UBC Awards Over $700,000 to 30 Community-University Partnerships Through the 2023-24 Community-University Engagement Support Fund

This spring, the University of British Columbia awarded over $700,000 in support of community-university partnerships. These partnerships, spanning across British Columbia, are aimed at benefiting communities and advancing collaborative research, teaching and learning. 

UBC Community Engagement, alongside the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, is delighted to announce the 2023-24 recipients of the Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) Fund. A total of $707,166 has been allocated to 30 outstanding projects, with awards of up to $25,000 each. These projects exemplify the power of community-university partnerships in addressing priority issues throughout the province. 

Fostering Reciprocal Community-University Partnerships 

Paid directly to community partners, CUES funding prioritizes reciprocal, inclusive engagement. This approach ensures all communities—especially those historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized—can benefit.

One of this year’s projects involves a partnership between the Kanaka Bar Indian Band and UBC’s Faculty of Forestry. This collaboration focuses on preserving and utilizing the rich oral histories and Indigenous knowledge of the T’eqt’aqtnmux (Kanaka Bar) for future generations. With the passing of Elders, capturing their stories, cultural practices, and connections to the land becomes increasingly critical.  

This knowledge will guide the stewardship of the T’eqt’aqtn Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA), covering 320 square kilometers of their traditional and unceded territory in the Fraser Canyon near Lytton, BC. This area also protects over 125 square kilometers of BC’s rarest old-growth forests. 

Sean O’Rourke, Lands Manager for the Kanaka Bar Indian Band, shared, “The CUES funding will enable T’eqt’aqtnmux to engage knowledge keepers and Elders from each of the families that make up our community in support of our Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) Initiative. This funding will help us ensure that the IPCA is established in a manner that incorporates all of our families’ voices, values, and perspectives.” 

Advancing Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning 

An integral part of this project is the development of a strong relationship and mutual understanding with UBC’s Faculty of Forestry. This collaboration will explore how scientific research can complement Indigenous knowledge in land stewardship. 

O’Rourke elaborates, “We are working with UBC to draw from the collective expertise of the University’s Faculty of Forestry. Support for organization, planning, and conservation science knowledge will ensure our IPCA is equally grounded in Indigenous Knowledge and western science best practices. yémit kn eł kʷukʷsténe he nkséytkn kt he musʔéleʔxn eł he ex nxʷélix eł he ex nqáyix eł he nkséytkn he k ̓ ʷmiʔxʷép eł e qʷámqʷəmt te skízeʔ e tmixʷ he qʷuʔc (translation: I pray and give thanks to our relatives the four-legged, winged ones and the finned ones and the root people and our sacred mother the Earth for the water).”  

Adding to this, UBC Partner Dr. Harry Nelson from the Department of Forest Resources Management emphasizes the significance of the funding, saying “This funding allows us to work as true partners, and is very important to the community as it shows UBC’s commitment to developing the right relationship with the community for this research.” 

The CUES funding will support the hiring of four T’eqt’aqtnmux Elders as research partners, provide honorariums for other knowledge holders, and facilitate workshops for both on-reserve and off-reserve community members. 

CUES Fund at a Glance 

Since its inception in 2018, the CUES Fund has awarded $3,215,900 to 142 community-university partnerships, engaging UBC partners from 18 faculties across both Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. 

This year’s fund highlights include: 

  • $707,166 awarded to 30 projects.
  • Funding for 5 Indigenous community partners. 
  • Representation from 10 Faculties across Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. 
  • Involvement of 5 projects with student co-applicants. 
  • Projects ranging from Vancouver Island (Courtenay, Sidney) to Metro Vancouver (Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Richmond), and extend up to Kelowna, Lytton, and Terrace. 

Join us in celebrating the 2023-24 CUES Fund recipients and explore more about these remarkable partnerships between communities and the university below. 

Click here to learn more.