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:


Interacting with technology has become a defining feature of modern life, bringing with it unprecedented advances as well as complexity, constraints, inefficiency, frustration, and sometimes danger. DFP@UBC (Designing for People@UBC) is an ICICS research and training cluster that brings together experts in computer science, mechanical engineering, architecture, electrical and computer engineering, nursing and other disciplines to address these challenges, by considering human abilities, needs, and values through continuous innovation.

DFP@UBC also offers a Cross-disciplinary Graduate Training and Research Initiative Program in Interactive Computer Technology. Students learn to transcend disciplinary boundaries in this non-degree specialization, to work in teams that advance new products through the design, user research, and product management pipeline.


Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning promise to revolutionize all major industries. The leading information technology companies are now investing significantly in these technologies, which represents a major pivot for the IT industry. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have long been areas of particular research strength at UBC, with many outcomes translated into software and technology innovation.

AI@UBC brings together over 50 researchers across 5 faculties to tackle some of the most pressing artificial intelligence and machine learning challenges and opportunities, in collaboration with the local, national, and international academic and industrial ecosystem.


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. There are predictions that this technology could have an impact as profound as that of the Internet.

Blockchain@UBC, in collaboration with an industry consortium, is addressing some of the most significant challenges facing this rapidly emerging technology, including security, scalability, and records lifecycle management. Meeting these challenges requires a broad range of cross-disciplinary expertise. Blockchain@UBC harnesses research talent from across UBC to help unlock the enormous potential of the blockchain.

Emerging Micro/Nano Technologies

The Emerging Micro/Nano Technologies cluster comprises a dedicated team of exploratory researchers working together on multidisciplinary problems in the  field of electronics in which technologies on the scale of a billionth of a meter integrate mechanical, fluidic, biological and optical components. With a strong emphasis on experimentation, nano-fabrication and rapid prototyping methods, the cluster’s applications span biomedical devices, nano-computing, nano-devices, energy, optical communications, sensors and actuators.