UBC hires new VP Research & Innovation

Gail Murphy, UBC’s current Associate Vice-President Research pro tem and a professor of computer science, is now the university’s new Vice-President Research and Innovation.

She replaces Dr. Helen Burt, who has served as the Vice-President Research pro-tem since June, 2016. According to UBC press release, Murphy’s term is expected to start on August 14, and Burt will “return to her position as Associate Vice-President Research and Innovation.”

According to the search’s executive brief, the position focuses on “[advancing] the university’s innovation strategy, working in partnership with industry and government,” as well as “fostering international linkages.” Efforts to maintain the “efficient support services” for UBC faculties, schools and libraries, and “effective liaison” with external funding agencies, affiliated institutions and the broader community are also expected.

Health research received a specific mention, where the position would “play a major role in [its] enhancement and oversight, conducted within the provincial health authorities and through unique partnerships with the University of Victoria and the University of Northern British Columbia.”

As the Associate Vice-President Research pro tem, Murphy has “successfully led” several initiatives, according to the press release.

Some of them include Research Excellence Cluster initiative, the Advanced Research Computing team and the Cascadia Urban Analytics Consortium, which is in partnership with University of Washington.

Murphy has also taken on various faculty leadership roles.

Most recently, she served as the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs in the faculty of science from 2013 to 2016 – a position that allowed her to establish the master of data science degree and the Data Science Institute.

Outside of UBC, she co-founded and acted as Chief Scientist at Tasktop Technologies Incorporated.

“Research is a central component of UBC’s mandate as a public university,” said UBC President Santa Ono in his announcement. “Looking to the future, I am excited to work with Professor Murphy in advancing UBC’s excellence in, and contributions to, research and innovation as part of UBC’s strategic plan.”