Dugan O'Neil was born in Miramichi, New Brunswick, obtained a BSc. at the University of New Brunswick, an MSc. at the University of Alberta and PhD in physics at the University of Victoria. As a professor of physics at Simon Fraser University, his research has focused on the search for new particles and interactions at high energy particle colliders at Fermilab and CERN. From single top quarks to Higgs bosons, his contributions have tended to focus on the "big data" problem of extraction of small signals from large backgrounds.
In addition to his work as a particle physicist, O'Neil has played a leadership role in building Canada's Digital Research Infrastructure, through work with WestGrid and Compute Canada. This includes spending three years (2014-2017) as Compute Canada's Chief Science Officer. At SFU, he has served as principal investigator of the institution's advanced research computing efforts since 2010. SFU has recently built Supercomputer Cedar, one of Canada's most powerful academic supercomputers. O’Neil served as SFU’s Associate Vice-President, Research from 2017-2020.
As SFU's Vice-President, Research and International pro tem O'Neil leads SFU’s strategic research initiatives and facilitates international opportunities that foster research collaborations and student exchange. His work focuses on facilitating research excellence and helping the university respond to new opportunities. He works with members of SFU’s eight faculties to ensure they have the support and resources required to conduct excellent cutting-edge research in all its forms. Building on his long-standing leadership and research experience, he works with faculty, students and staff to secure research partnerships within the community and industry.
A key element of O'Neil’s role focuses on knowledge mobilization by facilitating opportunities to transfer the results of SFU research to society. This collaborative role allows for an interplay between research and innovation to enhance social, economic and environmental wellbeing.
Together with the AVPR (pro tem), O'Neil works to raise SFU’s research profile to an internationally competitive level.