Announcement Regarding Vice-President (Research and Innovation)

I write today to announce that Vice-President (Research and Innovation) Matthias Ruth has been appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research…

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I write today to announce that Vice-President (Research and Innovation) Matthias Ruth has been appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York, a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities in the United Kingdom, where he will begin his new role on May 1, 2020.

Moving closer to his wife and children in Newcastle was the deciding factor in his decision. "This has been a very difficult decision to step down," Matthias told me. "It's been such a privilege working with an outstanding decanal leadership and executive team and leading an exceptional research community."

During his tenure at the U of A, Matthias has worked with internal and external colleagues to develop a new Research and Innovation Strategic Plan, which will guide future priorities for the portfolio. With a focus on the university's innovation agenda, Matthias led a U of A task force on commercialization, entrepreneurship and technology transfer, and its report is being finalised. Outcomes of the task force report include the expansion of the portfolio from Research to Research and Innovation and the creation of a full-time Associate Vice-President (Innovation) role, to which Deborah James has been appointed.

In addition to this important strategic planning leadership, Matthias worked closely with Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Steve Dew on the development of four signature areas and took on their administrative oversight. He also spearheaded revisions of services and structures to enhance the experience of Postdoctoral Fellows and Academic Visitors, and he recently launched a Pilot Seed Grant Program designed to stimulate interdisciplinary research across faculties and to increase success in attracting external research funding.

Notable among several national engagements, Matthias served as a member of the ISED-Universities Working Group. This group has been exploring the fact base, priorities and concerns related to international R&D investment in academia with the goal of minimizing cybersecurity risks, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that international research activities maximize benefits to Canadians. Related to this work, under Matthias' leadership, the University of Alberta convened in May 2019 a national symposium on North campus entitled "Navigating International Research Opportunities in Times of Global Change", which was attended by nearly 100 people from government, academia, and agencies that support post-secondary research.

Matthias has also maintained an active research profile since joining us in May 2018. He has published three books (one single-authored, one co-authored and one edited) and numerous papers in the peer-reviewed literature.

Upon Matthias' departure, Walter Dixon, Associate Vice-President (Research) will serve as interim vice-president until a new vice-president is appointed. As you will know, Walter has provided excellent interim leadership of the portfolio in the past. He has played a key role in the development of the Research and Innovation Strategic Plan, and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition for the portfolio and the research community.

David H. Turpin
President and Vice-Chancellor