Belated Thanks

I was looking back on some of my blogs of late and I realized that I haven’t shared my thoughts about the top honour I recently received from the Government of Canada.

In March this year, I was delighted to be selected as the Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Nanosystems. Now I’ve been fortunate to be recognized at various times throughout my career with different accolades, but this one is really quite special to me.

It is something that has been on my mind for some time and am pleased that I now have the opportunity to join more than 1700 chair holders in the pursuit of research and innovation excellence for Canada.

My enthusiasm about this professional and personal milestone probably comes as no surprise to those of you who have worked closely with me over the years. I have always been very outspoken about my passion for quality research and education. I truly believe that knowledge capacity is one of our biggest assets and that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we are cultivating an environment that facilitates life-long learning and development.

Since arriving at the University of Alberta in the fall of 2012, I have witnessed first hand a culture that supports and promotes the discovery and mobilization of knowledge. We are indeed a robust learning community and that was acknowledged again this year with 11 U of A faculty members receiving CRC appointments, renewals, or tier advancements.

With these new additions, we now have nearly 100 Canada Research Chairs in our midst as well as three Canada Excellence Chairs. This is quite an achievement.

The Canada Research Chairs program, which was established in 2000, continues to provide a much needed boost to our academic community. The designations mean the U of A will receive an additional $12.7 million from the federal government to attract and retain world-class talent across disciplines. And the return on investment promises to be significant.

As someone who has been a part of many teams at several post-secondary institutions, I can attest to the value of a being surrounded by bright minds. With the right people, our classrooms and laboratories become incubators for bold thinking and leading-edge solutions. These of course are the precursors for enhanced quality of life and national prosperity.

The privilege to serve as Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Nanosystems is one that I take very seriously. I have been entrusted with the opportunity to leverage synergistic discoveries across disciplines and to craft a new and revolutionary technological field. By harnessing the collective power of local engineering, biology, chemistry and physics experts and those from abroad, we will change the course for Canadians and communities around the world.

Our collaborative work will not only build research and institutional capacity, it will enable new, globally competitive, value-added industries that will positively impact our future. And all the while, we will be inspiring and equipping the next generation of researchers and innovators right here in Alberta. Now that is something I think we can all celebrate.