A renowned expert in research and innovation policy who has forged close collaborations between universities, civil society and business has been appointed the 13th president and vice chancellor of the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Arvind Gupta is currently chief executive officer and scientific director of Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization recognized internationally for nurturing the next generation of research and business-savvy innovators. Gupta succeeds Professor Stephen Toope, who completes his eight years’ service on June 30. Gupta will become president on July 1 for a five-year term, while retaining his position at UBC as professor of computer science.
The UBC Board of Governors made the appointment following an international search by a 22-member committee comprising faculty, staff, students, alumni, senate and board members from UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, and chaired by UBC Chancellor Sarah Morgan-Silvester.
“The opportunity to lead one of the world’s great universities attracted outstanding candidates, but Dr. Arvind Gupta clearly stood out as the best choice to lead this great university,” said Board Chair John Montalbano. “The Board will provide its full support to Dr. Gupta as he guides UBC in its pursuit of excellence, so that we may better serve the people of British Columbia, Canada and the world.”
“I was delighted to hear Dr. Gupta will be succeeding me,” said Stephen Toope. “In him, UBC has found a leader with rare attributes: critical thinking, inspiring vision and the courage to chart a bold course.”
Gupta will be UBC’s 13th president and vice chancellor since 1913, when Frank Wesbrook first held the position. UBC has grown to more than 58,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, with an annual budget of $2.2 billion and an estimated $12.7 billion annual contribution to the B.C. economy.
“As a member of the UBC community, I know how great a responsibility and honour this is,” said Gupta. “I have the privilege of taking the baton from Professor Toope who has guided UBC to a strong position. We have exciting days ahead and I relish the opportunity.”
DR. Gupta is the CEO and scientific director of Mitacs, a national organization with headquarters at UBC, which he has led since 2000. He has been a UBC professor of computer science since 2009.
He is a respected expert in science and innovation policy who has forged meaningful research collaborations between civil society and universities. His research expertise is in combinatorial algorithms with applications to fields such as bioinformatics, which utilizes computer science to better understand genetics.
Since 2012, he has been a member of the Government of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council, an advisory body that provides external policy advice on science and technology issues and produces national reports measuring Canada’s science and technology performance against international standards of excellence.
In 2010, Gupta was appointed to a six-member expert panel to review federal government support to industrial research and development. The report and recommendations of that panel, entitled Innovation Canada: A Call to Action, have had a significant and ongoing impact on government innovation policy.
Gupta speaks frequently on research and innovation policy across Canada with public, private and academic audiences. He is a regular contributor to the national dialogue through opinion editorials on international collaboration and recruitment, international competitiveness, innovation and productivity.
Gupta earned a PhD from the University of Toronto in 1991. He sits on a number of boards, including the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, the Banff International Research Station, the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute, the Canadian Mining Innovation Council, Mprime Network and Mitacs, as well as serving on the International Scientific Advisory Board of GRAND-NCE, a federally funded body exploring the applications of digital media.
Arvind Gupta resides in Vancouver with his wife Dr. Michelle Pereira. He has three daughters, two of whom are students at UBC.
ADVANCED Education Minister Amrik Virk said: “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the selection of Dr. Arvind Gupta as the new president of UBC.
“I look forward to continuing to work with UBC in providing a world-class education to thousands of students, and I would like to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of Professor Stephen Toope during his years at UBC.
“Dr. Gupta is well regarded in academic, private and public sectors. His recent work at Mitacs – partnering with government and pairing academia with industry in the pursuit of commercialization and knowledge transfer – has been very positive for local industries, universities and especially for students. I trust that he will bring the visionary leadership and management required to lead a large, complex organization such as UBC.
“UBC is a globally ranked, research university, consistently among the top 40 in the world. UBC also is one of the largest universities in Canada – with more than 58,000 students and more than 15,000 faculty and staff at UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.”