New leaders to support SFU researchers and innovators

May 26, 2022

Simon Fraser University (SFU) will continue to build upon its international reputation for research excellence and innovation programming with two appointments in the Office of the Vice-President Research and International (VPRI).

On July 1, 2022, SFU Archaeology Professor and Canada Research Chair in Archaeological Science Michael Richards will join the portfolio as Associate Vice-President, Research (AVPR). On the same date, SFU’s Special Advisor on Innovation to the VPRI, Elicia Maine will take on the permanent, inaugural role of AVP of Knowledge Mobilization and Innovation (AVPKMI).

Archaeology professor and RSC Fellow Michael Richards becomes the Associate Vice-President, Research on July 1, 2022.

Richards takes over from Angela Brooks-Wilson, who has excelled in the role pro-tem for the past year and half. SFU is thankful for Brooks-Wilson’s leadership and is fortunate that she will continue to be a valuable part of the SFU research community.

Richards is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (the highest academic honour in the country), a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Wellcome Trust University Award holder. He has served as professor at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, at the Universities of Durham and Bradford in the U.K., and at the University of British Columbia.

His research interests include the evolution of human diets over time, and employing methods such as isotopic analysis to determine past human and animal diets and adaptations. His research group works in many areas of the world and in many different time periods, including collaborations with B.C. First Nations and with the B.C. Coroner.

Richards shares how his position as AVPR will support the SFU research community.

He explains, “I have spent much of my career in research positions in Canada and Europe and I hope to bring that experience to this role to help enhance SFU’s already excellent research profile. I am particularly hoping to be able to help researchers with their research grants, and also increase and support SFU’s community and industry research partnerships. I also look forward to working with researchers on better understanding and recognizing non-traditional research at SFU.”

Maine is the W.J. VanDusen Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, the Founder and Academic Director for SFU Beedie’s Invention to Innovation (i2I) program in Science and Technology Commercialization, and the national Mitacs i2I skills training program. She is an international expert on innovation and entrepreneurship and oversees the ongoing development of a robust innovation ecosystem at SFU.

W.J. VanDusen Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Elicia Maine is the new Associate Vice-President of Knowledge Mobilization and Innovation.

The AVPKMI is a new position at SFU that will provide strategic oversight and champion the many initiatives and support services that are mobilizing knowledge created by SFU faculty, students and staff. Maine will oversee several university-wide strategic initiatives, programs and units including: SFU InnovatesSFU VentureLabs; the Community-Engaged Research initiativeSFU Knowledge Mobilization; the Technology Licensing Office; and ACT – Action on Climate Team.

“SFU attracts and develops researchers who care about making impact from their research,” says Maine. “Many of our faculty and students engage deeply with the communities we research. Most of us mobilize our research output in a variety of ways. Some knowledge mobilization and innovation pathways we aim to better support include: influencing policy change; informing the design of more resilient and low carbon communities; founding well-endowed science-based ventures tackling societal needs; and enhancing the regional and national innovation ecosystems.”

The AVPR and AVPKMI’s primary responsibilities include facilitating the implementation of the next Strategic Research Plan and ensuring SFU researchers—and other members of the research community—have the services, resources and support needed to implement their work, programs and achieve research growth.

Maine and Richards are well-positioned to help develop and deliver strategies to make meaningful impact across the communities we serve.

Learn more about SFU’s strategic research initiatives.