Top Economist Named New Canada Excellence Research Chair at The University of British Columbia

Dr. Erik Snowberg’s program will use big data to help leaders make informed decisions about the future of Canada

March 15, 2016—Vancouver, British Columbia—Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat

The Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, today announced Dr. Erik Snowberg as the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics at The University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Snowberg comes to Vancouver from the California Institute of Technology. He will become Canada’s first CERC in the social sciences and the country’s 26th CERC overall.

Dr. Snowberg aims to help transform UBC into the world leader in data-driven political economy, a field that focuses on the relationship between politics and the economy. He and his research team are developing new ways to analyze big data — massive datasets of information produced and stored by companies, governments and private citizens. Dr. Snowberg’s research will lead to new analytical tools for governments to use when making policy decisions.

Launched in 2008, the CERC program supports Canadian universities in their efforts to build on Canada's growing reputation as a global leader in research and innovation. It awards world-renowned researchers and their teams up to $10 million over seven years to establish ambitious research programs on the country’s campuses.

As part of his award, Dr. Snowberg will also launch a new Centre for Innovative Data in Economics at UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics.  


“The Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program is about bringing the world’s best researchers to Canada. Dr. Snowberg’s work has the potential to improve the well-being of all Canadians by connecting businesses, environmental groups and government to make the nation a better place for its people.”

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“We are privileged to welcome an economist of Erik Snowberg’s stature to Canada. Of the 26 CERCs across Canada working in engineering, biology, chemistry and many other fields, he is the first in the social sciences. With his arrival, Canada is gaining an outstanding researcher.”

Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Chair, CERC Steering Committee

“We are excited to welcome Erik Snowberg to Vancouver and to UBC’s team of leading economists. This CERC appointment represents an important investment in the social sciences, one that will enable our researchers to provide cutting-edge insights into how politics and the economy inform our daily lives.”

Martha Piper, Interim President, The University of British Columbia

Additional Links

More about the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program

Biography of Erik Snowberg

Backgrounder on the Canada Excellence Research Chairs


Véronique Perron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

Michael Adams
Communications Advisor
Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program
Tel.: 613-944-1758
Cell: 613-219-7523

Glenn Drexhage
Media Relations Specialist
The University of British Columbia
Tel: 604-822-2234
Cell: 604-868-0896