeholder ecosystem that neither partner could build on their own.

For example, the “Wildfire Prevention and Smart Forests” project at UBC-Okanagan funded by the UBC-Rogers Partnership is using 5G and environmental sensors for real-time monitoring of forest conditions, to better understand how fire or fuel conditions change throughout the day and over seasons. The potential of this work to aid in fire management and ecology led to the participation of the BC Wildfire Service through Rogers, which will improve collaboration among governments, local communities, and telecommunications providers in addressing this critical, growing problem.

Finally, optimal means of transferring research outcomes to society are explored at a relatively early stage with the University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO), entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC), and the HATCH Venture Builder.

In addition to these large-scale partnerships, ICICS members’ individual research projects mostly require industrial support for external funding, which helps to ensure the relevance of their work. ICICS-affiliated graduate students working on these projects are trained to think across disciplinary boundaries, making them highly adaptable and creative individuals. Industrial collaborators have access to hundreds of these highly qualified personnel annually through collaborations with ICICS members. Please contact us to connect with ICICS researchers with whom you may wish to collaborate.

Examples of companies and other organizations ICICS members have partnered with include:


  • Amazon
  • Apple Computer Inc.
  • BC Hydro
  • BC Transmission Corp.
  • Blue City Technology
  • Boehringer-Ingelheim
  • Boeing
  • Cisco Systems
  • Change Healthcare
  • Clarius Mobile Health
  • CMC Microsystems
  • D-Wave Systems
  • Electronic Arts
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Honda Research Institute
  • IBM Research
  • 1Qbit
  • McKesson Medical Image Group
  • Microsoft Research Labs
  • MobliledgeX
  • Molecular You
  • NoTraffic
  • Philips Healthcare
  • Qualcomm
  • Rogers Communications
  • Samsung
  • Seaspan
  • Tableau
  • TELUS Corporation/TELUS Mobility
  • Ultrasonix Medical Corporation

Other External Organizations

  • Artificial Intelligence network of British Columbia (AInBC)
  • BC Cancer Agency
  • BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
  • BC Ministry of Health
  • BC Ministry of Transportation
  • Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster
  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • Canadian Navy
  • Cascadia Health Data Commons
  • City of Kelowna
  • City of Vancouver
  • Creative Destruction Lab-West
  • Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Defence Research and Development Canada
  • Fraunhofer Society
  • Fraser Health Authority
  • GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre
  • Greater Vancouver Regional District
  • International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD)
  • LifeSciences BC
  • Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre
  • Praxis Spinal Cord Institute
  • Providence Health Care
  • State of Washington
  • Translink
  • Vancouver Airport Authority
  • Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Authority
  • Vancouver Prostate Centre
  • Vector Institute