The UBC Physics & Astronomy Launchpad initiative has been developed by faculty members, research scientists, graduate students, postdocs and staff members from UBC Physics & Astronomy, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, and TRIUMF to help foster diversity of PHAS graduate students across multiple axes, and build capacity to address equity and inclusion issues in the long term.

The in-person workshop will be held at UBC campus, hosting 12 students from equity-deserving groups in physics and astronomy, including students who are women or non-binary, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), 2SLGBTQ+, living with disabilities, and/or are in the first generation in their family to attend university. The participants will learn about physics research programs and graduate student life at UBC, engage in conversations with faculty members, research scientists and graduate students, experience an afternoon in a laboratory, and learn strategies for improving their graduate school applications. Participants who are unable to attend in-person will be able to access the program remotely.

This project is funded primarily by the UBC Equity Enhancement Funds under the proposal “Building Equity in Physics Graduate Education: a pilot workshop for leveling the field through recruitment”. Other funds are provided by UBC Physics & Astronomy, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, and the UBC Student Diverse Initiative.

Interested students should contact the program at launchpad@phas.ubc.ca for more information.

Promotional materials for the program can be found here.


  • The gender gap in science: How long until women are equally represented? Holman L, Stuart-Fox D, Hauser CE PLoS Biol 16 (2018)
  • Persistence and representation of women in STEM programs, Katherine Wall, Gov. of Canada (2019)
  • AIP Report, Woman in Physics and Astronomy (2019)
  • 2017-2019 An analysis of PHAS grad students admission process by binary gender and nationality, unpublished
  • Gendered patterns in the construction of physics identity from motivational factors, Z. Yasemin Kalender et al. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15, 020119 (2019)
  • Evidence of a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups, A. Wooley et al Science 330, 686 (2010); Strength in diversity; R.B. Freeman, & W. Huang, Nature 513, 305 (2014); Levine et all PNAS (2014)
  • Why diversity matter, V. Hunt et. al, McKinsey & Company (2015)
  • Mitigating Bias in Graduate Student Admissions: A Workshop, Naoko Hawkins, (2019)