After months of public search, Ontario has announced the appointment of Dr Molly Shoichet as its first chief scientist who will advise the provincial premier on science and innovation policy based on scientific evidence.
Shoichet, a biomedical scientist with the Univ of Toronto, will report directly to Ontario minister of Research, Innovation and Science, Reza Moridi, who made the announcement November 17 at the Canadian Club of Toronto. Moridi said Dr Shoichet will advance science and innovation in the province and put the province on the global science map. A member of the Order of Ontario and internationally renowned in science circles, Shoichet is expected to develop the province’s strategic research agenda and help explain science to the public.
Shoichet is an award-winning expert in the study of polymers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. In 1995, she joined the Univ of Toronto where she is professor of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, Chemistry, and Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering. She currently holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering.
She is the only person ever to be inducted into all three of Canada’s National Academies: the Canadian Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She was named the North American Laureate for the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award in 2015, and in 2017, she won the Killam Prize in Engineering, the most important engineering prize in Canada.
The search for the province’s chief scientist started almost a year ago with stakeholder meetings and online consultations happening from winter 2016 to spring 2017. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the government’s intention to recruit a chief science advisor in June 2016. During the public consultations for the position, the government changed its title to chief scientist as it “better reflects the advisory nature and key functions of the position.”
Dr Shoichet joins Quebec as the only two provinces with a chief scientist or science advisor. Dr Rémi Quirion was appointed chief scientist of Quebec in 2011.