Leadership Team

   Walter Dixon, Interim Vice-President (Research and Innovation)

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 | 780-492-5353

     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

   Alex Clark, Associate Vice-President (Research)

Alex's role focuses on developing, supporting, and sustaining excellence in health research and innovation across the university and its communities - across all disciplines, methods, and fields.

An interdisciplinary health services researcher, he has led work using quantitative and qualitative methods into psychosocial aspects of coronary heart disease and heart failure. He has a special interest in academic professional development.

Email: alex.clark@ualberta.ca | 780-492-2918

      Randy Goebel, Associate Vice-President (Research Partnerships)

Randy's responsibilities include oversight of the University's centres and institutes, 82 distributed across all faculties, and the new bi-lateral agreement on research collaboration with the National Research Council. He co-leads the development of the University precision health strategy (with Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry), for the Medical Isotope Cyclotron Facility working group, and other emerging internal and external research collaborations.

A professor of Computing Science, Randy is also a principal investigator with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute.

Email: rgoebel@ualberta.ca | 780-492-5335

    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


    Ania Ulrich, Acting Associate Vice-President (Research)

Ania has joined the VPRI portfolio leadership team for a one-year term while Walter Dixon serves as Interim Vice-President (Research and Innovation). In this role, Ania will work on a number of NSERC-related activities, as well as the Field Research Activities Committee, Postdoctoral Fellows Office and the Amii university group. She will also serve as the Mitacs institutional contact and the Statistics Canada liaison.

A professor of civil and environmental engineering, Ania completed her BSc at the University of Alberta, and her PhD at the University of Toronto. In 2008, after several years in industry, she returned to the University of Alberta, joining the Faculty of Engineering. Since then she has served on many departmental, faculty and university committees, and is an active member of the institution’s EDI scoping group. Most recently, she served three years as associate dean (outreach) in the Faculty of Engineering where her activities focused on inspiring the next generation of engineers.

Email: aulrich@ualberta.ca | 780-492-3579