On May 6, 1954, British athlete and academic Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes— 3:59.04. He changed our conception of what was possible, such that breaking the four-minute barrier has become the new normal.


The applied sciences—architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, nursing, and planning—change society’s conception of what is possible as a matter of course. Applied scientists make dreams real, turn ideas into practice. We embody the interface between present and future.


It’s time for UBC Applied Science to break its own four-minute barrier. In the 21st century, the playing field for a research-intensive university is global. Our self-perception and our aspirations must be as well. We have for our starting blocks a solid 100-year history; now, we move with the speed and innovation of a start-up.


We are ideally positioned to address some of the greatest challenges of our time. But they are challenges that defy individual intelligence and demand instead the holistic genius of the team. We must cross cultural and disciplinary boundaries, and come to trust in each other’s knowledge and imagination as much as in our own. We must learn to see the world through one another’s eyes, and come to see bigger picture and longer term. We must push the limits of what is possible—and define our own new normal.


Leaders, dreamers, doers, professionals, pioneers, applied scientists … this is our time.


Faculty of Applied Science
The University of British Columbia