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.

vpri@ualberta.ca | 780-492-5353

André McDonald, Associate Vice-President (Strategic Research and Performance) 

André's role includes supporting strategic research initiatives, strategic research planning and performance measurement, identifying research and innovation trends and opportunities, developing interdisciplinary research initiatives with colleges and faculties, and stewarding large-scale research grant applications. 

A graduate of the City College of New York and the University of Toronto, André is a professor of mechanical engineering whose research focus is the fabrication, development, and performance assessment of thermal-and cold-sprayed coatings. He also leads the Experiential Learning in Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ELITE) Program for Black Youth – a university-government-industry-community collaboration to support hands-on learning and work-integrated training of Black youth in STEM fields. 

andre.mcdonald@ualberta.ca | 780-492-5335

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.

lbeard@ualberta.ca | 780-492-5320

Jason Acker, Associate Vice-President (Research Integrity Support)

In this newly-created role, Jason is responsible for building, implementing and managing a framework that supports programs and services encompassing all research integrity areas, including compliance, ethics certification, clinical trials monitoring, human and animal ethics, safeguarding research, and legal requirements related to research

A graduate of the University of Alberta, Jason is currently a professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He and his team perform discovery research in low temperature biology and translation studies on the collection, manufacturing and storage of cell-based therapeutics.

jason.acker@ualberta.ca | 780-492-8342

Julie Stephens, Director, Research Partners Network

In her 30 years at the U of A, Julie has served in numerous research administration and support roles. In her new role, she will establish and lead a new research support approach, and develop new standards to help foster and grow an environment that helps researchers and innovators to do their best work. The Research Partner's Network team will streamline research administration via one-stop-shop access to Vice-President (Research and Innovation) portfolio services and resources, as well as proactive and responsive activities to address the U of A research community’s emerging needs.

julie.stephens@ualberta.ca | 780-492-9189