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Governance of Food from Thought

Steering Committee

Food from Thought is governed by a Steering Committee that oversees the operational strategies and work plans concerning Research and Research Administration, Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization programs, Agri-food Research Data Strategy, and the Training and Development of Highly Qualified Personnel. The Committee reviews annual and longer-term progress and outcomes in relation to Food from Thought objectives and performance monitoring plans, ensuring the University meets its commitments to CFREF.  

The Steering Committee also provides advice regarding strategic partnerships, commercialization and technology transfer, and other research opportunities.

The Steering Committee meets regularly throughout the year (approximately every two weeks) to provide strategic guidance to the Project Director and the operations team. The Committee is also responsible for appointing the Scientific Director and approving the Project Director. Together, they implement the strategic plan and move Food from Thought towards achieving the vision and mission. 

The Scientific Director, Dr. Evan Fraser, is a permanent voting Steering Committee member who provides scientific leadership and acts as the Institute’s principal administrator. The Project Director, Melissa Watkins, is the senior executive administrator for Food from Thought and oversees all strategic and corporate affairs.

The Food from Thought Steering Committee is chaired by the Vice-President (Research). It is comprised of senior leaders in the Office of the Vice President of Research at the University of Guelph, including:

  1. Dr. Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research) 
  2. Dr. Evan Fraser, Scientific Director, Food from Thought; Professor; Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security; Director, Arrell Food Institute
  3. Karina McInnis, Associate Vice-President Research Services
  4. Dr. Beverley Hale, Associate Vice-President Research (Agri-Food Partnership)
  5. Dr. John Livernois, Interim Executive Director, Research Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization

International Scientific Advisory Council

The University of Guelph Vice-President, Research (VPR), and the Food from Thought Scientific Director rely on an International Scientific Advisory Council (ISAC) to provide strategic oversight and advice on Food from Thought’s core research programs. ISAC members collectively have broad and strong connections to and understanding of international scientific advancements in agri-food to provide advice and input on national and global research trends relevant to Food from Thought. ISAC helps to identify opportunities and priorities for the development and evolution of the Food from Thought scientific strategy and provides expert review of research proposals, work plans, and results from the perspective of strategic relevancy and scientific excellence.

The Food from Thought ISAC reports to the University of Guelph Vice-President, Research. It provides recommendations to the University of Guelph Vice-President, Research, the Food from ThoughtScientific Director, and the Food from Thought Strategic Advisory Board via the Food from Thought Steering Committee. The final decision-making authority of Food from Thought-funded research and grant allocations rests with the University of Guelph Vice-President, Research, and the University of Guelph.

Meet the Council

Strategic Advisory Board

The Steering Committee relies on a Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) to provide strategic oversight and advice on the research, innovation, training, and operational components of Food from Thought. The SAB also supports the creation of extensive strategic collaborations in the agri-food and biodiversity space that leverage the capacity created by Food from Thought and helps ensure that Food from Thought strategic priorities are aligned with government and industry priorities.

The final decision-making authority of Food from Thought strategic direction and grant allocations rests with the Vice-President, Research, and the University of Guelph.

Membership consists of a minimum of five experts in renewable two-year terms, drawn from leaders in industry, government, and philanthropic organizations who are supporting the Food from Thought program. 

The membership of the Food from Thought Strategic Advisory Board includes: 

  1. Ian Gordon, Senior Vice-President, Loblaw Companies Limited
  2. Rory McAlpine, Senior Vice-President, Government and Industry Relations, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
  3. France Pégeot, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  4. Javier Gracia-Garza, Director General, Ontario-Quebec Region, Science and Technology Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  5. Dan Sinai, Senior Innovation Leader, Executive Director, Canada Research and Development Centre, IBM Canada Limited (retired 2020); [Interim] Kerri Moreno, Client Manager Higher Education IBM Canada
  6. Christine Primeau, CEO and Assistant Deputy Minister, Research and Corporate Services Division, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (retired 2020)
  7. Shelley King, CEO, Natural Products Canada (joined 2020)