UBC Global Access Principles

UBC technologies have the potential to generate significant societal impacts, particularly relating to the advancement of health, the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainability.

In 2007, UBC became the first university in Canada to develop a broad strategy to ensure global access to its technologies.

UBC's Global Access Principles

In order for UBC technologies to maximize their global impact, practical mechanisms and partnering strategies are required that enhance both the economic and societal impact of University innovations, extend these impacts to broader global settings, ensure fair access to these technologies for relevant communities.

To this end, while applying the University's intellectual property policy, UBC will:

  • Promote global access by entering public/private partnerships to develop new technologies to benefit the developing world
  • Prioritize environmentally friendly research and green alternatives, and take the lead in community sustainability
  • Respect biodiversity, ensuring value return to countries of origin
  • Endeavour to ensure that under privileged populations have 'at cost' access to UBC research innovations through negotiated global access terms whenever appropriate

As the understanding of issues relating to societal licensing evolves, balancing ambitious objectives with legitimate business concerns requires patience, determination, and the willingness to be both pragmatic and flexible. To support our social licensing commitment, UBC will, where possible, employ the following strategies:

  • Build on the values of access and dissemination as demonstrated in the open source movement in the IT sector
  • Promote the use of non-exclusive licensing of research tools
  • Consider field-of-use and jurisdictional limitations in exclusive licenses to exclude developing world countries
  • Negotiate developing world access 'at cost' to relevant technologies which are licensed on a world-wide exclusive basis (required for technology development)
  • Seek partnerships with not-for-profit and charitable organizations to provide much needed funding for neglected disease areas
  • Design patent strategies with our development partners that ensure quality product delivery to those most in need, while promoting sustainable, local infrastructure

In measuring the success of technology transfer activities at UBC, societal impact has become a key metric alongside standard throughput, financial and economic measurements.

For more information on how the global principles may apply to specific technologies or general questions related to our strategy, please email brett.sharp@uilo.ubc.ca.