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Executive Team

*Designated Public Office Holders for the purposes of the Lobbying Act

Dr. B. Mario Pinto
NSERC President

Dr. B. Mario Pinto was appointed President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in November 2014.

Dr. Pinto brings a strong dedication to building communities that link the business ecosystem to research innovation. He brings his personal ethos and creative tools to NSERC along with a vision for a more fluid, multidisciplinary approach where Canada plays a greater role in the competitive global research environment.

Before joining NSERC, Dr. Pinto held a number of senior research and administrative positions at Simon Fraser University spanning over 30 years, including Professor of Chemistry, Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1999 to 2004, and Vice-President of Research for two terms lasting 10 years.

While at Simon Fraser University, he brought knowledge and business acceleration together, bridging university innovators with British Columbia’s start-up industry. Dr. Pinto also spearheaded cross-disciplinary and multinational linkages by bridging faculties and facilitating Canada-India collaborations.

As a Chemical Biologist, Dr. Pinto has made a scholarly impact through publishing on a variety of interests with implications for the diagnosis or treatment of bacterial and viral diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Among his achievements, he has received the Montréal Medal (2014) of the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Alfred Bader Award (2013), and R.U. Lemieux Award (2012) of the Canadian Society of Chemistry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Pinto has a proven track record as an advocate of science and innovation serving on many external boards, councils, and committees, including acting as Canada’s representative to the International Carbohydrate Organization and President (2006-2008). He also served as the University Delegate to NSERC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the President of the Canadian Society of Chemistry (2010-11), and the Vice-Chair of the Chemical Institute of Canada (2014).

Throughout his career, Dr. Pinto has helped develop successful initiatives that further science and research such as Mimos Therapeutics Inc., the Centre for Drug Research and Development, the Pinto Research Group, the Simon Fraser University Community Trust Endowment Research Fund, Venture Connection, Venture Labs, the Zones of Incubation and Innovation, and Zone StartUps India.

Dr. Pinto received his Bachelor of Science (1975) and PhD in Chemistry (1980) from Queen’s University. He did his postdoctoral work at Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France as well as the National Research Council Canada.

Dr. Pierre Charest
Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate

Pierre Charest joined NSERC in August 2011 and currently serves as Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate. He previously held the position of Associate Vice-President of Corporate Planning and Policy at NSERC.

Prior to his time at NSERC, Pierre worked at Health Canada, where he was Director General of the Science Policy Directorate. Pierre also held the positions of Associate Vice-President of the Science Branch of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Director General of Health Canada’s Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate and Office of Biotechnology and Science.

Pierre started his career in the public service in 1989 as a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, where he occupied a number of positions with increasing responsibility. He also had appointments as adjunct professor at the University of Victoria and as honorary research associate at the University of New Brunswick.

Before joining NSERC, Pierre served as chair and member of several peer review committees for NSERC, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Genome Canada. He has had a productive research career as author or co-author of 77 scientific publications and presenter of 80 scientific communications and over 25 invited lectures.

Pierre holds a B.Sc.A. and an M.Sc. in Agronomy from Université Laval, graduate certificates in Health System Leadership and Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University, and a Ph. D. in Molecular Biology from Carleton University.

Kevin Fitzgibbons
Associate Vice-President, Corporate Planning and Policy

Kevin Fitzgibbons joined NSERC in October 2013 as the Associate Vice-President, Corporate Planning and Policy. He works to support NSERC’s role in federal science, technology and innovation policy, to drive strategic and integrated planning, and to oversee corporate planning and policy management throughout the organization.

Kevin has over 20 years of experience in the public sector and was previously the Director of Innovation Science and Technology at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development where he oversaw international science, technology and innovation cooperation projects and investments. He has also worked as the Executive Director of the Office of the National Science Advisor, and as a strategic planning and policy advisor with the National Research Council Canada (NRC).

For his significant efforts and contributions in the public service Kevin was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for Public Service in 2002. In addition, while he was with the National Research Council, he was awarded the NRC Corporate Services Award for Excellence in 2002, 1999, and 1997, as well as the NRC Excellence Award for Administration in 2000.

Kevin has a BA in Modern Languages (French, Spanish) from Trent University and a Masters of Political Science from Université de Montréal.

Dr. Bettina Hamelin
Vice-President, Research Partnerships Directorate

As Vice-President of NSERC’s Research Partnerships Directorate, Dr. Bettina Hamelin is responsible for a range of programs designed to stimulate increased public/private collaboration and technology transfer and to maximize the benefits that university and college research provides to Canada. Bettina has more than 15 years of experience in the biotech and international pharmaceutical industry as well as 10 years of academic experience as a tenured professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at Université Laval.

Prior to joining NSERC Bettina held a variety of positions at Pfizer Canada, most recently as Canadian Medical Lead, Vaccines, and Head, Strategic Research Partnerships, Western Canada. Passionate about R&D, she excels at bringing together unlikely partners to attract and leverage funds from diverse sources. She is known for pioneering novel public-private partnership models, and breaking down barriers between federal, provincial and private sector stakeholders.

Early roots in biology and chemistry (Vordiplom, Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany) have lead Bettina to complete a B.Sc. in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy, both from the University of Kentucky, U.S. and an EMBA in Healthcare from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

André Isabelle
Associate Vice-President, Networks of Centres of Excellence

As Associate Vice-President of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), André Isabelle leads the NCE’s efforts to mobilize Canada’s best research, development and entrepreneurial talent to address specific issues. Networks and centres funded through NCE programs focus a critical mass of research resources on social and economic challenges, commercialize and apply research breakthroughs, increase private-sector R&D, and train the next generation of talented people. André brings to his role extensive national and international experience with partnerships, industry, academia and the federal granting agencies. Trained as a biologist, he worked with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for more than 25 years, most recently as Director of the Energy, Environment and Resources Division within NSERC’s Research Partnerships Programs Directorate. As a senior manager, he has helped lead collaborative initiatives involving multiple agencies and government departments, often integrating the social sciences, health, and natural sciences and engineering. André was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for his work to foster academic-industry partnerships in the resource sector.

Alfred LeBlanc
Vice-President, Communications, Corporate and International Affairs Directorate

Alfred LeBlanc took on the role of Vice-President of the Communications, Corporate and International Affairs Directorate in January 2016.

Before joining NSERC, Alfred served as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations at the Privy Council Office (PCO). Prior to his position at PCO, he played a crucial role within the Department of Finance as the Director of the Federal Provincial Relations Division. He also spent two years as the Director General of Strategic Policy at Industry Canada (now known as Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada).

Alfred also served as the Deputy Editorial Page Editor of The Financial Post and then editor of the Institute for Research on Public Policy’s Policy Options.

He grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and completed his undergraduate degree in political science at St. Francis Xavier University. He holds a Master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University as well as a graduate degree in politics and economics from Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.

He is married to Jean Scott. Together, they have two daughters – Sophie and Leah.

Alfred Tsang
Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President, Common Administrative Services Directorate

In February 2014, Alfred Tsang joined NSERC and SSHRC as Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President in the Common Administrative Services Directorate shared by these two organizations. He provides leadership in resource and business management that is tailored to the needs of each agency. As a member of their respective executive committees, he advises the Presidents and Senior Management of the agencies on strategic planning.

Alfred is an experienced executive with more than 30 years of experience in the public service. He has served as Chief Financial Officer at Health Canada as well as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. He has also worked in a number of other departments, including Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, Industry Canada, Treasury Board Canada Secretariat and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

In addition to being a Certified Management Accountant, he has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a MA in Public Administration from Carleton University.

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