About the President’s Excellence Chairs Program

President Santa Ono

In January 2016, the UBC Board of Governors approved the creation of the UBC Excellence Fund to advance academic excellence and strengthen UBC in the years to come. 

From the previously approved increase in international student tuition, a share of the revenue is directed to the Exellence Fund, which supports initiatives that will ensure:

  1. The recruitment and retention of exemplary faculty members and students,
  2. The conduct of innovative, cutting-edge research, and
  3. An excellent student learning experience.

What defines "Excellence"?

The Terms of Reference for the UBC Excellence Fund state that "Excellence” is “one characteristic among the factors that could be considered, that inarguably distinguishes world-class universities from all the others: having outstanding students, researchers and teachers, and staff.

To achieve our ambitions, we must create an environment that draws the very best undergraduate and graduate students from across the country, and internationally. These are the leaders, the discoverers, the creators of tomorrow, and they will come to UBC if we provide an outstanding learning environment – one that employs pedagogy that research has shown to be most effective and that supports learners to realize their full potential.

Similarly, we must attract, support and retain outstanding faculty members – those researchers, teachers, scholars, and artists who, by never failing to question, analyze and create, change lives and society for the better.”

UBC President's Excellence Chairs

The President’s Excellence Chairs were created to attract great faculty who will enable cutting-edge research and an excellent student learning experience to attract top students. The recruitment of outstanding faculty to areas in which UBC already has tremendous strength will attract increased levels of research funding, which will attract other outstanding faculty and the best students. UBC will have the privilege to yield a diverse class of exceptional graduate and undergraduate students – intellectually curious, academically gifted, and socially engaged.

The chairs are in the following areas: Biodiversity Studies, Brain Health, Forest Bio-products, Precision Oncology and Healthy Aging. Each chair has an estimated value of $3-5 million. Further information on each position is available on this site.

If you would like additional information, please contact Marcia Lang.

Confirmed Appointments

The university is delighted to welcome Dr. Claire Kremen and Dr. Emily Cranston who have joined as UBC's first President's Excellence Chairs. 

Dr. Claire Kremen has commenced her appointment as the UBC President’s Excellence Chair in Biodiversity Studies. Joining the university as a Professor, Dr. Kremen holds a joint appointment in UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and the Department of Zoology. She was previously a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley, as well as Faculty Director of the Berkeley Food Institute.

As a conservation biologist, Dr. Kremen’s applied research advances the fields of ecology, biodiversity and agriculture, seeking mechanisms to prevent or reverse the loss of biodiversity – one of the greatest environmental challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Dr. Kremen’s lab at UBC will investigate how to create sustainable landscapes that benefit both people and nature. She will also develop a new initiative in Conservation Science at UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre that will promote new research on pressing conservation problems and provide a platform to train the next generation of conservation practitioners and leaders. 

Dr. Kremen holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and a PhD in Zoology from Duke University, and her research has been published in highly-regarded journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - Series B, Ecology Letters and Conservation Biology.

Dr. Emily D. Cranston has joined UBC as the President’s Excellence Chair in Forest Bio-products, and as an Associate Professor in UBC's Departments of Wood Science and Chemical and Biological Engineering. She was previously an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University and held the Canada Research Chair in Bio-Based Nanomaterials. 

Dr. Cranston’s research focuses on sustainable nanocomposites and hybrid materials from cellulose and other biopolymers, and her papers have been published in such journals as Chemical Society Reviews, Materials Today, Advanced Materials and Nano Letters. Her work has significantly impacted the broad scientific community, as evidenced by her H-index of 27, four patents and 75 peer-reviewed publications with over 3000 citations. 

Dr. Cranston received her Bachelor of Science (Honours) and PhD, both in Chemistry, from McGill University. She also spent time as a post-doctoral fellow at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Cranston currently sits on the editorial boards for the Canadian Chemical News and various American Chemical Society and De Gruyter journals, and is active in Nanocellulose Standards Development. 

Dr. Cranston has supervised 75 students and post-docs over the past 8 years and is passionate about teaching and training. 

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