It was announced that I was selected as the next Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University, effective in September 2013. It will be exciting to return to my alma mater, a university that has earned itself a reputation for excellence worldwide.
At the same time, I will be leaving a remarkable organization. When I assumed the presidency in 2006, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) was well known for its strong leadership and its exemplary service to research communities across Canada. Since that first day on the job, I’ve worked hard—with both passion and pride—to build on NSERC’s strong foundation and to ensure that we meet the challenges of an ever-changing environment, one where science and innovation must adapt to an increasingly global and fast-paced world.
I am pleased that, over the past seven years, NSERC has successfully renewed its focus on excellence, increased its capacity to attract and retain the best students and professors, and promoted collaboration between business entrepreneurs and academics. Removing barriers among disciplines, sectors and nations—while forging strong partnerships with other national and international granting agencies—has also been a key focus at NSERC.
As President, I have had the privilege, week after week, of seeing the outstanding work that is accomplished across all disciplines. I am enormously grateful to all the individuals who constitute our research community. Their accomplishments have been a constant source of inspiration and pride.
I have also had the privilege of working with tremendous colleagues, both within NSERC and across the broader science and innovation community. I have greatly benefited from everyone’s commitment, support, and sound advice. While I am leaving NSERC and Ottawa, I will forever think of my colleagues here as the best team one could ever hope to join. Together, we are achieving our goal of making Canada a country of discovers and innovators.
My last day with NSERC was on Monday, March 4, 2013. James Edwards, Vice-President and Chair of Council will assume the role of President, on an interim basis, as of Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Janet Walden, NSERC’s Vice-President of Research Partnerships Programs will be assisting him in this regard.