Wall Scholars

The 2019 Wall Scholar competition is now closed.

Nov. 23, 2018 Update: Prof. Santa Ono, Chair of the Peter Wall Institute’s Board of Trustees, has confirmed that the Wall Scholars 2019 program will continue with the current criteria, review process and funding, and there is no expectation for Wall Scholars to align with existing Research Excellence Clusters.

The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS) Wall Scholar Research Award provides support for full-time, tenured or tenure-track UBC faculty members to spend one year in residence at the Peter Wall Institute, in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment. Wall Scholars are chosen among leading UBC researchers from all academic disciplines, with the objective of creating a dynamic and diverse intellectual community at the Institute. We seek to foster sustained and transformational intellectual engagement among UBC researchers and visitors at the PWIAS. The program benefits the participants in various ways, including:

  • Enhancing opportunities for world-class scholars to have regular and meaningful exchange of ideas across traditional academic disciplines, fostering new research directions and serving as a catalyst for innovative research collaborations.
  • Creating a supportive and stimulating environment for intellectual risk taking and experimentation, encouraging ongoing serendipitous interactions that can extend the frontiers of research.
  • Providing UBC Scholars with the sustained opportunity to exchange ideas with influential national and international visiting scholars at the PWIAS.
  • Increasing integration of multimodal and expressive arts as an important component of research across all disciplines.
  • Providing support in the mobilization and showcasing of research to diverse audiences.
  • Providing seed funding for innovative projects that have the potential to make a significant contribution to the global research community and to society at large.

The Institute will appoint up to ten UBC scholars for the 2019-2020 academic year, with representation from all of the Professorial ranks. Successful applicants will be individuals with exceptional research records (as appropriate for their career stage), and a strong interest in and/or demonstrated capacity for interdisciplinary exchange across a range of academic fields.

Wall Scholars are provided with office space and $30,000 that can be used for a wide range of research-related expenses.
With departmental approval, additional funding is available for partial to full administrative and course release, to enable scholars to focus on research activities while in residence at the Peter Wall Institute.

Successful applicants will be required to submit a completed UBC Research Project Information Form (RPIF), with appropriate signatures, prior to receiving the award funds.

Limited relocation funds are available to reimburse eligible UBC Faculty from UBC's Okanagan Campus who relocate to the Vancouver area for the purpose of the Wall Scholar residency. The terms of relocation assistance will be negotiated between the Peter Wall Institute and the Wall Scholar in advance to the appointment and outlined in the award letter.

The Wall Scholars Award is available to full-time tenured or tenure-track UBC faculty members. Emeriti may also apply. Appointees must be able to meet the Terms and Expectations for the Wall Scholars program.

Eligibility and Restrictions for Returning Scholars

Recipients of past PWIAS Wall Scholar and Distinguished Scholar in Residence awards are eligible to apply for an additional residential appointment after five years of completing their term. In exceptional circumstances, Wall Scholar alumni may seek re-appointment for a second term prior to the five-year-waiting period. The onus will be on all applicants to justify why a second year in residence is critical to support a significant and productive avenue of research, and how they have made exceptional contributions to the intellectual life of the PWIAS during their tenure as Wall Scholars.


The expectation is full commitment and involvement in the Institute community of scholars. We ask Scholars to limit their travel to a minimum during the year in residence, as extended absences from campus will detract from one's contributions to the Wall Scholars cohort.

Wall Scholars will be in residence from August 1 to July 31. “In residence” means spending a minimum of 3 full days per week at the Institute during the academic year. Wall Scholars have weekly lunch meetings on Wednesdays, and Monday afternoon and evening sessions to discuss research ideas and topics of interest. All Wall Scholars will be expected to give a seminar at the Institute, and attend an off-campus overnight research retreat in late August and a second retreat in May. The Wall Scholars will also be strongly encouraged to attend the PWIAS Associates Events and play an active role in the broader intellectual life of the Institute.

Successful candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time, tenured or tenure-track UBC faculty member.
  • Exceptional research record, relative to their peer group at a comparable career stage.
  • Demonstrated interest in research outside usual disciplinary boundaries.
  • Clearly articulated plan for high impact, high risk research activities that have the potential to enrich the intellectual environment at the Institute.
  • Able to fully commit to the program terms and expectations, and engage deeply with the PWIAS diverse community of PWIAS Wall Scholars and Faculty Associates.


Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence, and the Institute is committed to promoting these values in its programs. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

The application procedure for the Wall Scholars Program has two stages: a written application and an interview stage for short-listed applicants. Interviews will be conducted at the Peter Wall Institute the week of February 4, and final selections will be announced shortly thereafter. Applicants who do not make the shortlist for the interview stage will be advised via email.

The Adjudication Committee does not provide feedback on its decisions.

STAGE 1: Submit Application

The 2019 Wall Scholar competition is now closed. Stay tuned for information on the 2020 Wall Scholar competition.  

Please submit with your application a short CV summary (5 page maximum) describing your academic expertise and contributions to scholarship. The onus is on applicants to convince an inter-disciplinary evaluation committee of the significance of their work and potential synergies / interactions with a variety of research disciplines. Applicants will also be expected to demonstrate their commitment to program activities and ability to fully engage with the PWIAS diverse community of scholars during the residency year.

STAGE 2: Applicant Interviews

Applicant interviews will occur the week of February 4. Applicants should plan on being available for an in-person (strongly preferred) or video conference interview that week. Interviews will be conducted by a committee comprising the PWIAS Director, Previous Wall Scholars, Distinguished Professors and the Wall Scholars Program Manager.

For more information, please contact the Program Manager, Emma MacEntee: NationalPrograms (at) pwias.ubc.ca.