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Ingrid Pickering has been appointed chair of the board of directors at the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

U of S researcher Ingrid Pickering named CFI board chair

University of Saskatchewan (U of S) researcher Ingrid Pickering has been appointed chair of the board of directors at the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), an independent organization that invests in leading-edge infrastructure that researchers across Canada need to advance research and innovation.

Pickering, a professor in the U of S Department of Geological Sciences and Canada Research Chair in molecular environmental science, has served on the CFI board since 2013 and is the first woman to be appointed as chair. Pickering is also acting vice-dean of research, scholarly and artistic work, in the College of Arts and Science. She will hold the three-year CFI post concurrently with her U of S appointments.

“Ingrid Pickering’s appointment to the prestigious role attests to her fabulous qualities of leadership,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad. “Given her role as a Canada Research Chair, and her board experience with CFI and international advisory panels, she will provide strong leadership to CFI in delivering on the renewed federal commitment to supporting high quality research facilities across Canada."

CFI has a mandate to ensure researchers in universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations have the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment they need to push scientific boundaries and conduct world-class research.

“I am absolutely honoured by the appointment and for the opportunity to serve Canada,” said Pickering. “I have benefited greatly from being a researcher in Canada at USask and from CFI investments supporting my research. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back by helping shape the future of research in our country.”

In its 2018 budget, the federal government announced a commitment of $763 million over five years for CFI, and proposed it would establish permanent CFI funding of $462 million annually by 2023-24.

“Stable funding gives CFI an opportunity to really design for the future in terms of programs and direction,” said Pickering. “There is tremendous potential to connect people and build research strength in Canada, both across disciplines and between different organizations, by working collaboratively through shared infrastructure.”

Pickering’s research uses and develops synchrotron-based techniques to study the role heavier elements play in biological systems at the molecular level, and the impact these elements have on the environment and human health. 

She came to the U of S in 2003 bringing international experience, with degrees from Cambridge and London in the United Kingdom, and appointments in the United States in industry and at a national laboratory.

Kirsty Duncan, federal Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced Pickering’s appointment Wednesday in Ottawa. 

“By promoting women in science and in leadership, Canada will be better positioned to be a world leader in research and innovation. The Government of Canada believes that diversity is our strength and we all benefit from seeing that diversity reflected on boards and in our institutions,” said Duncan. 

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