Diane Gray – Founding President and CEO, CentrePort Canada Inc.; Chair of the Mitacs Board of Directors

Ms. Diane Gray is the founding President and CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc. CentrePort is Canada’s first tri-modal inland port and Foreign Trade Zone and encompasses 20,000 acres in the North West quadrant of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Ms. Gray previously worked for the Province of Manitoba from 1995 to 2009 and simultaneously served as Deputy Minister of Finance, Deputy Minister of Federal-Provincial and International Relations, and Deputy Minister of Trade. In December 2010, she was awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Excellence in Public Administration for Manitoba and in May 2013, awarded the Women of Distinction Award for Management and Leadership.

Ms. Gray currently serves as Chair of Manitoba Film and Music; Chair of MITACS; and co-Chair of World Trade Centre Winnipeg. In addition, Ms. Gray serves on the boards of the Manitoba Technology Accelerator; Public Policy Forum of Canada; the Canada West Foundation; and the Associates of the Asper School of Business.

Ms. Gray is a graduate of the University of Manitoba's and University of Winnipeg's Joint Masters of Public Administration Program and has an undergraduate degree in political studies from the University of Manitoba.


Board Members


Alejandro Adem – Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director, Mitacs Inc.

Alejandro Adem has been Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director of Mitacs since February 1, 2015. He is concurrently Professor of Mathematics and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia.

Professor Adem received his undergraduate degree from the National University of México (1982), and his PhD from Princeton University (1986). He held a Szegö Assistant Professorship at Stanford University (1986–89) before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1989-2004). He was appointed Canada Research Chair in Algebraic Topology at the University of British Columbia in 2004 and served as Scientific Director of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences from 2008 to 2015.

Professor Adem is a highly regarded researcher in mathematics. He has authored over 70 articles as well as two books, has delivered over 360 invited research lectures around the world and has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the ETH-Zurich, the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, the University of Paris VII and XIII, and Princeton University. His distinctions include: a Sloan Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (1985), a USA National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award (1992), Romnes Faculty Fellowship (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, 1995), a Vilas Associate Award (University of Wisconsin, 2003), Canada Research Chair (2004), Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (2012), Ten Most Influential Hispanic Canadians (2015), the Canadian Mathematical Society’s Jeffery-Williams Prize (2015) and Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (2017). In addition Professor Adem serves on a variety of scientific, editorial and governance boards for the worldwide mathematical sciences community.


Jacques Beauvais – Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Ottawa

Jacques Beauvais is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Université Laval in 1990 then pursued post-doctoral studies in electrical engineering at the University of Glasgow, UK. His training in optics coupled with his experience in engineering led to his appointment as Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS) in 1993. His experience in nanotechnology led him to establish the first nanolithography laboratory in a Canadian university while directing the Microelectronics Research Group at Sherbrooke until 2003. From 2003 to 2006, he was director of the Centre for Nanofabrication and nanocharacterization then became the Founding Director of the Centre for Excellence in Information Engineering of UdeS, which today has been renamed the Interdisciplinary Institute for Technology Innovation (3IT).

In 1997, his research group discovered innovative processes for the nanofabrication of electronic devices in integrated circuits. Six patents related to this technology were the basis of a startup company, Quantiscript inc. Jacques Beauvais was the president of Quantiscript from 1999 to 2004, then vice-president, technology, from 2004 to 2006. Since 2007, his research activities have focused mainly on developing carbon nanotube based sensors which are at the core of a new patent (2010) and several industrial collaborations. He also established a close collaboration with a robotics research group and is now developing a tactile skin technology. He also joined an interdisciplinary research group in 2007 in order to study the social acceptability of new technologies, resulting in three collaborative books on the subject for which he is a co-author with the other group members.

In 2007, Jacques was named Vice-president, Research, at the Université de Sherbrooke, where he was responsible for the development, financial support, and implementation of the MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre (C2MI), in partnership with IBM Canada and Teledyne Dalsa. He now sits on C2MI’s Board of Directors. He was also a member of the council of the National Research Council of Canada and is currently a member of the Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CiFAR).


Sarah Bevan, Managing Director, President and CEO of UBS Bank (Canada), a wholly owned subsidiary of UBS AG

With over 30 years of experience in the field of international wealth management, Ms. Bevan demonstrates a depth of expertise as a versatile and dynamic business leader. Ms. Bevan was educated in England and holds a B.A. (Honours) in Modern Languages (French/Spanish) and History from CCAT in Cambridge. With UBS AG since 2007, Ms. Bevan brings to Canada decisive leadership and extensive management skills, with a proven ability to significantly increase revenues in an intensively competitive environment. Prior to joining UBS AG, Ms. Bevan spent 15 years in New York, working for Barclays Bank plc which was then acquired by RBC. At RBC she headed the international wealth management division in New York. Prior to New York, she worked for 15 years in London, England where she started her financial markets career with Nesbitt Thomson Bongard Limited followed by Credit Suisse and Citibank NA, covering and traveling to Latin America and various corners of the world. She sits on the Board of UBS Bank (Canada), as well as the Board of the Banff International Research Station (BIRS).


Karen Chad – Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Karen Chad is the Vice-President Research at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and is also a faculty member in the U of S College of Kinesiology.

With a Ph.D. from the University of Queensland in Australia, Dr. Chad is a prolific researcher holding several research grants and contracts and has supervised numerous graduate students. She has received numerous awards for her research leadership, including the YWCA Woman of Influence Award, the International Award for Innovation in Research, the National Leadership Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the “Woman of Influence” Business Award, and Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award.  

Dr. Chad sits on a number of national and international boards and has chaired or overseen more than 200 key boards, committees, research programs, and teams in a wide range of areas including indigenous matters, health, natural resources, energy, global food and water security, digital innovation, and environment. She is highly regarded for her strong competencies in partnership development, governance, strategic planning, and innovative organizational structures. With a commitment to research with impact, bringing expertise on issues of importance to communities and to society, Dr. Chad stands solidly on the foundation of the 4-P model (public, private, post-secondary partnerships).

Dr. Chad is also very familiar with Canada's major science initiatives. This is evidenced in the leadership she has and continues to provide to the development and oversight for two of Canada's largest national science initiatives - The Canadian Light Source and The International Vaccine Centre - to enhance Canada's leadership in globally important research and development through partnerships and international standards of excellence.

Amiee Chan, President and CEO, Norsat International Inc.

Dr. Amiee Chan has over 15 years of experience in executive management and research & development in the telecommunications industry. Offering a rare blend of technical and corporate strength, Dr. Chan’s strategic vision has driven Norsat’s innovative product development program and resulted in consistent revenue growth since her appointment as CEO in 2006. In 2012 Dr. Chan won a Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Award, ranked third in PROFIT/Chatelaine’s list of Top Female Entrepreneurs, and led Norsat to win a BC Export Award for Advancing Technology & Innovation. Dr. Chan holds an Executive MBA from Simon Fraser University where she majored in Strategy and New Ventures and a Ph. D. in Satellite Communications from the University of British Columbia. An accomplished engineer, she has been published over a dozen times, holds three US patents, and has been involved in high level research teams such as the NASA ACTS Terminal Program.  Dr. Chan is a member of the UBC Engineering Advisory Council and serves on the Dean’s External Advisory Board for the Beedie School of Business at SFU.

Patrick Deane, President of McMaster University

Patrick Deane is the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University, a position he has held since 2010. As President, Dr. Deane is focused on promoting and supporting research, strengthening the connections between the University and the local and global communities that we serve and ensuring a distinctive, personalized and engaging experience for McMaster’s students.

Dr. Deane was born and raised in South Africa, where he read English and Law at the University of Witwatersrand. He immigrated to Canada in 1978 and undertook graduate studies in English Literature, receiving both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario. He taught English Literature at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario and subsequently undertook a variety of progressively more senior academic administrative roles at the University of Winnipeg and Queen’s University prior to his appointment at McMaster.

Dr. Deane is also a Professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies and has published two books and many articles and other publications. His principal research interest is British writing of the period 1914-1945, with a particular focus on the relationship between literature and politics on a national as well as an individual level. He has been honoured with many awards for his academic work, including the first John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature, which he received in 1988. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.




Philippe Gervais – Principal, Navigator

As the Principal for the Montreal office, Philippe brings over 25 years of experience of strategic advice to politicians, corporate executives and not-for-profit sector decision makers.

Philippe has distinguished himself in the fields of government relations, strategic advice and campaign planning and execution at the national and international levels. He provides strategic advice and communications counsel to Navigator clients in sectors such as energy, environment, mergers and acquisitions and international trade.

He has played key roles in political campaigns both here in Canada and abroad, including US Presidential campaigns. During the 2006 election, he served as National Deputy Campaign Manager for the Conservative Party of Canada.

Prior to joining Navigator Philippe ran the Quebec operations of a national government relations firm for 22 years. From 1990 to 1993, he worked for the Minister of National Revenue as Special Assistant responsible for the implementation of the GST. His government service continued with positions as Executive Assistant to the Federal Minister of Public Works and Government Services and then as Political Attaché to the Deputy Premier and President of Treasury Board of Quebec.

Philippe currently is a member of the board of directors of many organizations including H2O Innovation Inc. (TSXV: HEO) where he acts as Chairman of the Board of one of Canada’s fastest growing clean tech companies.


Iain Klugman – CEO, Communitech

Iain Klugman is the President and CEO of Communitech Corporation. He has overall responsibility for all operations of this award-winning organization including regional, provincial, and national mandates (through Communitech’s national arm – the CDMN).

Before joining Communitech in 2004, Iain’s career spanned leadership roles in the private and public sectors, including Director of Global Branding and Advertising for Nortel, Executive Director of Communications with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), CEO of Ontario Tourism (provincial crown corporation), and roles with the Privy Council Office and Industry Canada. Over the past 30 years, Iain has been involved as Board Member or Chair of 27 different organizations including national and regional, social and business organizations. In additional to Mitacs, he currently he serves as a special advisor to the President of the National Research Council, the Digital Government Board of the Province of Ontario, Volta Labs, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, and is a Senior Fellow with the Brookfield Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Iain has been recognized with many awards: for 2017, he was named one of the 50 most influential people in Toronto by Toronto Life; in 2016 he was named by Canadian Business Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful business people in Canada; and in 2015 was awarded Startup Canada’s national award for Entrepreneur Support and Promotion. Iain holds an MBA from Laurier University, an MPA from Dalhousie University, a BA from Laurentian University, and has completed executive education programs at the University of Toronto.

John Milloy – Former Minister of Research and Innovation and former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Government of Ontario

From 2003 to 2014, John Milloy served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the riding of Kitchener Centre. During that period he held a number of Cabinet Portfolios including: Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Research and Innovation; Community and Social Services; Government Services; and Government House Leader. Prior to that, he worked as the Director of Public Affairs for the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a Waterloo based Think Tank. He came to CIGI from Parliament Hill, where he worked for several senior Cabinet Ministers, including five years in the office of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Upon retirement from politics, John returned to the academic world and currently serves as the Co-Director of the Centre for Public Ethics and Assistant Professor of Public Ethics at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and the inaugural Practitioner in Residence in Wilfrid Laurier’s Political Science Department. He is also a lecturer in the Master of Public Service Program at the University of Waterloo. As well as his work with Mitacs, John sits on a number of other boards including the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation, Waterloo North Hydro, and is the Government of Ontario representative on the board of MaRs.

John holds an Honours B.A. from Carleton University, an M.A. from the London School of Economics and a Doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford where he was a Commonwealth Scholar. He is married to physician Sara Pendergast and has two young sons.


Gilbert Nolasco – Consultant, Cohérence RH and Partner at Camiré & Associés

Gilbert Nolasco has over 30 years of experience working in a variety of complex organizational contexts in finance, retail, and distribution. Mr. Nolasco holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Montreal and a senior management framework Diploma from the International Centre for Research and Studies in Management (CIREM). In 2014 he started Cohérence HR, a consulting service focused on coherent people management with quick and constructive problem solving. It aims to bring success to businesses by focusing on committed leaders, inspiring their teams to develop their business potential and talent. Since 2016, he is also a Partner at Camiré & Associés, a consulting group dedicated primarily to management coaching for business leaders. From 2009 to 2013, he participated in the organizational transformation of Desjardins Group and the implementation of its Strategic Plan. He has held the positions of Vice-President, Human Resources, Support Functions Mouvement and Vice-President Talent Management and Employee Services.

Prior to joining Desjardins Group, Mr. Nolasco worked at RONA Inc. from 2000 to 2009, where he contributed to the growth of pan-Canadian acquisition projects and successively held the positions of Director of HR, HR Vice-President Retail Operations, and Vice President in-charge of Enterprise Integration and Optimization of Business Processes. As such, from 2005 to 2009 he was a member of RONA’s Management Committee. Before that, Mr. Nolasco joined Desjardins in 1976. He had risen through the ranks for 20 years, until becoming Regional Director of the Federation des Caisses Populaires Desjardins of Montreal and the Western Quebec. For over two decades, Mr. Nolasco has been an invited speaker on a broad range of topics including labor relationships, talent management, compensation, and acquisition-integration. Groups to whom he has given expert lectures include the Conference Board of Canada, IT Federation of Quebec (FIQ), and Manitoba Quality Network. He served on the board of directors of the Père Lindsay Foundation from 2004 to 2012.


Santa Ono – President and Vice Chancellor, University of British Columbia

Professor Santa Ono officially stepped into his role as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia on August 15, 2016. As a professor of medicine and biology, Professor Ono has worked at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London, and Emory universities. In 2015, he was inducted by Johns Hopkins into its Society of Scholars, which honours former faculty who have gained distinction in their fields. Ono’s research encompasses the immune system, eye inflammation, and age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of blindness. He and his research team are working to develop a blood test that could identify biomarkers in people who are progressing towards the disease. As a university administrator, Ono is also known for his vision beyond the laboratory. He was the first Asian-American president of the University of Cincinnati when he was appointed in 2012.

Previously, he served as the University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Prior to his recruitment to the University of Cincinnati, Ono was Senior Vice Provost and Deputy to the Provost at Emory University. Ono is deeply committed to diversity and his achievements were recently recognized by the American Council on Education with an award that honours individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment on a national level to the advancement of racial and ethnic minorities in higher education. Inside Higher Education named him America's most notable university president in 2015. An avid music lover, whose tastes range from Rihanna to Rachmaninoff, Ono studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and remarkably still finds time to sing and play his cello – even taking to the concert stage to perform on occasion. His family also helps him stay grounded. Ono is an active father to his two daughters, Juliana, 18, and Sarah, 12, who are also musically talented. UBC also enjoys the lively engagement of his wife Wendy Yip, who trained as an immunologist at McGill and as a lawyer at Boston University.


Anita Punamiya – Management Consultant

Anita wears multiple hats – she is an entrepreneur, a management consultant, and an educator. As an entrepreneur, Anita has founded two businesses in Canada, CompreCultures Ltd. (2007) and Shaping Purpose Inc. (2013).

Anita is a management consultant and specializes in cross-cultural communications and international business. Some of her clients include Qualcomm (US & India), Bell-Aliant, Mariner Partners Inc., Saint John Regional Hospital, Innovatia, City of Saint John, Enterprise Saint John, and Enovex among others. As a management consultant, Anita has also worked for three levels of government on various projects related to immigration, settlement, and integration of immigrants in NB.

Anita is also a part-time professor at University of New Brunswick (UNB), Saint John campus and teaches ‘Cross-Cultural Communications and Negotiations’ and ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ at the UNBSJ MBA program. In the past she has also taught ‘Diversity in the Work-place” at the Public Service Management Program at the College of Extended Learning at UNB, Fredericton and the ‘Role of Culture in Healthcare’ to 4th year Nursing students at UNBSJ.

Anita moved to Canada in 2004. Originally from India, she worked in the United Arab Emirates between 1994 and 2004, which gave her great exposure to a wide range of nationalities and cultures. She has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of roles in management, consulting, training, and development.

Between February 2016 and June 2017, Anita had taken on the role of CEO at Propel ICT, a Pan-Atlantic accelerator for ICT startups. Anita’s connection with Propel ICT started in 2005 as an MBA intern who was part of a team that conducted the ‘DNA study of the ICT sector in New Brunswick’. Between 2008 and 2014, she was also a Director on the Board of Directors at Propel ICT. After stepping down from the role of CEO, Anita is back on the board as a director.


Marie Rajic – Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Prairie Region, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Marie Rajic has been the Senior Vice President and GM of the Prairie Region for Hill+Knowlton Strategies since January 2016. Marie is the former Director of Sustainability & Strategy at TransCanada Corporation. In this role, she led a multi-disciplined department that included corporate social responsibility, stakeholder relations business planning and business systems, and community investment. Previous to this role, Marie worked in government relations at TransCanada where she supported all lines of the Canadian business and some US projects. 

Marie previously worked in the Harper Government as the Executive Director Regional Affairs. She was the senior government spokesperson and oversaw coordination of policies, programs, and communications in Alberta and the northern territories. Marie has a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Calgary, a master of arts in political studies, and a masters of public administration from the University of Manitoba, and a certificate in business management from Columbia University in New York.

She is a Calgary Top 40 under 40 alumni and recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Marie is a member of UrbanStar Capital’s advisory board and International Women’s Forum (IWF).


Mitacs Observer

Olga Stachova, Chief Operations Officer


Alejandro Adem, Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director

Dr. Alejandro Adem is Mitacs’ Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director. Born in Mexico City, he holds a BSc from the National University of Mexico and a PhD from Princeton University, both in mathematics.

Dr. Adem has been a faculty member at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and is currently a Professor of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. He has been a visiting scholar at several institutions around the world, including the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Max-Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany, the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, and the University of Paris.

He is a renowned expert in the field of algebraic topology and has received numerous distinctions for his research, including a Tier I Canada Research Chair (2004) and Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (2012).

Prior to joining Mitacs in February 2015, Dr. Adem was the Director of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (2008–2015) and has served on a variety of scientific, editorial, and governance boards for the worldwide mathematical sciences community.



Ridha Ben-Mrad, Chief Research Officer and Associate Academic Director 

Professor Ben-Mrad joined the University of Toronto in 1997 and was previously with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Ford Research Laboratory. Professor Ben-Mrad developed a number of new technologies through collaborations with industrial partners from across Canada. His research led to a number inventions as well as ten US, Canadian, European, and Chinese patents along with more than 160 research publications. 

Professor Ben-Mrad received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University; a Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering both from the University of Michigan; and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering also from the University of Michigan.



Eric Bosco, Chief Business Development & Partnerships Officer

Eric Bosco is an entrepreneur and business leader who helps companies grow through research and development. As Chief Business Development & Partnerships Officer at Mitacs, he works closely with governments, academia and industry to promote innovation.

Prior to joining Mitacs in 2007, Eric served as the founder and President of XYZ Imaging, a company he led from a small start-up to a world leader and innovator in the use of holography in the 3-D imaging industry with capital investments totalling $25 M. His research led to the practical realization of direct-write digital holography. Eric was also the director of a not-for-profit holography laboratory for the purpose of teaching holography to CEGEP students in Québec and conducting scientific outreach and research by academics. He also worked on the science team of the Tokamac de Varennes, Canada’s experimental nuclear fusion reactor, where he participated in the development of a sub-millimetre interferometer.

As a pioneer in his field, Eric’s understanding of the importance of academic research to the growth of commercial enterprises led him to join Mitacs, a national research organization that promotes innovation. Eric’s combination of business and scientific research experience provides him with the ideal skill-set to lead our business development team to connect companies and Mitacs’ academic partners.


Catherine Chick, Chief Information Officer

Catherine joined Mitacs in 2017. As Chief Information Officer, she oversees Mitacs’ information and communications technology (ICT). This position ensures that Mitacs can continue to meet the demand of program growth, perform robust analyses of program outcomes, and provide timely and efficient reporting for stakeholders .

Prior to joining Mitacs, Catherine served as Vice President, Business Services and Technology at Seaspan, where she oversaw the company’s IT operations and the delivery of process and system transformation projects. 

Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Business Administration from McMaster University.



Olga Stachova, Chief Operating Officer

Olga joined Mitacs in October 2000.  As Chief Operating Officer, her responsibilities include oversight of all corporate operations and management, delivery strategy for all Mitacs programs and strategic initiatives, as well as their implementation, ongoing evaluation and monitoring, and allocation of Mitacs resources and oversight of budgetary expenditures.

Olga has a Master’s Degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovakia. Prior to emigrating to Canada, she was Senior Project Manager at Management Partners, the leading HR consulting company in the Slovak market. She was highly successful in her role of recruiting personnel for international organizations opening subsidiaries in Slovakia.  Olga is the recipient of the 2009 Business in Vancouver Top Forty Under 40 Award, as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.



Jennifer Wilkie, Chief Financial Officer

Jennifer joined Mitacs in September 2008.  As Chief Financial Officer, her role includes oversight of all Mitacs corporate services teams including Financial Services, Grant Management, Human Resources & Administration, Information Systems & Technology, and Marketing & Communications.

Prior to joining Mitacs, Jennifer worked as Corporate Planner for the City of Coquitlam. She was also a senior manager at KPMG in various offices across the country. In addition to her Chartered Accountant designation, Jennifer also has her BBA from Simon Fraser University.





Christine Gillies, Vice-President, Marketing Communications (Calgary)


Deanna Lanoway, Vice-President, Programs (Winnipeg)


Lissa Matyas, Vice-President, International Partnerships (Montreal)


Forrest Parlee, Vice-President, National Partnerships (Toronto) 


Duncan Phillips, Vice-President, Strategic Enterprises (Vancouver)


Winnie Sin, Vice-President, Human Resources (Vancouver)



Jesse Vincent-Herscovici, Acting Vice-President, Business Development (Montreal)


The Mitacs Research Council (MRC) is a committee of the Mitacs Board and is dedicated to maintaining the research integrity of Mitacs programs.  The role of the MRC is to provide research expertise to the Board and to advise the Board on strategies, initiatives and issues related to Mitacs research.  The duties and responsibilities of the MRC are to safeguard standards for research and innovation and scholarship consistent with policies of the Board.

The MRC consists of the Chair and 18 members.  MRC members provide broad representation of research in Canada across regions, disciplines, and sectors from academia, industry, and the public sector. 

Catherine Adams — University of Alberta

Dr. Adams is an Associate Professor, and currently the Associate Chair Graduate Program in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta. She holds a B.Sc. (Computing Science) and PhD (Secondary Education) from the University of Alberta, and a Masters in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University. Since 2009, she has directed Curriculum & Pedagogy Interchange (CPIn), a collaborative association of faculty, students, and teaching professionals dedicated to the pursuit of theoretical and applied issues in the areas of curriculum and pedagogy. CPIn is affiliated with the International Research Center for Phenomenological Pedagogy and Teacher Education at CNIER (China National Institute for Educational Research), Beijing. Previously, Dr. Adams coordinated the Faculty of Education’s MEd (Technology in Education) program (2012-2014).

Dr. Adams’ interdisciplinary research investigates the integration of computing technologies across a wide range of educational environments, and focuses on their pedagogical, relational, epistemological, and ethical implications. A popular teacher, she was the runner-up in the University of Alberta’s Last Lecture series (2015); she is regularly invited to give lectures, seminars, and workshops on phenomenological research, and on studying the everyday use of digital technologies in educational, healthcare, and other professional settings.

Cristina Amon — University of Toronto

Cristina Amon has been the Dean of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and Alumni Professor of Bioengineering in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering since 2006. She received her Mechanical Engineering diploma from Simón Bolívar University, and her MS and ScD degrees in 1988 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to her leadership at the University of Toronto, she was the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie Mellon University.

A pioneer in the development of Computational Fluid Dynamics for formulating and solving thermal design problems subject to multidisciplinary competing constraints, she conducts research in nanoscale thermal transport in semiconductors, energy systems and bioengineered devices.

Dean Amon serves on the BoD of MKS Instruments Inc., a leading global provider for advanced manufacturing of semiconductor devices, energy generation and electro-optical products. She is chair of the research committee of NCDEAS (National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science), past chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council, and serves on advisory boards for several institutions including Stanford, UCLA, UIUC and Waterloo. 

Cristina Amon has received numerous professional and leadership awards, including the ASME Gustus Larson Memorial Award, ASEE Westinghouse Medal, ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award, and the Society of Women Engineers' Achievement Award. In 2012 she was recognized as one of Canada's most Influential Women. She was inducted to four academies: Canadian Academy of Engineering, Spanish Royal Academy, Royal Society of Canada and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. She is an elected fellow of all major professional societies in her field and has authored over 350 refereed articles in education and research literature.

Ridha Ben-Mrad — Mitacs Associate Academic Director

Ridha Ben-Mrad, P.Eng., FCSME, Director of the Mechatronics and Microsystems Group and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. He joined the University of Toronto in 1997, having previously held positions at the National Research Council of Canada in Vancouver, BC, and the Ford Research Laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan. R. Ben-Mrad received a PHD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1994. He also received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Honors and with Distinction from Penn State, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. R. Ben-Mrad’s research interests are micro-actuators and sensors, MEMS, microfabrication, and development of smart materials based devices. He led a large number of collaborations with industrial partners from across Canada working on developing a number of new technologies. His research led to a number of patents and inventions including 10 US, Canadian, European and Chinese patents and more than 160 refereed research publications. He supervised the work of more than 16 PHD students, 38 Master’s students, 14 researchers, 3 Post-Doctoral Fellows, and 64 senior undergraduate students. He received the Faculty Early Career Teaching Award in 2002 and the Connaught Innovation Award in 2013 and in 2014. R. Ben-Mrad chairs the IEEE IES Committee on MEMS and Nanotechnology (2015-2016), is a member of the Executive Board of the CanSmart Group, is Associate Editor of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Tech News (2013-current), serves on the Steering Committee of the IEEE Journal on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (2010-current) and is a member of the IEEE IES Publication Committee (2013-current). He was a Technical Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (2010-2014) and a guest editor of the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (2010-2012). He was as the founding Director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto (2009-2011), served on the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Mechanical Engineering Grant Committee (2008-2011) and was Associate Chair of Research of his department (2009-2012).

Soumaya Cherkaoui — Université de Sherbrooke

Pr. Soumaya Cherkaoui, P.Eng, Ph.D., is a Full Professor at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Université de Sherbrooke, Canada, which she joined in 1999. She is also the Director of INTERLAB, a research Laboratory which conducts research funded both by government and industry. In 2005, she was appointed Adjunct Full Professor at Lulea University, Sweden. Before joining U. Sherbrooke as a faculty member, Pr. Cherkaoui worked for industry as a project leader on projects targeted at the Aerospace Industry.

Pr. Cherkaoui avails of a long research experience in the wireless networking, particularly vehicular communications, cyberphysical systems, machine-to-machine communications, and IoT. She has led, as principal investigator, several Canadian and Quebec projects on wireless communications technologies supported by NSERC, NCEs and FRQNT along with several industrials. The work of Pr. Cherkaoui resulted in technology transfer to Canadian companies and to patented technology. She regularly acts as an expert in the field of wireless networks, having been on evaluation panels and committees of national and international funding agencies (ex. NSERC Computer Science Committee 2017-2020, and ANR, FRANCE 2012-2017) and elected by her peers as secretary of the AHSN Technical Committee of IEEE Communication Society in 2015.  She has more than 200 publications in reputable journals, conferences and workshops in the area. Pr. Cherkaoui has had invited positions at leading institutions including UC Berkeley, Bell Laboratories, Monash University, and at University of Toronto.  She was appointed member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence Auto21, Canada (2011-2012) and member of the Expert Advisory Panel of Precarn, Canada (2010).

Lisa Crossley — CEO, Reliq Health Technologies, Inc.

Dr. Lisa Crossley is the CEO of Reliq Health Technologies, Inc., a publicly-traded healthcare IT company with offices in Vancouver, BC and Hamilton, ON. Lisa has diverse experience across multiple market segments, including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, life science tools, diagnostics and healthcare information technology. Prior to joining Reliq Health, Lisa was CEO of VitalHub Corp., CEO at Quantum Dental Technologies and President & CEO at Natrix Separations. In these roles she raised over $38 Million in venture capital and angel financing from investors in the US and Canada. She is a current member of the Genome Alberta Board of Directors and has previously served on the Board of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), Viron Therapeutics, Boyd Technologies, and Women in Science and Technology Businesses (WSTB). She was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on the State of Industrial R&D in Canada. Lisa holds a B.Sc. in Anatomy & Cell Biology from McGill University and a B.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario. 

Don Duchesne — Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ottawa

Mr. Don Duchesne held the position of Senior Heritage Conservation Engineer with Public Works and Government Services Canada Heritage Conservation Directorate from 2001 to 2011 and is currently working with the Parliamentary Precinct Directorate (Major Capital Projects). He current holds the position as Project Director responsible for the rehabilitation of the East Block on Parliament Hill. Prior to moving to Public Works, Mr. Duchesne worked as a Senior Engineer with Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited working on commercial projects including the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Mr. Duchesne obtained a B.Eng (Distinction) in 1978 and M.Eng. in 1980 from Carleton University.

Miguel Anjos – Polytechnique Montréal

Miguel F. Anjos is Full Professor at Polytechnique Montréal and a Licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario. His research interests are in the theory, algorithms and applications of mathematical optimization. He currently holds an Inria International Chair on Power Peak Minimization for the Smart Gird. He is the Founding Academic Director of the Trottier Institute for Energy at Polytechnique. His accolades include a Canada Research Chair, the Méritas Teaching Award, a Humboldt Research Fellowship, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Farid Golnaraghi — Simon Fraser University

Professor Golnaraghi studied Mechanical Engineering at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where he received both his Bachelor and Master of Applied Science in 1982.  He then moved to Cornell University to study Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and received his PhD in 1988.

In 1988, Dr. Golnaraghi became a professor of Mechanical Engineering, and later Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, at the University of Waterloo. He also became a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Mechatronics and Smart Material Systems at Waterloo in 2002. Between 1988 and 2006 in Waterloo he has graduated more than sixty Masters and PhD students.  His pioneering research has resulted in two textbooks, more than a hundred and fifty journal and Conference papers, four patents and two startup companies.

Professor Golnaraghi joined SFU in August of 2006 as the Director of Mechatronics Engineering Program – the flagship program at SFU Surrey.  Surrey is SFU’s new campus with a variety of unique programs inspired by ever-evolving technology, and the ever-changing global marketplace, and Mechatronics program will be the centerpiece of these activities.  So far the program has proven to be very successful and in high demand – with an average of 100 new undergraduate and 25 new graduate student admission yearly.  Dr. Golnaraghi also holds a Burnaby Mountain endowed Chair at SFU, and his primary research focus is on Intelligent Vehicle Systems.

Dr. Golnaraghi is also very active in different academic circles across Canada and internationally with activities such as:

  • NSERC Strategic Program “Competitive Manufacturing” Committee (2011–2012)
  • NSERC GSC 1053: Grant selection committee member for Mechanical Engineering (2007–2010)
  • Associate Editor: Journal of Intelligent Materials Systems & Structures (2005–Present)
  • Associate Editor: Journal of Dynamics & Control (2005–Present)
  • Leaders Opportunity Fund Advisory Committee (LOFAC): CFI (2005–2007)
  • College Board of Reviewers: Canadian Foundation for Innovation, CFI (2004–2005)
  • CSME, Director & Fellow; Chair: Mechatronics & MEMS Tech. Committee (2000–2014)
  • Mitacs College of Reviewers (2009–Present)

Fahima Nekka — Université de Montréal

Dr. Fahima Nekka is a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Université de Montréal. After obtaining her Ph.D. in mathematics in the field of fractal analysis, her interests brought her to the pharmaceutical sciences motivated by the quantitative perspective of this area. Her research evolved since then at the interface of mathematics and pharmacy. After a joint position between Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) and the Faculty of Pharmacy, she was appointed in 2002 as a regular professor at the Faculty through an NSERC Faculty University Award (UFA). Her research remarkably spans a whole pathway of fundamental research to a range of applications in pharmaceutical sciences. Working outside a mathematical department has never precluded Dr. Nekka’s research to be deeply rooted in the rigor to which mathematics are associated. Motivated by real applications, her projects have always been focused on the foundations of solid basis for the concepts and methods she develops. She is the main promoter of pharmacometrics in Canada and plays an important role in reshaping the field through original methodological contributions. Dr. Nekka’s expertise has been recognized internationally; she regularly participates as an invited speaker or organizer of scientific events.

She also actively contributes to the formation of a whole new generation of highly qualified personnel, trained between mathematics and pharmaceutical sciences. For the period of 2007-2012, Dr. Nekka served as Mitacs Regional Scientific Director for the province of Québec where she contributed to design and improvement of several research programs and to help diffuse the strategy of academic-industrial collaborations among the scientific community. She has also been involved in the NSERC scholarship program from 2009-2012 by acting as a member, then the chair of the Committee of pure and applied mathematics. Since 2010, Dr. Nekka has been a co-founder and member of the Centre for Applied Mathematics in Biosciences and Medicine (CAMBAM), which serves as a leading institution in the application of mathematics in bioscience and medicine.

Stephen Perelgut — IBM

Stephen Perelgut is currently the IBM Canada Cloud Ecosystem Business Development Manager. His previous role was managing University Relations for IBM Canada where he interacted with researchers from every research university in Canada as well as government labs and public sector funding agencies.  His interests and activities cover a broad spectrum of computing sciences but he has always maintained a passion for undergraduate education in computing topics, having lectured for a total of 18 terms at the University of Toronto's Department of Computing Science.  Stephen currently sits on many faculty, school and government advisory boards, commenting on program development.

Helge Seetzen — TandemLaunch

Helge Seetzen is a successful multi-media technology entrepreneur with deep experience in the university tech transfer space. He currently serves as the CEO of TandemLaunch – a unique venture fund that scouts, accelerates, and commercializes early-stage technologies from the world's top universities in close partnership with major Consumer Electronic brands and world-class entrepreneurs. 

Prior to TandemLaunch, Helge co-founded Sunnybrook Technologies and later BrightSide Technologies to commercialize display technologies developed at the University of British Columbia. BrightSide was successfully sold to Dolby Laboratories at high return to shareholders after having grown to over 30 developers and receiving accolades such as the Best Buzz Award at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show and a "Top 100 Technologies in 2006" rank by Popular Science Magazine. At Dolby he led all cross-functional development activities for Dolby's first two consumer video products. In this capacity he built research and engineering departments in Canada and the US, and was closely involved in licensing negotiations with many major consumer electronics manufacturers. 

Helge's leadership in the technology transfer, innovation and entrepreneurial space has been widely recognized through awards such as Business in Vancouver's 40 under Forty award for business accomplishment, the NSERC Innovation Challenge Award for university technology transfer, and a Special Recognition Award from the Society for Information Display for the pioneering of LED TV technology. Helge is a Fellow of the McGill Dobson Center for Entrepreneurship, board member of the Parcours Entrepreneurial Rémi-Marcoux at HEC Montreal, and frequent supporter of many other organisations encouraging entrepreneurship. As a technical leader, he served as the General Chair for Display Week, the largest technical conference on displays, as well as currently on the Executive Board of the Society for Information Display. He has published over 20 journal articles, writes a regular column on venture capital innovation in the Information Display Magazine, and holds over 50 patents with an additional 60 pending US applications. Helge received a B.Sc. in physics and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary imaging technology (physics & computer science) from the University of British Columbia.

Maryam Tabrizian — McGill University

Professor Tabrizian received her PhD in Physical Sciences from Univ. P. et M. Curie and École de Physicochimie de Paris (France) in 1990. Her postdoctoral fellowship was conducted in the Center for Sciences and Engineering of Macromolecules at Laval University (90-92) (Canada). She joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at McGill University (Canada) in December 2000 where she is currently a Full Professor and Biomat’X Laboratories’ director. Professor Tabrizian is FRSQ chercheure-Nationale awardee and the founder of the FQNRT Centre for Biorecognition and Biosensors (CBB) that she directed from 2002 to 2011. She became the Guggenheim fellow in 2010 and International Fellow of the Biomaterials Science & Engineering in 2011 for her contribution to the field of biomedical sciences and engineering. The development of novel interface for improved interaction of biomaterials with biological environment is the overall objective of her research. This is carried out through the design, fabrication and characterization of multifunctional and bioactive surfaces as well as developing methodologies and protocols for creating these new biointerfaces. Her laboratory masters a broad expertise in surface modification techniques, namely chemical, molecular assembly and biological methods to cope with the highly divergent requirements for surface properties in biomedical applications. The target applications are mainly focused on regenerative medicine, nanomedicine and Lab-on-a-Chip platforms. Her work has so far led to 160 publications, 80 invited lectures, many book chapters, patents and over 270 communications. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Materials (MDPI), member of Advisory Board of American Chemical Society-Bioconjugate Chemistry, of Journal of Biological Engineering (JBI) and Associated Editor of International Journal of Biomaterials Research and Engineering (IJBRE).

Claude Laguë – University of Ottawa

Dr. Claude Laguë, P.Eng., ing., FCAE│MACG, FEC│FIC, is a tenured Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. An agricultural engineer holding degrees from Université Laval and from the University of California – Davis, Dr. Laguë specializes in the engineering of agricultural machinery and manure management systems and in the assessment and mitigation of the environmental impacts of agricultural activities. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario and in Québec.

Dr. Laguë was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa in August 2006 and he completed his 10-year tenure on June 30, 2016. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Laguë's responsibilities extended to all academic and resource matters within the Faculty. He chaired the Faculty Council and the Faculty Executive Committee. At the University level, Dr. Laguë was a member of the University of Ottawa Senate. He has actively contributed to various committees, workgroups, and task forces dealing with academic, financial, labour relations, and space issues. A member of the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science (NCDEAS|CCDISA) from 2002 to 2016, Dr. Laguë chaired that organization between 2008 and 2011. In that capacity, he represented Canadian engineering schools at the Canadian Engineering Leadership Forum (CELF|FLGC) and served as an Advisor to Engineers Canada's Board of Directors. Between 2011 and 2013, Dr. Laguë served as Chair of the Council of Ontario Deans of Engineering (CODE).

He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF|FCGC) in 2009 and to that of Actua in 2012. Dr. Laguë was elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2014. In 2016, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale (RGA) presented him with a ‘Coup de cœur’ prize in recognition of his important contributions to the promotion and support of student entrepreneurship at the University of Ottawa. And in 2016 also, Engineers Canada named Dr. Laguë a Fellow in recognition of his many contributions to the advancement of the engineering profession in Canada.

Carolyn Watters — Dalhousie

Dr. Watters is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University specializing in human computer engagement in information spaces from documents to social media. Her interdisciplinary and collaborative work has spanned all three tri-council areas, NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR.  She has published well over 150 peer-reviewed articles and supervised many PhD and Masters students. Dr. Watters has been a member of a NSERC Discovery Grant committee, the NSERC Discovery Grant Process Review Panel, and the initial Chair of the NSERC Create Competition Committee.  She is currently a member of the SSHRC Governing Council, Chair of the Maritimes Higher Education Commission, and Chair of CALDO, a consortium engaged in graduate initiatives in Latin America. Dr. Watters is the Provost and Vice President Academic for Dalhousie University, one of Canada’s oldest universities and a member of the U15 group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

Jimi Tjong – Ford Motor Company

Dr. Jimi Tjong is the Technical Leader and Manager of the Ford Powertrain Engineering, Research & Development Centre (PERDC). It is a result oriented organization capable of providing services ranging from the definition of the problem to the actual design, testing, verification, and finally the implementation of solutions or measures. The Centre is currently the hub for Engineering, Research and Development that involved Canadian Universities, Government Laboratories, Canadian automotive parts and equipment suppliers. The Centre includes16 research and development test cells, prototype machine shop, PHEV, HEV and BEV development testing which occupies an area of 200,000 sq ft. The Centre is the hub for Production / Design Validation of engines manufactured in North America and an overflow for the Ford worldwide facilities.  It also establishes a close link worldwide within Ford Research and Innovation Centre, Product Development and Manufacturing Operations that can help bridge the gap between laboratory research and the successful commercialization and integration of promising new technologies into the product development cycle.

His principal field of Research and Development encompasses the following:

Optimizing Automotive Test systems for cost, performance and full compatibility. It includes the development of test methodology and cognitive systems.
Calibration for internal combustion engines.
Alternate fuels, bio fuels( including DME/OME), lubricants and exhaust fluids
Lightweight materials with the focus on Aluminum, Magnesium, bio materials.
Battery, Electric motors, super capacitors, stop/start systems, HEV, PHEV, BEV systems.
Nano sensors and actuators.
High performance and racing engines.
Surface Coating for friction reduction, thermal barrier and lightweighting
Non destructive monitoring of manufacturing and assembly processes.
Advanced gasoline and diesel engines focusing in fuel economy, performance and cost opportunities.

He has published more than 120 Technical papers and presented in the above field internationally. Dr. Tjong is also an Adjunct Professor of University of Windsor, McMaster University and University of Toronto. He continuously mentors graduate students in completing the course requirements as well as career development coaching.

Allan Woodbury — University of Manitoba

Dr. Woodbury is a senior groundwater hydrologist and professional engineer with over 40 years of experience across western Canada, and internationally. His   focus is on contaminant transport and fate in the environment. He is internationally recognized for innovative research and high-level technical reviews.  Allan is a Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, at the University of Manitoba and currently a Visiting Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences, UBC Okanagan.  He is also on the Board of Advisors for Aquanty Hydrosphere Analytics of Waterloo, Ontario.

Dr. Woodbury’s impactful work has been highly cited by peers and sought after by governments. His 65 peer-reviewed publications (to date) average 19 citations each. He has published in six books/monographs, wrote numerous technical reports for Canadian governments and businesses, provided consultation to 16 governments and organizations across North America, and presented in at least 61 conferences across the globe.

The focus of Dr. Woodbury's professional efforts is the role of groundwater in geotechnical, mining, environmental and water supply issues, particularly in a regulatory framework. These efforts involve investigations, assessment of remediation methods for contaminated waters and soils, water supply quality and quantity, engineering design, and the development and application of regulatory guidelines.