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Canada’s New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization Names Inaugural Researcher Council

NOTE: An NDRIO Researcher Council Fact Sheet is available to accompany this release.

Ottawa, ON (September 24, 2020) – The New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) is pleased to announce the selection of 22 multi-disciplinary researchers to its first Researcher Council. The NDRIO Researcher Council is a critical component of NDRIO’s commitment to involve the research community as it designs and delivers a new service delivery model to support Canada’s national Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) Strategy.

“On behalf of the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization’s Board of Directors, I would like to welcome and congratulate the inaugural members of the NDRIO Researcher Council,” says Janet Davidson, OC, NDRIO Board Chair. “This impressive group is composed of strategic thinkers and visionaries who represent years of diverse research experience and expertise in advanced research computing, research software and data management. The contributions of this researcher-led group will be invaluable to the NDRIO Board and management as we work together on our researcher needs assessment, NDRIO’s first strategic plan and the growth of NDRIO.”

After a recent open call for nominations from NDRIO’s Primary Members and independent applications, as well as a targeted recruitment campaign, a selection committee of the NDRIO Researcher Advisory Group recommended candidates to the NDRIO Board of Directors for approval.

Guillaume Bourque of McGill University, and Chair of the NDRIO Researcher Advisory Group, has been appointed Interim Chair of the Researcher Council by the Board of Directors for a six-month term. “Dr. Guillaume Bourque has been selected to provide the necessary leadership required for the newly formed Council to meet its priorities,” says Davidson. “In March 2021, the Researcher Council will elect its own Chair from within the membership. We would like to thank Dr. Bourque for his continued stewardship and ongoing service to the Canadian research community.”

The 22 members of the Researcher Council are as follows:

  • Guillaume Bourque, McGill University
  • Karen Bakker, University of British Columbia
  • Girma Bitsuamlak, Western University
  • Bruno Blais, Polytechnique Montréal
  • Susan Brown, University of Guelph
  • Carolyn Côté-Lussier, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique
  • Constance Crompton, University of Ottawa
  • Carl D’Arcy, University of Saskatchewan
  • Rebecca Davis, University of Manitoba
  • Philippe Després, Université Laval
  • Erin Dickie, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Benoît Dupont, Université de Montréal
  • Laura Estill, St. Francis Xavier University
  • Benjamin Fung, McGill University
  • Anne Martel, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Erika Merschrod, Memorial University
  • Marie-Jean Meurs, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Rebecca Pillai Riddell, York University
  • Erik Rosolowsky, University of Alberta
  • Pekka Sinervo, University of Toronto
  • Randall Sobie, University of Victoria
  • Amol Verma, Unity Health Toronto

NDRIO’s outreach efforts resulted in a strong pool of 137 candidates, 117 of whom were nominated by NDRIO’s Primary Members. “We are pleased with the calibre of the first Researcher Council, including its diversity in research discipline, geography, language, gender and career stage,” says Davidson. “Principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion were considered throughout the selection process. The Researcher Council is a work in progress, with an ongoing focus to ensure that its membership and the work of NDRIO truly reflect the diversity of Canada’s research enterprise.”

Per the NDRIO Researcher Council Final Governance Model, which is based on an extensive consultation process and community feedback, Researcher Council members will serve terms of up to three years with a maximum of two terms, subject to renewal after one year. The group will focus its efforts to:

  • Ensure that a diversity of researcher voices is represented to the NDRIO Board, providing strategic advice to the Board on researcher needs.
  • Work with NDRIO management at the operational level to develop a researcher needs assessment to ensure that researchers’ priority needs inform strategic plans, activities and work planning.
  • Develop processes to engage researchers across disciplines to identify, synthesize and validate current and future priorities. Identification of needs includes prioritization of those needs in situations of limited resources. The Researcher Council will undertake research community outreach activities to better understand national DRI needs.
  • Establish a culture of service to, and engagement with, researchers.

The first meeting of the Researcher Council is expected to take place in early October 2020. “The Researcher Council has a number of priority tasks to undertake, including finalizing its Terms of Reference, the development of a work plan and the delivery of the researcher needs assessment,” says Guillaume Bourque, Interim Chair of the Researcher Council. “The researcher needs assessment is a critical component of NDRIO’s first strategic plan, and will be based on significant outreach and consultations with the researcher community.”

Applicants who were not selected will have the opportunity to serve on working groups. “I would like to thank the Researcher Advisory Group, our Primary Members who nominated candidates and all applicants,” says Davidson. “We were inspired by the calibre of individuals who expressed interest in joining the Researcher Council.”


ABOUT NDRIO: The New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that supports a researcher-focused, accountable, agile, strategic and sustainable Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem. Established in 2019, NDRIO works with partners and stakeholders across Canada to give scholars and scientists the digital tools, support, services and infrastructure they need to conduct leading-edge research that benefits society and competes globally.

NDRIO is funded by the Government of Canada through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada via the Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) Strategy. NDRIO’s membership is composed of more than 140 of Canada’s top universities, colleges, research hospitals and institutes, and other leading organizations in the DRI space.

Media Contact:
Heather MacLean
Communications Advisor