Cloud Innovation Centre

UBC and Amazon Web Services announce first University-Based Cloud Innovation Centre in Canada

On July 10 2019, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced the launch of a Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The CIC is the first of its kind in Canada, and provides UBC students, staff, and faculty access to cloud technology to advance projects, along with employing Amazon’s innovation processes. The announcement was made at Amazon’s annual IMAGINE education conference in Seattle, with UBC’s Jennifer Burns and Simon Bates in attendance.

Branded as the UBC Community Health and Wellbeing CIC, powered by AWS, the Centre supports student teams tackling real-world issues and challenges, where application of novel and emerging technology or computing approaches are essential. The CIC changes the way UBC teams use cloud technology, drive innovation, and improve agility and cost.

Located on the university’s Vancouver campus, teams working on challenge projects have in-person support from a Vancouver-based AWS team of cloud computing and data experts.

The UBC Community Health and Wellbeing CIC gives student teams, supported by staff and faculty, the opportunity to use leading cloud technology from AWS to unlock results for challenge projects faster and generate new insights for our community. The team-based, hands-on approach – coupled with industry expertise – provides authentic, digital learning experiences for students as well as opportunities for UBC faculty and staff to work with innovative tools.

UBC and AWS CIC staff will work with students, staff and faculty, as well as community, government or not-for-profit organizations to define challenges, to engage with subject matter experts, to identify a solution and to build a Proof of Concept (PoC). All of the innovation challenge outputs, including the PoC will be published as open source for other community members to access and use.

This CIC in Canada joins seven other cloud computing research initiatives funded by AWS worldwide, including California Polytechnic University Digital Transformation HubArizona State University Smart City CICMunich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) Digital Transformation LabCODE University of Applied Sciences Better Future LabSciences Po Public Innovation LabBusan City CIC, and the recently launched Swinburne Data for Social Good CIC.

What is a CIC?

Cloud Innovation Centres or CICs (pronounced “kicks”) serve as a hub for public sector community driven “challenges” that address, over time and across geographies, the critical problems/opportunities facing governmental organizations, including education and non-profits.

UBC’s CIC is a public-private collaboration between UBC and Amazon. A CIC identifies digital transformation challenges, the problems or opportunities that matter to the community, and provides subject matter expertise and CIC leadership. AWS brings Amazon’s innovation process, skilled cloud expertise, and global solution reach-back to assist UBC in identifying their best solutions for the challenges presented by their end user community.

UBC’s CIC focuses on Community Health and Wellbeing.

About AWS Cloud Innovation Centres (CIC)

Why this theme

The over-arching theme for this CIC is Community Health and Wellbeing. Our definition of community is deliberately broad: from the community that lives, works and learns on UBC’s campuses, to our many community sites and partners, government, not-for-profit organizations and indigenous nations. Similarly, health and wellbeing are foundational to nurturing the success of individuals, our institution and our communities, and to society more broadly. This theme aligns with UBC’s Strategic Plan, within the core areas of People & Places and Transformative Learning, and the institution’s ongoing development of sustainable, healthy and connected campuses and communities, consistent with the 20-Year Sustainability Strategy and Wellbeing Strategic Framework (guided by the Okanagan Charter).

Why is AWS offering the CIC service and sharing the Amazon innovation process

AWS public sector has the goal of increasing technology choices, spurring economic development, and accelerating implementation of replicable public-sector cloud successes to improve digital experiences for students/citizens globally. CICs are a great way to engage customers that have shared challenges. The Amazon innovation process is simple and is itself an innovative approach to address challenges. CICs help identify and share digital transformation success stories and solutions that address the full range of public sector challenges.

What is an Innovation Challenge

An Innovation Challenge is a real-world issue or challenge, where application of novel and emerging technology or computing approaches is essential. Challenge projects will be proposed by UBC students, staff, faculty and community partners, combining local expertise with AWS cloud services, computing capacity, proven innovation methodology and innovative tools.

About the UBC Community Health and Wellbeing CIC

What are the expected outcomes from this partnership between AWS and UBC

Using Amazon’s innovation methodology, dedicated UBC and Amazon CIC staff will work with students, staff and faculty, as well as community, government or not-for-profit organizations to define challenges, to engage with subject matter experts, to identify a solution and to build a Proof of Concept (PoC). All of the innovation challenge outputs, including the PoC will be published as open source for other community members to access and use.

Through co-op and work-integrated learning, students also have an opportunity to learn new skills which they will later be able to apply in the workforce. With an increasing number of high-tech jobs available in British Columbia, potential employers of UBC grads also reap indirect benefits.

How will UBC’s CIC be unique

UBC’s CIC includes several post-doctoral teaching and learning fellows who add value by driving knowledge translation for teaching and learning, continuing a tradition of innovating teaching through the use of evidence-based pedagogies, promoting active as well as work-integrated learning. UBC’s well-established approach, dating back over a decade to the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative is to deploy postdoctoral disciplinary experts with a strong focus on teaching and learning enhancements to catalyze teaching innovation in partnership with faculty.

Will there be consultation with UBC stakeholders

Stakeholders are invited to be part of a transitional team to determine challenge project selection criteria and governance for the CIC. This transition team will complete its work over the next six months (into early 2020).

How many AWS and UBC staff will work in the CIC

Amazon contributes three FTE to the CIC including a Digital Innovation Lead, a Program Manager and a Solution Architect. UBC contributes three FTE as well: an academic director, a project manager and an IT professional. There are post-doctoral teaching & learning fellows, co-op students and others working in the CIC.

When will the CIC at UBC officially open its doors

The CIC at UBC officially launched on January 27th, 2020.

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    Challenge Proposal selection

    Proposal evaluation committee selects and announces the chosen challenges for UBC’s CIC.

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

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