Thanks to a $1-million donation from Microsoft Corporation, UBC and the University of Washington have an unprecedented opportunity to transform the Cascadia region into a technological hub comparable to Silicon Valley and Boston.
The donation allows UBC and UW to establish a Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC), an applied, interdisciplinary, regional centre that brings together academic researchers, students and community members to address urban issues facing citizens of the so-called Cascadia region – usually defined as the province of British Columbia along with Washington State and Oregon.
Borders should have no meaning when it comes to knowledge discovery and dissemination. We benefit most when we work together. Indeed, UBC was recently named North America’s most international university thanks in large part to its extensive and intensive international collaborations.
The Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative continues in that vein. The CUAC will enrich the lives of people living in the Cascadia region, using data science for social good in an urban context, tackling subjects from homelessness to traffic congestion.
There is a critical need for evidence-based innovation to improve the resiliency, health and wellbeing of people in the Cascadia region, and other urban areas.
The cooperative allows UBC and UW, two of North America’s leading research universities, to draw on one another’s strengths and collaborate to address challenges like the growth of our cities and the health of our citizens. I hope that this will be the start of even warmer relations between our two great universities.
This new partnership with UW and Microsoft also leverages existing work at UBC using data analytics, both at the Data Science Institute and Sustainability Initiative.
Our ultimate goal is to establish Cascadia as a world leader in responsible social innovation through data science. We hope to establish our universities as a permanent hub for applied research projects that have a direct, positive impact on society.
I look forward to working closely with the University of Washington and Microsoft on this exciting initiative. And I am confident that our Cascadia cooperative scholars, students and community partners—working together across campuses and borders—will leverage data science in the pursuit of innovative solutions to the urban issues facing our region, now and in the future. You can find more information on the initiative at http://news.ubc.ca/2017/02/23/ubc-and-uw-establish-joint-centre-to-use-data-for-social-good-in-cascadia-region.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President & Vice-Chancellor