As with many business sectors, university IT units have become entrenched central components of the higher ed ecosystem, delivering one-size-fits-all enterprise solutions that follow strategic technology trends in order to achieve service excellence. This approach works well for many units, but is inflexible by design and fails to recognize the unique challenges, complex funding models and dynamic needs of the research community and has led to difficult or even outright adversarial relationships. Having served a collective 20 years on the bridge between what is often the “oil and water” of IT and research, we will deliver insights into the researcher’s perspective, the challenges, as well as offer approaches to starting productive relationships. We will explain the benefits of hiring prospective candidates that exhibit a genuine passion for the field they will be working in. We will also explore how a person with well-placed passions, an open mind, and a willingness to understand the research, can be an ambassador to the research community and help to make IT an invaluable partner to researchers in all disciplines.


Wade Klaver
Systems Administrator | University of British Columbia

Wade Klaver is a Systems Administrator at UBC’s Okanagan campus serving researchers there as well as the greater research community at UBC. Wade began his career in Canada’s oil and gas sector, finally coming to UBC after more than a decade spent with various high tech start-ups in the Okanagan Valley where he worked as a programmer, Linux and UNIX system administrator, network engineer and manager. A science enthusiast from a young age, Wade’s varied interests and technology experience are well-suited to engaging with the research community, understanding their needs and creating solutions.

Matt Smith
Manager - Research Systems | University of British Columbia

Matt Smith is the Manager, Research Systems for Advanced Research Computing. Matt began his career providing technical services to the film and news industries in eastern Canada before joining MedIT at UBC in 2009. Matt eventually joined Psychology IT at UBC and led their mission to provide research-focused IT services. During this time, Matt developed a passion for helping scientists achieve their research goals through designing and supporting data collection tools, behaviour monitoring labs and research systems. Matt now works with UBC ARC’s world-class systems team.

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