Leadership Team

Aminah Robinson Fayek, Vice-President (Research and Innovation)

Appointed July 1, 2021.

A professor of civil engineering, Aminah is a renowned expert in construction engineering and management. Her research focuses on fuzzy logic and fuzzy hybrid modeling techniques, and the application of artificial intelligence for intelligent decision support in construction. Her work has changed how the construction industry models operations and decisions and helped solve delivery-related issues, improved productivity and outcomes, increased profitability, technological sophistication, and competitive performance in design and construction.

She holds a Canada Research Chair in Fuzzy Hybrid Decision Support Systems for Construction, and is currently serving her third term as NSERC Senior Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery.

Her passion for research is complemented by her passion for working with graduate students, and industry collaboration. A respected member of Alberta's construction industry, Aminah has developed extensive and long-standing industry and public sector partnerships in Alberta and beyond. In addition to her work with industry and academic partners, she has served on many external policy and research committees, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, where she served three years on the Advisory Committee on University-Industry Grants. Aminah is also a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, and a member of the National Academy of Construction.

Email: vpri@ualberta.ca | 780-492-5353


Walter Dixon, Associate Vice-President (Research and Priority Initiatives)

Walter liaises with funding agencies and government, and helps foster and build research collaborations. He also oversees the university's Postdoctoral Fellows Office, Academic Visitors' Office and Research Ethics Office

A professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Walter is a graduate of the University of Alberta and the University of Cambridge. His research focus is livestock reproductive performance and the impact of nutrition during gestation on embryo/fetal development, lifetime growth potential and animal health parameters.

Email: walter.dixon@ualberta.ca | 780-492-3579


Laura Beard, Associate Vice-President (Research)

Laura's role is to develop, support, and sustain excellence in research in the social sciences and humanities across the university. She also works on Indigenous initiatives and contributes to key equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives at the University. She serves as a liaison to funding agencies and government, helping to build provincial, national, and international research collaborations as well as community research partnerships. In all her work, her goal is to promote inclusive conceptions of research excellence.

Laura holds an MA and a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. A two-time Fulbright Scholar and a professor of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, her research interests include life narratives, Indigenous literatures, stories and storyworlds, gender, nation and narration.

Email: lbeard@ualberta.ca | 780-492-5320


Deborah James, Associate Vice-President (Innovation and Commercialization)

Deborah has more than 15 years of academic, executive and consulting experience. Most recently, she worked with faculty and the public and private sector to create, connect and implement large-scale initiatives, including the creation of a health innovation incubator and an accelerator program to help transfer UAlberta research driven innovations into society.

Email: deborah.james@ualberta.ca | 780-492-8342