The SPARC Team

Our Team

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Leadership

Martin Kirk, Director

martin.kirk@ors.ubc.ca 
604.822.8083

Martin provides leadership at ORS and SPARC. He works closely with colleagues in the VPRI office and faculties to ensure UBC has the best possible support programs in place. He also collaborates with UBCO, Faculties, Institutes and Affiliate hospitals to ensure SPARC provides consistent and top quality support to all UBC researchers. Martin works closely with the Canadian and US funding agencies to ensure UBC is in a high degree of compliance and has the best possible intelligence on new and evolving funding programs.

Martin completed his first degree in chemistry at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and then went on to study/research for his PhD in applied chemistry at the University of Calgary.

In 1999, Martin moved into the VP (Research) portfolio as associate to the VPR at U of C and in 2000 became the director of Research Services. In 2005 he was promoted to associate VPR and was then recruited to UBC in Nov 2007.

Martin is the immediate Past-President of the Canadian Association of University Research Administration (CAURA). He also co-chairs a national committee Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI), developing a standard of research impact metrics. He is also involved with many other national and international groups including the federal funders, U21, U15, INORMS etc.

Dawn Whitworth, Associate Director

dawn.whitworth@ubc.ca
604.822.3331

Dawn Whitworth is the Associate Director of SPARC with a focus on large scale research partnership development. She consults with researchers, faculty, business and nonprofit groups on research strategies and knowledge exchange between universities, NGO's and the private sector. The results of Whitworth's work can be measured in the realization of robust inter-sectoral research partnerships and successful funding bids through federal, provincial and international bodies such as SSHRC, NCE, CFI, CRC, NSERC and BCKDF.

Originally from England, Whitworth's diverse education in visual arts, technology and business management brings an interdisciplinary focus to her practice.  Whitworth's work is underpinned by her doctoral dissertation which focused on multi-sectoral research collaborations between universities and the private sector. Before UBC, Whitworth worked at Emily Carr University of Art and Design where she developed research partnerships and cooperative education programs with corporations such as Apple and Facebook, and local start-ups and SMEs. In the UK Whitworth completed a BA (honours) and an MA (distinction) and earned her doctorate at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC.

Health

Christy McTait, Health Grant Development Officer

christy.mctait@ubc.ca 
604.827.5615

CIHR Foundation Scheme

Christy manages SPARC support for CIHR’s new Foundation Grant program. Foundation support services include strategic grant writing workshops, application templates, internal peer review and SPARC review. Christy also provides one-on-one funding consultations with both new-to-UBC and new-to-CIHR researchers. Prior to joining SPARC, Christy worked in change management and strategic planning in the health care sector. Christy received her Master’s in Health Administration from UBC and Bachelor of Science from Queen's University.

Stephane Dragon, Health Research Development Officer

stephane.dragon@ubc.ca
604-822-4318

CIHR Project Grant

Stephane's focus is to develop support services and resources for the Project Grant competitions. Stephane is a project management professional specializing in the design, administration and evaluation of funding programs that support research, training and knowledge mobilization. He was responsible for the coordination and delivery of funding programs at the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), and previously reviewed and evaluated policies related to the management and financial administration of grants and awards at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Stephane received his Ph.D. from the Department of Immunology at the University of Manitoba investigating the cellular mechanisms that drive allergic airway inflammation.

Tessa Cheng, Health Research Development Officer 
Sharon Marsh, Health Research Development Officer 

sharon.marsh@ubc.ca
604-822-9180

Sharon Marsh holds a degree in Genetics from Nottingham University in England and a PhD in Medical Genetics from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Following her PhD she crossed the ocean to work in various roles in an NIH funded cancer pharmacogenomics lab at Washington University in St Louis. Subsequently she worked in Montreal as an Associate Scientific Director in a Genome Canada funded centre before returning to academia at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Edmonton. Sharon joined UBC’s SPARC in 2017 as a Health Research Development Officer.

 

Elizabeth Cheu, Research Grant Development

elizabeth.cheu@ubc.ca
604-822-7971

Elizabeth Cheu led health-related grant development support for the Faculty of Medicine for almost ten years and, in her new role with SPARC, will continue to expand her health-related grant expertise, including salary awards, across UBC. Elizabeth’s mandate to improve competitive funding for UBC will be to: clarify subject matter; assist with strategy; and help develop peer-reviewed grants. Elizabeth earned her Ph.D. (Chemistry) in 2000. She then trained as a postdoc in photodynamic therapy. Elizabeth spent several years in the biotech industry managing an international patent portfolio.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Dawn Whitworth, Associate Director

dawn.whitworth@ubc.ca
604.822.3331

SSHRC PG & PDG; CFI & BCKDF; NCE

Dawn Whitworth is the Associate Director of SPARC with a focus on large scale research partnership development. She consults with researchers, faculty, business and nonprofit groups on research strategies and knowledge exchange between universities, NGO's and the private sector. The results of Whitworth's work can be measured in the realization of robust inter-sectoral research partnerships and successful funding bids through federal, provincial and international bodies such as SSHRC, NCE, CFI, CRC, NSERC and BCKDF.

Originally from England, Whitworth's diverse education in visual arts, technology and business management brings an interdisciplinary focus to her practice.  Whitworth's work is underpinned by her doctoral dissertation which focused on multi-sectoral research collaborations between universities and the private sector. Before UBC, Whitworth worked at Emily Carr University of Art and Design where she developed research partnerships and cooperative education programs with corporations such as Apple and Facebook, and local start-ups and SMEs. In the UK Whitworth completed a BA (honours) and an MA (distinction) and earned her doctorate at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC.

Danica Kell, SSH Research Development Officer

danica.kell@ubc.ca
604.822.8778

SSHRC IG, IDG

Danica manages the SSHRC Insight and Insight Development Grant Internal Review Programs, and assists with other SSH research funding opportunities.  Before joining SPARC, Danica worked as a Special Project Researcher for the David Spencer Endowment Encouragement Foundation, and as Program Manager for the Surrey Choral Arts Project Society. Danica received her BA from UBC.

Erica Machulak, SSH Research Development Officer

erica.machulak@ubc.ca
604.822.8789

SSHRC PEG

Erica provides support to researchers in the Social Sciences and Humanities, focusing on proposals for the SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. She received her PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame and her M.St. from the University of Oxford. In addition to her academic publications and contributions to the Medieval Studies Research Blog, Erica has written articles on Indigenous language research initiatives for the US National Endowment for the Humanities.

Natural Sciences and Engineering

Alexander Unterberger, NSE Research Development Officer

alexander.unterberger@ubc.ca 
604.822.5386

NSERC CREATE, DG

Alexander is responsible for planning, managing and communicating the facilitation of natural sciences and engineering research funding review processes and the development of collaborative research applications across UBC. He supports the development of applications to the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program and the Discovery Grants Program at NSERC, as well as supporting large institutional applications.

Alexander received his BSc and PhD from McGill University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Sick Kids Hospital. He worked at the University Health Network as a Research Communication Specialist and as a Research Grants Facilitator in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. Alexander has experience in developing operating, salary and infrastructure grants for a diverse set of research disciplines to a variety of funding agencies, such as NSERC, CFI, CRC, CIHR, NIH and Genome Canada.

Joanne Moszynski, NSE Research Development

joanne.moszynski@ubc.ca
604.827.4057

NSERC programs

Joanne provides funding application development support for engineering and natural science researchers, primarily in the Faculty of Applied Science. She received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Victoria, M.Sc. from Western University and B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, and was previously employed in industry as a scientist and postdoctoral fellow before transitioning to her current role.

Sophia van Hees, NSE Research Development

sophia.vanhees@ubc.ca
604.822.8136

Sophia provides funding application support in natural sciences and engineering, primarily for the NSERC CREATE and Discovery Grant (DG) programs. She was previously employed as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary and has a strong background in collaborative research. Prior to moving to Canada, Sophia received her PhD in Speech Pathology from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Raquel De Souza, NSE Research Development

raquel.desouza@ubc.ca
604.822.0182

Raquel provides funding application development support for the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Since receiving her PhD from the University of Toronto (Pharmaceutical Sciences), she has worked in academic-industry collaborative research projects, and in consulting for the pharmaceutical industry. 

In​ternational Funding 

Deborah Watt

deborah.watt@ubc.ca
604.822.9496

Deborah Watt returned to UBC on June 5 to work with the SPARC team on developing international research initiatives. For the past year and a half, she worked with Elsevier as a consultant on their Research Intelligence team where she led large, data-intensive analytical projects for Canadian and US Universities and Government agencies. Previously at UBC, Deborah worked at the Vice President Research Office under Dr. Helen Burt, supporting the development of large proposals and strategic projects including the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Genome Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation and UBC Advanced Research Computing initiative. She also previously held a position in the Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, focussed on grant development in the area of pharmacogenomics in primary healthcare environments. At SPARC, Deborah's mandate is to increase UBC’s competitiveness with international funding bodies.