First woman appointed Chair of the Canada Foundation for Innovation Board of Directors

News release

June 20, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced the appointment of Dr. Ingrid J. Pickering as Chair of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Board of Directors, the first woman to serve in this position. She will lead the Board for a three-year term, effective immediately.

Dr. Pickering is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Molecular Environmental Science at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research uses synchrotron X-ray techniques to study metals and other elements in biological systems that are important to the environment and human health.

She has experience serving on a number of international advisory panels for synchrotron facilities, making her well suited to lead the CFI and help advance the Government's Innovation and Skills Plan. Dr. Pickering has previously been a member of the CFI Board, providing the Foundation with advice and strategic direction that enabled it to fulfill its mandate to support world-class research infrastructure at universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations across Canada.

In addition to welcoming Dr. Pickering to her new role, Minister Duncan took the opportunity to thank the outgoing Chair, Dr. Kevin Smith, for his almost 11 years of service on the Board, including eight years as its Chair.

The CFI is an independent organization created through federal legislation in 1997 to support advanced research infrastructure. The CFI provides funding for state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that increase Canada's capability to carry out high-quality research.


“I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Dr. Pickering on her new leadership role. Under Dr. Pickering’s vision and guidance, the Canada Foundation for Innovation will continue to provide researchers and students with the tools they need to conduct their groundbreaking work.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“I am honoured to be selected to serve as Chair of the Canada Foundation for Innovation Board of Directors. Having served on the Board for five years, I am particularly appreciative of the exemplary service provided by outgoing Chair Dr. Kevin Smith. It will be my pleasure to work closely with the CFI’s President and CEO, Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, as well as my colleagues on the Board. The Government of Canada’s recent proposed investments mean that this is a particularly exciting time for research and innovation in Canada, and it is my privilege to be invited to serve in this capacity.”

– Dr. Ingrid J. Pickering, Chair, Canada Foundation for Innovation Board of Directors

Quick facts

  • The CFI Board of Directors is made up of 13 people, six of whom—including the Chair—are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister. The Board makes final decisions on projects to be funded and approves the CFI’s annual plans and objectives, reviewing the outcomes of these objectives every year. By providing strategic direction and oversight, the Board of Directors supports the CFI in its mandate to increase Canada’s capability to carry out important world-class scientific research and technology development that lead to economic growth and job creation through innovation.

  • This appointment follows an open, transparent and merit-based selection process.

  • Budget 2018 proposed an investment of $763 million in the CFI over five years, including $160 million for increased support to Canada’s nationally important research facilities through the CFI’s Major Science Initiatives Fund.

  • The Government also proposed to establish permanent funding for the CFI at an ongoing level of $462 million per year by 2023–24.

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Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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