UNBC has prioritized three interdisciplinary research themes that either relate to existing areas of research strength or to areas where the university foresees significant future potential and is seeking to build research capacity: natural resources and the environment; rural, remote, and northern health; and the sustainability of communities. Institutes that advance these themes at UNBC include:
- The Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute promotes integrative research addressing natural resource systems and human uses of the environment. Most researchers within the institute are professors in the Ecosystem Science and Management, Environmental Science and Engineering, or Geography Programs. Many current research efforts within the institute focus on arctic issues.
- The Community Development Institute (CDI) supports the research, information, and development needs of rural and small town communities in northern BC. The institute serves as a resource for communities interested in making informed decisions in the face of environmental, social, and economic changes. Although the majority of CDI research focuses on regional issues, the institute is ideally positioned to coordinate broader research to understand and energize community development in the Arctic.
In addition to these institutes, the Northern Studies Program, a multi-disciplinary program of study within the College of Arts, Social, and Health Sciences, is also integral to the overall mandate of UNBC. The program draws upon the northern expertise of faculty with a wide array of backgrounds and exposes students to myriad issues facing northern BC, as well as northern regions around the world.