Dear friends and colleagues,
In May 2022, my second five-year contract as President and CEO of CIFAR will come to an end. I am writing to you, as an important member of the CIFAR community, to share that I will not be seeking renewal for a third term.
My reasoning behind the decision is quite straightforward: After more than nine wonderful years as president, I feel that it is time for fresh leadership and a new perspective to take CIFAR forward as one of the world’s great research organizations. I have discussed this decision with our board and have indicated my willingness to offer CIFAR continued support for the transition and/or special projects into Fall 2022, should it be desired or necessary.
I am grateful to have been given the opportunity, back in 2012, to serve as president and CEO, with David Dodge as chair of the Board of Directors, then with Barb Stymiest and now with Bill Young. I have greatly appreciated their wisdom and advice. CIFAR is fortunate to have had a strong history of boards and board chairs with such exceptional experience, track records of leadership and commitment to the goals and values of this organization. I also am grateful for the support and guidance I have received from Board Directors, the global research community, and many business leaders throughout my tenure as president.
I have also had the great pleasure and honour to be a member of an outstanding Executive team and remarkable staff, including my assistant Gail Martin. CIFAR’s successes over the past nine years are due to the wonderful team of talented, intelligent, hardworking and creative individuals who make up the CIFAR team. Our staff are truly what makes CIFAR great.
For nearly 40 years, CIFAR has also benefited from the enlightened support from federal and provincial governments, many foundations, corporations and individual donors. That support has allowed us to develop a culture of long-term thinking and a philosophy of excellence at the very highest level of international excellence and high risk/high payoff research. That philosophy has led to breakthroughs in the world’s thinking about the importance of the early years, the socioeconomic determinants of health, epigenetics as a mechanism to embed experience into early brain development, the impact of our shared human need to belong on our actions and beliefs, and the development of deep learning and artificial intelligence. Steadfast support of this kind is rare, and it is imperative to advance the knowledge and impact on humanity that almost always comes from the long- term support for fundamental research.
One of the great joys for me of working at CIFAR has been working with our 400 fellows, global scholars and advisors. They are a remarkable group of scientists and scholars who are driven by a passion to advance knowledge through research and thereby make the world a better place. No scientist could ask for better colleagues, advisors, and friends.
I am proud to have played a role in CIFAR’s evolution over the past decade and am confident in its trajectory for the future. When my term ends next year, I will certainly remain close to this remarkable organization. I look forward to a time when we can gather again and celebrate CIFAR’s achievements together.
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.