From robotics, nanotechnology, and virtual reality to parenting approaches and implications of COVID-19 for social support and policy planning—UBC researchers are leading the way to better health. With the inaugural competition of its new Health Innovation Funding Investment (HIFI) Awards, UBC Health is supporting these efforts. 

The HIFI Awards enable health researchers to undertake innovative activities that have the potential to create change. HIFI catalyzes cross-faculty and cross-campus collaboration at UBC's Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. Grants valued between $10,000 and $25,000 are awarded to develop, undertake, or translate innovative health-related research.

“We received an overwhelming and positive response to our first call for proposals, with 36 diverse applications from across both campuses, demonstrating how integral collaboration is to research at UBC,” says Kim McGrail, Director of Research at UBC Health. “The HIFI Awards are designed to amplify those collaborations by providing funding to support new ideas that will lead to a grant application, innovative research, or the translation of a proven initiative into practice.”

For an application to be considered, the proposal had to include faculty members and/or trainees from at least two different UBC faculties and be feasible in the current context of COVID-19 and related activity restrictions. An interdisciplinary review committee then evaluated those applications based on a number of factors, including the extent to which the initiative set out a compelling context, the quality and potential impact of the deliverable, whether trainees were included, and whether equity, diversity, and inclusion were addressed.

We received an overwhelming and positive response... with diverse applications from across both campuses, demonstrating how integral collaboration is to research at UBC.

After much consideration, UBC Health selected six collaborative teams of faculty members to receive a total of $136,186 in funding for their innovative interdisciplinary research projects. 

UBC Health is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Health Innovation Funding Investment Awards:

Allies in health: Social support for health behaviours and combating loneliness in the face of COVID-19
HIFI AWARD: $19,800
  • Dr. Christiane Hoppmann, Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts
    Dr. Jennifer Jakobi, Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development
  • Dr. Maureen Ashe, Associate Professor, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine
  • Dr. Ken Madden, Associate Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
  • Dr. Rachel Murphy, Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine
  • Dr. Wolfgang Linden, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts
Application of virtual reality to treat vaginismus: Fear of sexual activity
HIFI AWARD: $25,000
  • Dr. Lori Brotto, Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine
    Dr. Alan Kingstone, Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts
  • Dr. Melanie Altas, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine
  • Natalie Brown, MA student, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts
Can we blame the COVID-19 overdose surge on emergency income supports? Empirical evidence to support social policy planning
HIFI AWARD: $24,527
  • Dr. Lindsey Richardson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts; Research Scientist, BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Dr. Jane Buxton, Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine; Medical Lead, Harm Reduction, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Dr. David Green, Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, Faculty of Arts
  • Dr. Lianping Ti, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine; Research Scientist and Health Administrative Data Lead, BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Dr. Amanda Slaunwhite, Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine; Senior Scientist, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Dr. Heather Palis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Allison Laing, PhD student, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts
Creating a calmer NICU: Pilot testing a robot for optimizing brain development in preterm infants in the NICU
HIFI AWARD: $24,859
  • Dr. Liisa Holsti, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine
    Dr. Manon Ranger, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science
  • Dr. Guy Dumont, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
  • Dr. Kevin Golovin, Assistant Professor, Mechanical School of Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
  • Shahbaz Askari, PhD student, Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
Indigenous Elder-led app to support parents’ two-eyed seeing for parenting
HIFI AWARD: $17,000
  • Dr. Wendy Hall, Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science
  • Dr. Patti Janssen, Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine
  • Gloria Mellesmoen, PhD student, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts
Smartphone- and nanotechnology-enabled platform for deployable extracellular vesicle and virus detection
HIFI AWARD: $25,000
  • Dr. Russ Algar, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science
  • Dr. Karla Williams, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

“Congratulations to the recipients of our inaugural HIFI Awards for being champions in interdisciplinary and innovative health research,” says Dermot Kelleher, Vice-President, Health. “These awards are unique—they foster collaboration among researchers from across the faculties and campuses of UBC, bringing diverse perspectives and expertise to research on current and ongoing issues across the life span. We look forward to seeing the outcomes.”

UBC Health will feature each research project over the coming year to report on the teams’ progress and outcomes.

Posted February 16, 2021

Categories

  • Cross-cutting Research