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 in Embedded Platforms

Lead: Sudip Shekhar, ECE. This cluster focuses on implementing artifical intelligence (AI) on devices with limited power, communications functionality, and/or a need to operate in remote/autonomous/secure locations.

Biomedical Imaging and AI (BMIAI)

Leads: Tim Salcudean, ECE; Peter Zandstra, Medical Genetics, Director School of Biomedical Engineering/Michael Smith Labs. BMIAI is working 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). Such an integrated view of multi-scale imaging and AI will provide transformative solutions to bottleneck problems in healthcare systems.

Bionics Network

Lead: John Madden, ECE. The Bionics Network is creating biohybrid systems that integrate live cells with artificial materials and electronics to restore capabilities that have been lost through injury, disease or aging. The approach is to combine microfabrication, additive manufacturing, and biofabrication with smart materials and computing to create human interfacing devices on the skin and in the body. The network’s current focus is on exploring new approaches to reconnecting the spinal cord.


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. Applications span  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  researchers and industry partners are addressing challenges including security, scalability, and records lifecycle management. A new multidisciplinary graduate training program funded by NSERC CREATE launched in January 2020. The program’s initial cohort of PhD and masters students hails from engineering, computer science, business, publc policy, and archival and information science.

Centre for AI Decision-making and Action (CAIDA)

Leads: Kevin Leyton-Brown, CS (Director); Alan Mackworth, CS (Founding Director). CAIDA is UBC’s centre of excellence for AI research and knowledge mobilization, with a network of more than 50 professors leading groups that develop AI tools for decision-making and action. The Centre also studies the social, policy, and ethical impacts of AI.

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.

Marine Systems Initiative (MSI)

Leads: David Michelson, ECE; Chris McKesson, MECH.  Marine transportation is an essential part of the global economy, with more than 90% of trade goods carried by sea. Shipping is undergoing a radical transformation due to climate change and advances in communications, sensors and automation. MSI undertakes research and education to address issues faced in modern ship design and operation, with a focus on advanced power, communications and computing systems to address climate change, noise pollution, and crew safety issues.

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. The cluster was awarded an NSERC CREATE grant (announced June 2020) to launch a new training program in quantum computing hardware and software.


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.