Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies


Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies

Founded in 1991, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies is the senior research institute at the University of British Columbia. It supports basic research through collaborative, interdisciplinary initiatives. The Institute brings together scholars from UBC with distinguished researchers and experts from around the world to investigate fundamental research drawing upon and contributing to a wide range of diverse disciplines in the Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Humanities. The Institute has a varied program of colloquia, workshops, scholars in residence, and a distinguished professorship, and major special events.

Aims

The Institute's aims, as detailed on its website, are "to support fundamental, interdisciplinary research and creative activities expected to result in significant advances to knowledge." [citation|chapter= Mission |url= http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/information/ |title= Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ]

History

The Institute's programs began in 1994, thanks to a CAD$15 million donation of Wall Financial Corporation shares three years earlier from the Vancouver property developer, Peter Wall; at the time, this was the largest private donation the University had ever received. [citation|title= UBC donation |newspaper= Financial Post |place= Toronto |date= April 12, 1991 |year= 1991 |page= 4 |url= http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=267746651&sid=3&Fmt=3&clientId=6993&RQT=309&VName=PQD |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ] As of March 2007, the market value of the shares stood at CAD$48 million. [citation|title= The UBC Endowment: A Foundation for Excellence |url= http://www.treasury.ubc.ca/assets/pdf/endowment07s.pdf |year= 2007 |publisher= University of British Columbia |page=7 |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ] Also in 1994, the University dedicated a CAD$10 million Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Endowment Fund to the Institute.

The intent was to create an institute of advanced study modelled largely on the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Then UBC President, David Strangway, was quoted as saying "This remarkable contribution will allow us to create an institute that will help UBC and the province of British Columbia move to a new level of international significance". [citation|last= McIntrye |first= Greg |title= UBC hits jackpot |newspaper= The Province |date= April 12, 1991 |year= 1991 |page= 7 |url= http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=237799011&sid=3&Fmt=3&clientId=6993&RQT=309&VName=PQD |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ]

The Institute began "active operations" in 1994 with the appointment of UBC Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Michael Smith (1932–2000) as Peter Wall Distinguished Professor and acquired its own facilities, at the University Centre, in 1999. [citation|chapter= History |url= http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/information/history.php |title= Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ] The Institute's first full-time director was Kenneth MacCrimmon from 1996 to 2002; its current director is Dianne Newell, a professor in History and expert in technology studies, industrial archaeology, industrial fisheries, and post-war science fiction. [citation|chapter= Director |title= Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies |url= http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/information/director.php |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ]

Programs

The Institute's programs include:

* Exploratory Workshops, which bring together researchers from UBC and elsewhere, to "assess basic research and research possibilities with major potential impact in a new way". [citation|chapter= Exploratory Workshop Grant |url= http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/programs/workshop.php |title= Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ]
* Major Thematic Grants, of up to CAD$500,000, "to support interdisciplinary, collaborative teams" over a period of several years. [citation|chapter= Major Thematic Grant |url= http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/programs/mtg.php |title= Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ] Thematic grants have been on topics such as crisis points; narratives of disease, disability, and trauma; and pathogenomics, on mechanisms of infectious diseases. [citation|title= Grants |newspaper= The Vancouver Sun |date= November 8, 1999 |year= 1999 |page= C.14 |url= http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=223461241&sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=6993&RQT=309&VName=PQD |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ]
* Colloquia
* Theme Development Workshops.
* The Peter Wall Distinguished Professorship. The University describes this as "one of UBC's highest honours". [citation|title= The UBC Endowment: A Foundation for Excellence |url= http://www.treasury.ubc.ca/assets/pdf/endowment07s.pdf |year= 2007 |publisher= University of British Columbia |page= 8 |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ] The current Peter Wall Distinguished Professor is Brett Finlay, a microbiologist who is also Officer of the Order of Canada. [citation|chapter= Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada |title= Governor General of Canada |date= July 24, 2006] |year= 2006 |url= http://gg.ca/media/doc.asp?lang=e&DocID=4828 |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ] "This is huge," Finlay was quoted as saying upon receiving the professorship. "The Peter Wall Institute is a really special place at the University of British Columbia." [citation|last= King |first= Anna |url= http://www.themanitoban.com/2002-2003/1204/news_5.shtml |date= December 4, 2002 |journal= The Manitoban |title= This Prof Could Save Your Life: E. coli Research Results in Prestigious Award |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ] Finlay's recent work is on vaccines to combat E. coli [citation|last= Fayerman |first= Pamela |title= UBC Produces E. coli Vaccine |newspaper= The Vancouver Sun |url= http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=473474341&sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=6993&RQT=309&VName=PQD |date= November 26, 2003 |page= B.3 |accessdate= 2008-05-26 ] and SARS.
* The Distinguished Scholars in Residence program, developed to bring to the Institute for one year senior UBC faculty members with distinguished research records and commitment to interdisciplinarity.
* The Early Career Scholars program, which program brings together outstanding tenure-track faculty from diverse disciplines at the early stages of their careers at UBC.
* The Distinguished Visiting Professor program. The Institute's visiting professors to date have been the intellectual historian Arif Dirlik (in 2005) and the Nobel prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffman (in 2008). [citation|chapter= Distinguished Visiting Professor |title= Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies |url= http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/awards/dvp.php |accessdate= 2008-05-27 ]
* The Wall Summer Institute for Research, which has featured public talks by James Orbinski, Jomo Kwame Sundaram [citation |chapter= Canada's not immune to global food crisis |title= The Georgia Straight, June 19, 2008
url=http://www.straight.com/article-150312/canadas-not-immune-global-food-crisis
] , and Immanuel Wallerstein.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.pwias.ubc.ca/ Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies website]


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