Partner types - the 5Cs

Partnerships bring diversity, unique perspectives, and critical local knowledge and expertise to the table. Addressing complex global challenges to achieve impact at scale requires all kinds of collaborators, large and small, from a range of sectors and geographies.


UBC is fortunate to have a long history of fruitful relationships with colleges, universities and research institutions. We also collaborate with partner types we call the “5Cs.” Those are: colleges and universities, corporations, community organizations, cities, and countries. These groups include small businesses, multinational companies, national governments and non-profit organizations of global and grassroots scope. 

We believe that it is only by working across stakeholder groups that we can affect meaningful change in today’s interrelated world. For our partners, the 5Cs approach offers new avenues to tap into UBC’s strengths, assets and desire to serve in support of their own goals and objectives.

Colleges + universities

For decades, we’ve joined with other research institutions, colleges and universities across the world – from Hong Kong, Kenya and the United States to Brazil, Belgium and Australia. Our goal is bringing together specialists for collaborative research, as well as giving exchange students opportunities to pursue academics in other countries. With UBC’s new strategic direction, we aim to strengthen that solid foundation, working with a broader range of higher learning institutions that share our passion for building a more just, prosperous and sustainable world.  These collaborations take many forms, including new teaching and learning avenues, research and outreach benefitting all partners.


UBC partners extensively with industry for research, internships and student engagement. Companies can tap into the university’s leading-edge research, technology, assets and subject experts, and forge personal relationships with potential future employees, among the world’s best and brightest minds. For UBC, corporate endeavors open up a range of new possibilities on a global scale – from collaborative research on sustainability, to co-creating student learning experiences, to working together in communities on sustainable development.

Community organizations

With a shared history and heritage, only a community itself knows best what it needs. Grassroots service groups play a critical role in tackling incredibly important issues – such as health, food security, homelessness and literacy – at the local level, often working with scant resources, limited funding and volunteer staff. UBC can help tailor research to address community issues, co-create solutions alongside local leaders and convene subject experts with access to the latest research, technology, resources and assets. The university community equally benefits by giving students hands-on, practical experience and deep knowledge about the societies in which we live. In fact, these partnerships are crucial for UBC as a learning organization in step with today’s realities. 


Microcosms of the wider world, cities represent a fertile test ground where cross-disciplinary teams can engage in research and solution-generation as equitable partners and stakeholders. In fact, UBC ranked 8th in the world on the 2020 Times Higher Education Impact Ranking for work advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11 – sustainable cities and communities. Urban areas benefit not only from UBC’s research strengths, but also from the perspective that multidisciplinary teams bring to complex problems. For the university, city partnerships help us create practical, relevant educational programs where teams of students learn the effectiveness of working across boundaries.


As a global university and research institution, we have a responsibility to join partners in building a more just, sustainable society. We are looking to take a seat at the table with world leaders and national governments, offering to work in service to people, ideas and the planet.

Intricate, interrelated issues shape prosperity and development at the national level, and we seek to build purposeful partnerships with countries where we already conduct research and run educational programs – for the benefit of all. Building on our linkages and partnerships with national governments offers expanded opportunities to the UBC community to work with new and existing partners.