The Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (Blusson QMI) has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, Paola Baca, effective June 7, 2023.

“Paola has more than 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, including undergraduate admissions, strategic enrolment management, research and data analysis, student academic services, change management, and international student recruitment,” said Blusson QMI Scientific Director Andrea Damascelli.

“She is highly regarded for her collegiality, team leadership, and strategic management. I am thrilled that she has joined the Blusson QMI team.”

Image: Paola Baca, Managing Director, Blusson QMI. Credit: Martin Dee.

Baca is responsible for the overall administrative and operational strategy of Blusson QMI. Prior to joining the Institute, Baca was the Associate Director of UBC’s Undergraduate Admissions Office (Enrolment Services). She has also held leadership roles at the Sauder School of Business and the UBC International Student Initiative.

“I’m delighted to join Blusson QMI to work with Andrea Damascelli, the Executive Committee and the Institute’s diverse team of professional staff who ensure we have the talent, infrastructure, and resources required to undertake world-leading research in quantum materials and devices,” said Baca.

“Blusson QMI has established itself as a recognized leader in quantum materials R&D internationally. The investment of a $66.5 million grant received in 2015 through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) has positioned us for sustained and expanding impact.

“Our partnerships with academia, industry, and government have led to impactful outcomes for BC and Canada. As we advance, we will continue expanding our outreach programs to activate collaborative projects with industry and government partners who could leverage our expertise for commercial applications.

“Together, we will continue to co-create an engaging, inclusive, people-centered scientific community that thrives in the face of ongoing change.”

Baca has taken up the Managing Director role at Blusson QMI from Kim Kiloh, whose strategic acumen and outstanding leadership have tremendously benefitted the Institute in a period of transformation.

Kiloh has joined AbCellera, a Vancouver-based biotechnology company and successful UBC spin-out, as the Head of Learning and Development. In her new role, she will provide leadership and strategic direction for AbCellera’s overall learning and development program, helping to build and sustain the global team’s technical, interpersonal, and leadership capacities.

“Blusson QMI is very grateful to Kim Kiloh for her outstanding contributions to the Institute and her leadership. Personally, and on behalf of the Executive Committee, I wish Kim all the very best for this exciting new adventure,” said Damascelli.

Reflecting back on her time as Managing Director at Blusson QMI, Kiloh noted the remarkable success of the Institute in attracting highly trained scientific staff to Canada.

“This is a special and distinct legacy of the CFREF investment, which helped Blusson QMI to develop and operate world-leading infrastructure, and to train hundreds of graduate students and postdocs. And this next generation of scientific leaders is already making their mark on the quantum ecosystem – locally, nationally, and internationally.”

“It’s been a pleasure working with Andrea Damascelli, the Executive Committee, and the entire Blusson QMI community to build and evolve this collaborative, multi-disciplinary team that is recognized internationally for its innovative and world-leading research output,” said Kiloh. “I look back with gratitude for all that we’ve achieved together and forward with confidence as Paola begins her role.”

Baca holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education and a BA (Hons.) in Political Science with International Relations from UBC, and is an alumnus of the BC Legislative Internship Program.  She is also the Leadership Campaign Co-Chair on UBC’s United Way Executive Team and is an internal UBC coach. She was awarded UBC’s highest staff award, the President’s Service Excellence Award, in 2014.