Past Presidents

Dr. B. Mario Pinto – 2014-2018

Dr. B. Mario Pinto

Dr. B. Mario Pinto was President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) from 2014 - 2018. Over his tenure at NSERC, he championed the agency’s strengths as an investor in discovery-based research and a broker of successful R&D partnerships, leading a seamless synergy within Canada’s discovery-innovation continuum.

Dr. Pinto advocated global connectivity, gender equity and inclusion, diversity at all levels of academia, supporting early career researchers, and promoting science and science culture to children, adults and parliamentarians as a means of ensuring Canada’s sustained growth as a country of discoverers and innovators. These passions became the five pillars of the agency’s guiding vision, the NSERC 2020 Strategic Plan. In leading efforts to develop the new plan, Dr. Pinto launched an extensive consultation process to engage Canada’s diverse research ecosystem and to manage change both within NSERC and the external community. In doing so, he took steps to ensure that NSERC worked effectively as a convenor of stakeholder interests in the natural sciences and engineering.

Dr. Pinto received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Queen’s University. He served as Professor, Chair of Chemistry and Vice-President Research at Simon Fraser University (SFU), President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and Vice-Chair of the Chemical Institute of Canada. He chaired the Global Research Council in 2017-2018 and was elected Vice-Chair in May 2018. He also served as co-Chair of the Canada-India Joint Science and Technology Committee from 2016-2018. Dr. Pinto has received numerous awards recognizing the quality and impact of his research, including Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada and the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Sri Lanka Foundation. He has also established a track record for developing exciting new models of innovation. Successes include: The Centre for Drug Research and Development, VentureLabs®; Venture Connection®; Zone Start-Ups India, a joint venture between Ryerson University, SFU and the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute; and a partnership between SFU and the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. in fuel cell technology.

Dr. Suzanne Fortier – 2006-2013

Dr. Suzanne Fortier

Dr. Suzanne Fortier was President of NSERC from 2006 to 2013, leaving the post to become McGill University’s 17th Principal and Vice-Chancellor. During her tenure as President, NSERC 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. Dr. Fortier was also instrumental in removing barriers among disciplines, sectors and nations, while forging strong partnerships with other national and international granting agencies.

A native of St-Timothée, Quebec, Dr. Fortier attended McGill University, where she received a B.Sc. (1972) and a Ph.D. in crystallography (1976). She joined Queen’s University in 1982, after holding research positions at the Medical Foundation of Buffalo and the National Research Council of Canada, and reached the rank of Full Professor in both the Department of Chemistry and the School of Computing. She also served as Associate Dean and Acting Dean in the School of Graduate Studies and Research, as well as Acting Vice-Principal (Research), before serving as Vice-Principal (Research) from 1995 to 2000 and Vice-Principal (Academic) from 2000 to 2005.

She has received the Clara Benson Award for distinguished contributions to chemistry by a woman (1997), the Entrepreneurship Award from Communications and Information Technology Ontario (1997), the Queen’s University Distinguished Service Award (2005), an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia (June 2006) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an officer of France’s National Order of Merit.

Dr. Fortier served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc., the Board of Governors of the Royal Military College of Canada and the Council of Science and Technology Advisors (CSTA). She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Strategic Committee of Investissements d’Excellence (Université de Bordeaux), and the Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress, among other organizations.

Dr. Tom Brzustowski – 1995-2005

Dr. Tom Brzustowski

Tom Brzustowski was President of NSERC from 1995 to 2005. An engineer, he graduated with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto in 1958, and a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton in 1963. He was a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo from 1962 to 1987, teaching and carrying out research in thermodynamics and combustion. He served as Chair of Mechanical Engineering from 1967 to 1970 and as Vice-President, Academic of the University from 1975 to 1987. After that he served as deputy minister in the Government of Ontario from 1987 to 1995, first in the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and later in the Premier's Council. He was appointed President of NSERC in October 1995, and reappointed in 2000.

Tom Brzustowski holds honorary doctorates from several institutions, namely, Alberta, Concordia, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Guelph, McMaster, Ottawa, Royal Military College of Canada, Ryerson, and Waterloo, and received the Engineering Alumni Medal from the University of Toronto. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Peter Morand – 1990-1995

Dr. Peter Morand

Peter Morand, B.Sc., Ph.D., was President of NSERC from 1990 to 1995. He is currently President of Peter Morand & Associates Inc., a company that specializes in advanced technology management. He is also the founding President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Canadian Science and Technology Growth Fund Inc. (CSTGF). In 1998, he was appointed Board Chair of Adherex Technologies Inc.(AHX-TSX, ADH-AMEX), an oncology company located in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. In addition, Dr. Morand is a member of the Board of D-Box Technology, the Institute on Governance, and the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI), and a past member of the Board of the Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network, the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, The Ottawa Hospital, and the Ottawa Health Research Institute.

Prior to his appointment at NSERC, Dr. Morand spent many years at the University of Ottawa where, as Professor of Chemistry, he carried out research in natural product chemistry and occupied the positions of Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (1976-80) and Vice-Rector, University Relations and Development (1987-90).

Dr. Morand has been involved in a number of start-up technology companies and was a founding member of the Board of the Ottawa Carleton Research Institute (OCRI), the Ottawa Life Sciences Council (OLSC) and the Ottawa Biotechnology Incubation Centre (OBIC). Since the early 1980s, he has strongly supported the development of the life sciences sector in the Ottawa region. His efforts have been recognized by the Ottawa Carleton Research Institute (Chairman's Award, 1991), the Ottawa Life Sciences Council (Career Achievement Award, 1995), and the City of Ottawa which has given his name to the street leading to the Ottawa Life Sciences Technology Park. He is the recipient of honorary degrees and was one of the four Canadians appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite by the President of France in 1997.

Dr. Arthur W. May – 1986-1990

Dr. Arthur W. May

Dr. Arthur W. May President of NSERC from 1986 to 1990, passed away on January 30, 2014 at the age of 76. He was a member of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and of the Board of World Wildlife Fund Canada, and he chaired the One Ocean Industry Board. During his career, Dr. May held many national and international appointments, including first Chairman of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), first Canadian Commissioner of the Canada/US Pacific Salmon Commission, Canadian representative on the NATO Science Committee, Chairman of the Association of Atlantic Universities, and member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). In addition, he chaired the selection committee for the Canadian Model Forests Program and has served on the Prime Minister's National Advisory Board on Science and Technology. Dr. May was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in December 1995.

Dr. May was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, and was educated at Memorial University, where he received B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. degrees, and McGill University, where he received a PhD in Marine Sciences. He also holds honorary degrees from the University of Ottawa, Brock University, and Memorial University.

In St. John’s, Dr. May was a fisheries scientist for 15 years, then a fisheries manager. He also worked as an international negotiator and has been the CEO of several public institutions. In the late ’70s, he moved to Ottawa where he accepted the position of Deputy Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada from 1982 to 1985. He spent the next four years as President of NSERC, during which time he implemented the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Program, involving universities, industry, and governments. He was President of Memorial University of Newfoundland from 1990 to 1999.

Gordon M. MacNabb – 1978-1986

Gordon MacNabb

Gordon MacNabb became the founding President of NSERC when the Council was established in 1978. He held that position until he retired from the federal public service in 1986. Before joining NSERC he was Assistant Deputy Minister (Energy), Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, and then Deputy Minister of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources Canada over the period from 1967 to 1978. On leaving the public service, he formed his own engineering consulting firm and, in that capacity, established PRECARN Associates Inc., a private sector consortium doing long-term research in intelligent systems. He was President of PRECARN from 1987 to 1992 and has also been active in establishing Ontario Centres of Excellence as well as the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS), part of the federal government's Networks of Centres of Excellence. He chaired the Research Management Committee of IRIS for eight years.

Dr. MacNabb told NSERC that he had “failed” retirement yet again as he took on the role of Chair of the Alberta Science and Research Authority's Scientific Review Panel in 2005. He was a member of the iCORE External Review Committee in Alberta and of the committee reviewing Regional Innovation Chairs for British Columbia.

Mr. MacNabb is a founding Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He holds honorary degrees from eleven Canadian universities and his work has been recognized through numerous awards and honorary memberships in national and international organizations. In 1995, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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