Government of Canada announces four new appointments to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

News release

Appointments will help funding agency advance research and innovation in Canada

July 26, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) invests in Canada’s future—through people. In addition to supporting researchers who deliver world-leading discoveries and fostering research collaborations to create benefits for Canada, NSERC provides opportunities for the best and brightest students at all levels to gain hands-on research experience as they grow in their field. That is why the Council that governs NSERC needs to include inspirational leaders who collectively represent the academic research and private sector R&D communities in natural sciences and engineering, as well as other stakeholder groups in the Canadian innovation system.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced the appointment of four new council members—a diverse group of leaders in their own right:

  • Dr. Susan Chatwood, Scientific Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research; McCalla Professor and associate professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta; and assistant professor, Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Darren Lawless, Dean of Applied Research and Innovation, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • Dr. Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, McMaster University
  • Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Frontier Institute

The appointments were made under the Government of Canada’s new approach to Governor in Council appointments. This approach supports open, transparent and merit-based selection processes, which strive for gender parity and reflect Canada’s diversity, and supports ministers in making appointment recommendations for positions within their portfolio by providing them with information and referrals.


“I am so pleased to welcome all of these distinguished scientists and researchers to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Their vast experience will be a great asset to an organization that promotes bold, high-impact ideas. They will help ensure that NSERC’s reputation for supporting researchers and students continues in the frontiers of science and engineering exploration.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport 

Quick facts

  • NSERC’s Council consists of the President and up to 18 other members from the private and public sector. The Council sets the strategy and high-level policies for NSERC, with the goal of advancing research and development in Canada.

  • The terms of these appointments are staggered between one and three years.

  • NSERC invests over $1.2 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. It also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows.

  • The Government of Canada has committed more than $10 billion to science, including the largest ever increase in funding for fundamental research.

Associated links


Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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