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Executive Team

*Designated Public Office Holders for the purposes of the Lobbying Act

B. Mario Pinto
NSERC President

Dr. Pinto received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Queen’s University. He served as Professor, Chair of Chemistry and Vice-President Research at Simon Fraser University (SFU), President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and Vice-Chair of the Chemical Institute of Canada. Dr. Pinto has received numerous awards recognizing the quality and impact of his research, including Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada. He has also established a track record for developing exciting new models of innovation. Successes include: VentureLabs®; Venture Connection®; Zone Start-Ups India, a joint venture between Ryerson University, SFU and the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute; and a partnership between SFU and the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. in hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Dr. Pinto joined the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) as its President in November 2014. At NSERC, he augmented the agency’s dual expertise as an investor in discovery-based research and a broker of successful R&D partnerships with technology-driven enterprises to de-risk promising research. A seamless discovery-innovation bidirectional continuum has resulted. He led efforts to develop a new strategic plan, NSERC 2020. He launched an extensive consultation process for the plan to engage Canada’s diverse research ecosystem and to manage change both within NSERC and the external community. In doing so, Dr. Pinto has taken steps to ensure that NSERC is working effectively as a convenor of stakeholder interests in the natural sciences and engineering. 

Dr. Pinto champions global connectivity to increase the power of the line of sight by embracing diverse perspectives. Dr. Pinto is also a champion of gender equity and inclusion of the two-spirit community in research and innovation. He was elected Chair of the Global Research Council in May 2017.

Dr. Pierre Charest
Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate

Pierre Charest joined NSERC in August 2011 and currently serves as Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate. He previously held the position of Associate Vice-President of Corporate Planning and Policy at NSERC.

Prior to his time at NSERC, Pierre worked at Health Canada, where he was Director General of the Science Policy Directorate. Pierre also held the positions of Associate Vice-President of the Science Branch of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Director General of Health Canada’s Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate and Office of Biotechnology and Science.

Pierre started his career in the public service in 1989 as a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, where he occupied a number of positions with increasing responsibility. He also had appointments as adjunct professor at the University of Victoria and as honorary research associate at the University of New Brunswick.

Before joining NSERC, Pierre served as chair and member of several peer review committees for NSERC, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Genome Canada. He has had a productive research career as author or co-author of 77 scientific publications and presenter of 80 scientific communications and over 25 invited lectures.

Pierre holds a B.Sc.A. and an M.Sc. in Agronomy from Université Laval, graduate certificates in Health System Leadership and Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University, and a Ph. D. in Molecular Biology from Carleton University.

Kevin Fitzgibbons
Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Policy Division

Kevin Fitzgibbons joined NSERC in October 2013. He works to support NSERC’s role in federal science, technology and innovation policy, to drive strategic and integrated planning, and to oversee corporate planning and policy management throughout the organization.

Kevin has over 25 years of experience in the public sector and was previously the Director of Innovation Science and Technology at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development where he oversaw international science, technology and innovation cooperation projects and investments. He has also worked as the Executive Director of the Office of the National Science Advisor, and as a strategic planning and policy advisor with the National Research Council Canada (NRC).

For his significant efforts and contributions in the public service Kevin was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for Public Service in 2002. In addition, while he was with the National Research Council, he was awarded the NRC Corporate Services Award for Excellence in 2002, 1999, and 1997, as well as the NRC Excellence Award for Administration in 2000.

Kevin has a Masters of Political Science from Université de Montréal.

Dr. Marc Fortin
Vice-President, Research Partnerships Directorate

As Vice-President of NSERC’s Research Partnerships Directorate, Dr. Fortin is responsible for a range of programs designed to stimulate research partnerships across a broad range of organizations and to maximize the benefits that university and college research provides to Canada.

Prior to joining NSERC, Marc held a variety of positions leading research organizations in both academia and government. For 16 years he held senior leadership positions at McGill University including Department Chair and Associate Dean (Research). For the past 11 years he led the science and technology branches as Assistant Deputy Minister at the Department of National Defence and previously at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Marc was trained as a molecular geneticist, with a B.Sc. in Plant Science and M.Sc. in Plant Virology from Université Laval and a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from McGill University. He also underwent Post-doctoral training in Molecular Genetics at the University of California and University of Chicago.

Alfred LeBlanc
Vice-President, Communications, Corporate and International Affairs Directorate

Alfred LeBlanc took on the role of Vice-President of the Communications, Corporate and International Affairs Directorate in January 2016.

Before joining NSERC, Alfred served as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations at the Privy Council Office (PCO). Prior to his position at PCO, he played a crucial role within the Department of Finance as the Director of the Federal Provincial Relations Division. He also spent two years as the Director General of Strategic Policy at Industry Canada (now known as Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada).

Alfred also served as the Deputy Editorial Page Editor of The Financial Post and then editor of the Institute for Research on Public Policy’s Policy Options.

He grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and completed his undergraduate degree in political science at St. Francis Xavier University. He holds a Master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University as well as a graduate degree in politics and economics from Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.

He is married to Jean Scott. Together, they have two daughters – Sophie and Leah.

Jean Saint-Vil
Associate Vice-President, NCE

As Associate Vice-President, NCE, Jean plays a vital role in managing and refreshing the NCE suite of programs by working closely with all three agencies: NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC. Jean brings his knowledge of the Canadian and international science and technology environment, his hands-on experience with Canadian government operations, priorities and strategies, his strong networking skills and ability to structure and manage complex partnerships involving a wide range of players; as well as his strong analytical, writing, and communication skills to bear. He has over 23 years of experience working with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Since September 2010, in his capacity as Director of Policy and International Relations, he worked closely with the President and Senior Management at NSERC, providing strategic leadership and advice on policy development and international outreach. Prior to this, over a span of 11 years, he worked in the Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat in various positions. In his capacity as Deputy Director he was in charge of launching the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.

Patricia Sauvé-McCuan
Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President
Common Administrative Services Directorate (CASD)

Patricia Sauvé-McCuan joined NSERC in March 2016 as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President of the Common Administrative Services Directorate (CASD). She works to support both NSERC and SSHRC in the delivery of human resources, finance and awards administration, and information and innovation solutions. As the lead CASD executive, Patricia supports the accountabilities of the presidents by ensuring CASD’s effectiveness as a strategic partner, business enabler and service provider. 

Prior to joining NSERC and SSHRC, Patricia was the Assistant Comptroller General with the Financial Management Transformation Sector of the Government of Canada where she was appointed to lead the Financial Management Transformation Project on behalf of the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada. In other previous appointments, she was responsible for the future direction of Financial Management and Grants and Contributions in the Chief Information Officer Branch at the Treasury Board Secretariat, and was the Chief Information Officer at the Department of National Defence.   

Patricia holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa.