New bets and old favourites: Creating a recipe for success in the innovation economy

National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Have you booked your hotel yet? The last day to get our special rate at the historic Lord Elgin hotel is this Saturday March 16, 2019.
See below for details.


16-17 April 2019  |  National Arts Centre  |  Ottawa, ON

Does Canada have the right policy ingredients to build a prosperous future based on innovation in the knowledge economy? Smart and generous investments in research have built a strong talent base that is attracting international attention from multinational firms. Yet efforts to diversify our economy to include more globally competitive firms in knowledge-based and R&D-intensive industry sectors have yielded disappointing results for decades. Our challenge is to figure out how to maintain our research and talent strength while adding new policies and programs to accelerate firm growth and increase the number of large Canadian-owned multinationals.

The federal government has recently implemented a number of major initiatives to try to kickstart this process and galvanize Canada’s innovation ecosystem, including the six Economic Strategy Tables, Innovation Canada and Impact Canada, the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, the Accelerated Growth Service and the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative. A new skills strategy is in the works to address the critical need for talent. Policies around equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout the innovation ecosystem promise to expand Canada’s talent pipeline.

By engaging business leaders more effectively and focusing on industry sectors where Canada has strengths, the policy community is aiming to ramp up the country’s innovation economy. At the same time, investments in basic and applied research, with added incentives for EDI, multidisciplinary research, industry-academic collaboration and international linkages are designed to maintain Canada’s talent strength.

With an election less than a year away, people are assessing the government’s record and the innovation community is no exception. The 18th annual conference will bring together business, finance, government and academic leaders involved in these initiatives and related ones to assess their potential for building a strong economy and continuing prosperity and high quality of life for Canadians.

What to Expect

  • High profile speakers including business leaders from some of Canada’s fastest growing tech firms, senior government policy makers and leading academics and innovation thought leaders
  • Over 50 panelists and speakers working on the forefront of innovation in Canada
  • Displays from prominent members of the innovation community
  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • Attendees generally include executives and program managers from all levels of government, CEOs, entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, research and commercialization leaders from universities and colleges across Canada, and a variety of other representatives from industry, investment, academia, government and intermediaries


Special Hotel Rates

Get great conference rates at the Lord Elgin Hotel, located across the street from the National Arts Centre. Rates are available until March 16, 2019.

Please book rooms via e-mail, or call 1-800-267-4298.  Make sure to mention Research Money Conference when calling or e-mailing.

Special Rate for Subscribers

We love our subscribers and are happy, as always, to offer them a discount to attend the conference. This year’s discount is $100!* Email for your code.


The RE$EARCH MONEY Conference is an excellent opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship, business and innovation to hear from and network with prominent members of Canada’s innovation community. We are offering a special conference rate for students of only $250+tax, which includes our three-course dinner on the evening of April 16th, 2019.


Please note that the National Arts Centre is a fully accessible venue. If you have any requirements that would help you access the full conference experience, please let us known at and we will do our best to accommodate your request.



*Only applies to a single full conference registration. Cannot be combined with other discount codes or special offers.

Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators include

Anil Arora

Chief Statistician of Canada
Anil Arora

Anil Arora was appointed Chief Statistician of Canada in September 2016.

Mr. Arora has led significant transformational initiatives throughout his career, with experience and partnerships spanning all three levels of government, the private sector and international organizations, including the UN and the OECD. He has led projects on high-profile policy issues, legislative and regulatory reform, and overseen large national programs.

In 1988, Mr. Arora joined Statistics Canada where he served in several positions, including regional operations, corporate services and the redesign of the dissemination function. In 2000, he became Director of Census Management Office and subsequently the Director General responsible for all aspects of the 2006 Census. In this role, Mr. Arora led the most comprehensive redesign of the Program, including the introduction of an online questionnaire. Following the successful delivery of the 2006 Census he became the Assistant Chief Statistician of Social, Health and Labour Statistics from 2008 to 2010.

In 2009, Mr. Arora received the prestigious APEX Leadership Award in recognition of his exceptional leadership skills and management excellence.

In 2010, Mr. Arora joined Natural Resources Canada as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Minerals and Metals Sector, and in 2013 was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of Science and Policy Integration. He moved to Health Canada in 2014, becoming Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Products and Food Branch and leading a complex organization overseeing regulation of food, drug and health products for Canada. He also served as chair of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities.

Mr. Arora attended the University of Alberta, where he earned a Bachelor of Science, followed by further education in computing science and management, including a graduate certificate in Advanced Public Sector Management at the University of Ottawa, and the Advanced Leadership Program at the Canada School of Public Service.

Rhonda Barnet

President & Chief Operating Officer, AVIT Manufacturing
Rhonda Barnet

Rhonda Barnet is the President & Chief Operating Officer of AVIT Manufacturing (a division of Steelworks Design), an engineering and custom automation firm co-founded with her husband, Don Barnet.

An ardent supporter of Canadian Manufacturing and Exporting, Rhonda was appointed the first female Chair in history of the National Board of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (2016-2018).  She maintains an active schedule of government and industry engagements, including functions in Germany, Holland, China, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Further appointments include the Federal Advanced Manufacturing Strategy Council and most recently, Board Member of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, one of the 5 Canadian Super Clusters to deliver $950M of federal innovation funds.  Rhonda currently serves CME in the role of Past Chair and newly appointed as the Chair of The Workforce of the Future.  In 2018 Rhonda launched CME’s “We Can Do It” Campaign, an initiative funded by the federal government to add 100,000 women to the manufacturing workforce over the next five years.  Rhonda is a regular spokeswoman on diversity, women in manufacturing, skills and the future workforce.

Rhonda believes in the value of mentorship and upholds the philosophy “If you can see me, you can be me”.

Julien Billot


Bio coming soon.

Dan Wayner

Science Advisor & Chief Science Officer, National Research Council (NRC)

Bio coming soon.

Paul Dufour

Senior fellow, University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy and Principal, PaulicyWorks
Paul Dufour

Paul Dufour was educated in science policy and history of science and technology at McGill, Concordia and Université de Montréal. He is senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science,
Society and Policy and Principal of PaulicyWorks, a science and technology policy consulting firm based in Gatineau, Quebec.

Paul had over 40 years of experience working directly with scienc policy agencies, ministries, media and politicians of all stripes. In addition to publishing and speaking extensively in science policy
academic circles, he has been writing regularly for science and public policy magazines.

He is co-editor with Jeff Kinder of the 2018 book, A Lantern on the Bow: A History of the Science Council of Canada and Its Contributions to the Science and Innovation Policy Debate; and co edited with Agnes Herzberg, the 2019 book, The Value of Science in Society and Culture: Selections from the Speeches, Essays and Articles of G. Herzberg Paul is on the Board of the graduate student Science and Policy Exchange based in Montréal.

Dave Dzisiak

Commercial Leader Grains & Oils, North America, Corteva Agriscience

Bio coming soon.

Eric Fournier

Director General S&T Strategic Decision Support, Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)
Eric Fournier

Mr. Fournier is presently the Director General (Science & Technology) for Strategic Decision Support.  He is a Scientific Advisor to the Department of National Defence and to the Canadian Armed Forces. His role is to provide analysis support on policy and strategy, and enterprise resource management to the department.

Eric began his career with Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) as a Defence Scientist in the Flight Mechanics Group of the Precision Weapons Section at the Valcartier laboratory in August 1992. He spent most of his scientific career in that establishment, where he held a number of positions in the Weapons field of study. He also spent one year at the United Kingdom DERA Fort Halstead laboratory as an exchange scientist in the late ninety’s.

In May 2006, he was appointed Director, Science & Technology Air, in Ottawa, where he managed the Air Force S&T Program portfolio. As part of his duties, he also served as National Representative on the Aerospace Systems group (AER) in The Technical Cooperation Program. From September 2008 to July 2009, he moved to the Canadian Forces College in Toronto where he completed the National Security Program 1 (NSP-1).

Upon his return to Ottawa, he was appointedDirector of Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA), and was responsible for the delivery of a Science and Technology program in the areas of operational research, strategic analysis, and scientific and technical intelligence.

In 2014, Mr. Fournier took up the position of Defence R&D Counsellor at CDLS (London) where he was responsible for liaison in defence Science and Technology between Canada and the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Upon returning to Canada in July 2017, he was appointed DG for Strategic Decision Support, and also selected to develop and lead the implementation of the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) initiative.

Marie Franquin

Ph.D. student, Neuroscience, McGill University; VP Administration, Science & Policy Exchange

Marie Franquin is a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at McGill University since 2014. For several years she has been passionate about understanding early features of neurodegenerative disorders and exploring different types of modeling that could help understand them better.

She completed her undergraduate degree in Paris University Pierre et Marie Curie where she studied life sciences. She then settled in the United Kingdom at University College London for her Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences and finally moved to Montreal to pursue her doctoral degree. From bacteria to brains her curriculum allowed her to get a broad insight into biological sciences.

Through teaching and outreach experiences, Marie has developed a strong passion for science communication. In particular she helped set up the first Convergence Initiative cohort, a neuroscience and art program between Concordia and McGill Universities. This summer she also co-organized a McGill University-based summer workshop to introduce graduate students to the written art of science communication called Spell your Science.

Finally, Marie has also been involved in science policy through volunteering with the registered charity Science & Policy Exchange. There she has expanded her knowledge to the world of politics and policy-making and now acts as the co-president of the SPE since January 2019.

Chelsea Gabel

Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement, and Innovation, McMaster University

Sarah Gallagher

Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Western University, Science Advisor to the President of the Canadian Space Agency

Tina Green

ADM, Health Canada

Bio coming soon.

Bill Greuel

CEO, Protein Industries Canada

Bio coming soon.

Karen Hamberg

Vice-Present, Government Relations, Westport
Karen Hamberg

Ms. Hamberg joined Westport in 2001 and was appointed Vice President, Strategy in 2012 and Vice-Present, Government Relations in 2017. Westport Fuel Systems engineers, manufactures, and supplies advanced clean-burning engines, systems, and components that enable the deployment of low-carbon fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and renewable natural gas (RNG).  Headquartered in Vancouver, Westport Fuel Systems serves customers in more than 70 countries with leading global transportation brands.

Karen is the Chair of the Board of Directors of CALSTART in Pasadena, California, the nation’s largest non-profit, member-driven coalition accelerating the growth of a clean transportation technologies industry.

She was named to Canada’s Clean 50™ in 2017 for her contributions to advance sustainability in the transportation sector and to Canada’s Clean 16TM in September 2018 for her work on enacting stringent clean transportation regulatory frameworks.  She was a member of the Government of Canada’s Economic Strategy Table on Clean Technology and championed the Table’s work streams on regulatory agility and building a diverse and inclusive clean technology sector.

Ms. Hamberg holds a Master of Arts degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba.

An active volunteer, Karen is also Chair of the United Way of the Lower Mainland’s 2019 Campaign Cabinet, a group of business executives tasked with raising millions of dollars for critical social programs in metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Nancy Hamzawi

Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology at Environment and Climate Change Canada

Bio coming soon.

Ted Hewitt

President, SSHRC

Coming soon

Neal Hill

Vice President, Market Development, BDC Capital
Neal Hill

Neal Hill is Vice President, Market Development, in the BDC Capital division of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). His primary responsibilities are to manage BDC Capital’s position as lead investor in the Government of Canada’s $1.4 billion Venture Capital Action Plan, and to collaborate with other stakeholders in improving the supply and efficient flow of capital into Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Neal has more than 30 years of experience in technology management and marketing, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions in Canada and the U.S. Prior to joining BDC, he was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, for Cognos Incorporated, the Ottawa-based $1 billion worldwide leader in business intelligence and performance management software, now a unit of IBM. In earlier chapters of his career, Neal was Managing Director of a Boston-based venture capital firm, as well as a co-founder of 3 start-ups. He has also served on the boards of over 20 early-stage companies in Canada and the U.S.

Neal attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Physics and Political Science.

Janet King

Associate Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Janet King

Dr. Janet King was appointed Associate Deputy Minister at PSPC on August 13, 2018. In this role Dr. King is responsible for leading the renewal of federal science infrastructure.

Prior to this appointment Janet was President of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), contributing to economic development across Canada’s three northern territories. Before that Janet was Assistant Deputy Minister of the Northern Affairs Organization at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, where she led work to devolve northern lands and resource governance, and to establish the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. Since 2015 Janet has been Member of the Board of Directors for Polar Knowledge Canada, a federal agency dedicated to polar science and knowledge of the Arctic.

In previous years Janet served as Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy and Strategic Direction at Western Economic Diversification, and held diverse positions in policy development, regulations and operations in Industry Canada, Health Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

Janet joined the federal public service in 1985 as a research scientist. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science and a PhD from Queen’s, all in the field of geology.

Stefan Leslie

Executive Director, Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR)
Stefan Leslie

Stefan is the Executive Director of the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  MEOPAR funds interdisciplinary academic research that builds Canada’s capacity to anticipate and respond to marine risk, develops highly qualified personnel with expertise in marine risk and response, and connects academic research and technology to national and international partners in government, industry, and the public sector.  In December 2018, MEOPAR launched the Fathom Fund, a unique research funding mechanism that blends grants with crowdfunding.  Previous positions include Regional Director, Fisheries Management for Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Halifax; Manager, Deepwater Fisheries for the New Zealand government, and; Chief, Economic Analysis, Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Ottawa.  He holds a Masters of Marine Management (Dalhousie University).

Kendra MacDonald

CEO, Ocean Supercluster
Kendra MacDonald

Kendra MacDonald is the inaugural CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster responsible for driving innovation and growth in the ocean economy.

Kendra was previously a Partner in Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice and the Chief Audit Executive of Deloitte Global. Kendra has worked with a number of clients across multiple industries, small and large, public and private in the areas of governance, risk management, cyber security, internal and external audit.

Kendra is a frequent speaker and facilitator on the topics of innovation, future of work and disruptive technologies and is currently the Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries.

Kendra has had the opportunity to live and work in Ottawa, Montreal, Australia and Hong Kong before moving to St. John’s in 2010 where she now resides with her husband and two children.

Audrey Mascarenhas

President and CEO, Questor
Audrey Mascarenhas

Audrey Mascarenhas has worked in energy for over 35 years with Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. and Questor Technology Inc. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers. Audrey served as a distinguished lecturer with the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 2010/2011. She is a member of the Schulich Industry Engineering Advisory Council and currently chairs the Canadian federal government clean technology strategy table. Audrey was the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 Prairies Award for Cleantech and Environmental Services and received a national citation for Values-Based Innovation. She was chosen by Business in Calgary as a 2014 Leaders of Tomorrow, is a 2014 Board Diversity 50 cohort and one of Canada’s 2017 Clean50. Audrey is a fellow of the Energy Futures Lab, co-chairs the Governor General’s Innovation Awards assessment committee and Questor was recently recognized by the Cleantech Innovation exchange (CIX) as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Cleantech Canadian Companies.

Graeme Moffat

Chief Scientist & VP Regulatory Affairs, Interaxon

Bio coming soon.

Jayson Myers

CEO, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada
Jayson Myers

Jayson Myers is the Chief Executive Officer of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, an industry-led not-for-profit corporation dedicated to building world-class advanced manufacturing capabilities in Canada and the organization responsible for leading the federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster initiative.

His career has spanned the worlds of industry, government, and research. An award-winning business economist and formerly CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association and Chair of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, he has been recognized as one of the most influential public policy advocates in Canada, particularly in the fields of international trade, industrial and technological change. He has held lectureships and research fellowships at Oxford University and the University of Warwick. He is also Principal of his own consulting firm which helps organizations identify and manage opportunities arising from changes reshaping industry and international business.

Andrée-Lise Méthot

Founder and Managing Partner, Cycle Capital

Olivia Neal

Executive Director for Digital Change, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Olivia Neal

Olivia joined the Government of Canada in June 2017 as the Executive Director, Digital Change. Since being in Canada she and her team have worked with people from across the Government, and outside, to support the creation of structure and culture to enable the drive to be increasingly digital. This has included: developing and launching Canada’s Digital Standards; creating the first Digital Government Strategic Plan; launching a Digital Academy; creating international partnerships, including joining the Digital7; rethinking the approach to bringing in talent, and launching a new platform for recruitment; as well as building approaches to help develop and build the existing community within government.

Olivia was previously with the UK Government, where she played a leading role at the award winning Government Digital Service for three years.

Olivia introduced and embedded the UK Digital Service Standard in the work of digital delivery teams across UK government. She has overseen the assurance of hundreds of the largest public facing digital services against the Digital Service Standard, helping teams across government meet user needs and transform the way they work.

Her team worked with government departments to save over £300m annually, through assuring that digital and technology spend meets the Technology Code of Practice. She’s worked with countries from around the world to build understanding of delivering high quality digital services and developing digital culture. She has been integral in the development of Digital Service Standards for Australia, UK Local Government and Scotland.


Mona Nemer

Chief Science Advisor
Mona Nemer

Dr. Mona Nemer is Canada’s Chief Science Advisor. Her mandate is to provide advice to the Prime Minister, Minister of Science and other ministers on science issues.

Before becoming the Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Nemer was Professor and Vice-President, Research, at the University of Ottawa. Her research focused on the heart, and has contributed to the development of diagnostic tests for heart failure and the genetics of cardiac birth defects.

Dr. Nemer has served on several national and international advisory committees and executive boards, and is the recipient of many honours. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec and a Knight of the French Republic’s Ordre national du Mérite.

Dr. Nemer holds a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University. Prior to working at the University of Ottawa, she was a Professor of Pharmacology at the Université de Montréal and directed the Cardiac Genetics Unit at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute.

Kelly Nolan

Kelly Nolan

Kelly Nolan has extensive experience in developing strategies for organizational success, from external and internal communications, to crisis management and organizational change. During her time at Compute Canada as Executive Director of External Affairs, Kelly led the organization towards securing more than $100 million in capital funding to address growing capacity challenges and sustainable funding concerns. Her extensive experience across a wide variety of sectors has provided her with a unique perspective on how to enable the High Performance Computing community to thrive and take its place on the international scientific stage. Kelly has had an active role in improving the experience of under-represented groups in every workplace she has been in since the beginning of her career. Moving to HPC has enabled her to bring together her passions: diversity, equity and inclusion with a community that brings about discovery and change. Kelly is currently actively providing government relations and advocacy strategies for both HPC, research organizations and universities.

Dugan O'Neil

Associate Vice President, Research, and Professor of Physics, Simon Fraser University
Dugan O'Neil

As the Associate Vice-President, Research, Dugan O’Neil works closely with the Vice-President, Research and shares responsibility for academic leadership in, and administration of, research and other scholarly activities. Together, they work to raise SFU’s research profile to an internationally competitive level.

Activities include the encouragement, facilitation and administration of research across faculties and other offices at SFU.

He is cited for integrating sophisticated digital infrastructure into a diverse scientific community that spans engineering, natural sciences, health, social sciences and humanities.

Sue Paish

CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster

Bio coming soon.

Corinne Pohlmann

Senior Vice President, National Affairs and Partnerships, CFIB
Corinne Pohlmann

Corinne Pohlmann is Senior Vice President, National Affairs and Partnerships for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), a not-for-profit organization representing 110,000 small and medium-sized business members across Canada. Corinne is based in Ottawa and is responsible for developing CFIB’s strategy on federal legislative issues, as well as overseeing CFIB’s Economics function, Partnerships division, and Atlantic Canada legislative team.

Corinne has participated in numerous consultations and committees on a wide variety of small business issues, including the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Underground Economy, the Advisory Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, as well as the Deputy Minister Advisory Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Corinne is a graduate of McGill University – and holds both a Bachelor and a Masters Degree in Geography.

Sumitra Rajagopalan

Founder and CEO, BioAstra Technologies

Bio coming soon.

Elisha Ram

Associate ADM, Skills and Employment Branch, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

Bio coming soon.

Jeannine Ritchot

Executive Director, Regulatory Policy and Cooperation, Regulatory Affairs Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

Bio coming soon.

Roseann O'Reilly Runte

President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
Roseann O'Reilly Runte

On August 1, 2017, Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte became the fifth President and CEO of the CFI. Dr. Runte has previously served as President and Vice-Chancellor at Carleton University, President of l’Université Sainte-Anne, Principal of Glendon College, President of Victoria University and of Old Dominion University.

She graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude in French from the State University of New York and obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She is the author of numerous scholarly works in the fields of French, comparative literature, economic and cultural development. She is a creative writer and has received a poetry prize from the Académie française.

Dr. Runte has been awarded the Order of Canada, the French Order of Merit, fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, and is Commander of the Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium and Officer in the Order of the Academic Palmes of the French Republic, along with several prizes for her work on the environment, and for community and national service. She also holds a number of honorary degrees.

Dr. Runte has served on numerous boards and commissions in Canada and the United States, including serving as President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, President of the Humanities Federation of Canada, a member of the Executive Committee of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Chair of the Board of the Foundation for International Training, Vice-Chair of the Board of the Gardiner Museum, member of the Virginia Industrial National Development Authority, the Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding Integration Center, the Advisory Board of SunGard SGT, the non-profit LifeNet Health Board, the Ontario Quebec Private Sector Advisory Committee, the National Bank of Canada, and the Executive of the Royal Society. She currently chairs the Board of Fulbright Canada-U.S. and is a member of the executive committee of the World University Service of Canada. She is a member of both the European and the World Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Rupen Seoni

Senior Vice President, Practice Leader, Environics Analytics

Bio coming soon.

Paul Snelgrove

Director, Canadian Healthy Ocean Network (CHONe) and Associate Scientific Director, Ocean Frontier Institute

Bio coming soon.

Benoit Tessier

Director General of Skills Policy and Economic Strategy Tables at Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)
Benoit Tessier

Benoit Tessier is the Director General of Skills Policy and Economic Strategy Tables at Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED).  He’s the lead in establishing partnerships with industry representatives to assist employers find, develop and retain talent, and responsible for the Economic Strategy Tables, a new model for industry-government collaboration, supporting innovation in growth sectors.

Mr. Tessier has held various executive positions within Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), focused on labour market and skills development issues.

He also served as Vice-president of a large school board, receiving the Bronze Medal recognition for his work on the K-12 educational system from the “Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec”.  Mr. Tessier is also a Policy Fellow of the Education Policy Research Initiative at the University of Ottawa.


AJ Tibando

Executive Director, Palette Inc.

Bio coming soon.

Warren Wall

CEO, D-Wave
Warren Wall

Warren Wall’s role at D-Wave encompasses government, university, and industry relationships to expand the Canadian ecosystem for quantum computing. He joined D-Wave as Chief Operating Officer in 2008 with responsibility for all technology operations of the company as well as executive leadership of Finance, IT, HR and Facilities. Following a BSc. degree in Computer Science from UBC, Warren was involved with several Vancouver-area technology start-ups, most recently in senior technology executive positions at Electronic Arts including Chief Operating Officer of its Canadian studio and VP Technology for World-wide Studios. He is a member of Simon Fraser University’s Advisory Council for SFU Innovates, a university-wide strategy for innovation and entrepreneurship, and a Board member of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster and chair of its Program Investment Committee.

David Watters

President and CEO, Global Advantage Consulting Group Inc
David Watters

David Watters contributed for 30 years to the Canadian Public Service in a variety of Economic Ministries, including a dozen years as an Assistant Deputy Minister in Industry Canada, Treasury Board Canada and Finance Canada, where he was responsible for overseeing federal Economic Development and Corporate Finance policies and investments, and developing federal Budgets.

In 2002 David established the Global Advantage Consulting Group Inc. (Ottawa) and is the President and CEO of this strategic management consulting firm that provides advice to corporate, association, academic and government clients across Canada and abroad.

The firm has completed over 400 contracts for clients specializing in: analyzing and “mapping” complex public policy economic systems; creating collaborative business models for service delivery; aligning operational processes among networked organizations for enhanced decision-making; and designing growth strategies for organizations, particularly in the areas of research and technology development, innovation, commercialization, energy/climate change and trade.

David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Queen’s University, as well as a Law degree in corporate, commercial, and tax law from Queen’s University Law School. He was also an adjunct Professor for seven years at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, teaching International Negotiation to MBA students.

Preliminary Conference Program

Day 1 - April 16, 2019

07:30 - 08:30

Registration and exhibits

08:30 - 08:45

Welcome address

08:45 - 09:15

Opening keynote

09:15 - 10:00

Keynote: Federal Budget 2019

David Watters, President and CEO, Global Advantage Consulting Group Inc

10:00 - 10:30

Networking break and exhibits

10:30 - 11:15

Parallel sessions | SESSION A | FDI attraction and scaling domestic MNEs: Are they compatible?

Audrey Mascarenhas, President and CEO, Questor

All levels of government in Canada provide funding and other incentives to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting foreign multinationals to set up shop in our communities. At the same time, governments are trying to support the growth of domestic multinationals who generate export revenue, create jobs and serve as anchors in the Canadian innovation ecosystem. How can these two policies work together?

10:30 - 11:15

Parallel sessions | SESSION B | Using all of our chefs: Increasing the potency of interdisciplinary research

Moderator: Roseann O'Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

Discussant: Ted Hewitt, President, SSHRC

Marie Franquin , Ph.D. student, Neuroscience, McGill University; VP Administration, Science & Policy Exchange

Chelsea Gabel, Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement, and Innovation, McMaster University

Stefan Leslie, Executive Director, Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR)

In a global research environment that is increasingly multi-disciplinary, Canada’s three granting councils remain largely discipline-based. The creation of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, with significant funding for interdisciplinary research as well as international collaboration, is opening the door to new funding models.

11:15 - 12:00

Parallel sessions | SESSION A | Financing scale: Finding the right investment blend

Moderator: Neal Hill, Vice President, Market Development, BDC Capital

Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Managing Partner, Cycle Capital

Canada’s venture capital industry has matured significantly over the past decade, in part due to government policies and funding. For high-growth firms with aspirations to scale, finding the right VC investors can be transformational, but Canada’s track record shows most of our VC-backed firms end up being sold offshore before they reach significant scale. How can other financing mechanisms such as private equity and the capital markets be mobilized to provide essential later-stage capital so that successful Canadian firms can continue to grow and stay in Canada? What policies do we need to ensure an effective investment mix that will support Canada’s existing global leaders and nurture the growth of others?

11:15 - 12:00

Parallel sessions | SESSION B | IP strategy discussion

Sumitra Rajagopalan, Founder and CEO, BioAstra Technologies

Paul Snelgrove, Director, Canadian Healthy Ocean Network (CHONe) and Associate Scientific Director, Ocean Frontier Institute

Intellectual property can be the life-blood of a company, especially in research-intensive industry sectors such as pharma, medical devices and some cleantech businesses. As Canada develops a national IP strategy, what advice have policy makers been receiving and what directions are being pursued to ensure success?

12:00 - 13:00

Networking lunch and exhibits

13:00 - 14:00

Parallel sessions | SESSION A | Growth strategies for Canadian companies – insights from Canada's winners

Moderator: Eric Fournier, Director General S&T Strategic Decision Support, Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)

Graeme Moffat, Chief Scientist & VP Regulatory Affairs, Interaxon

Rupen Seoni, Senior Vice President, Practice Leader, Environics Analytics

Until recently, Canadian innovation policy has focused on commercialization of academic research and supporting start-up entrepreneurs and firms. A new focus on supporting established firms that have the ambition and potential to scale globally has raised the question of how best to do it. A panel of entrepreneurs who have successfully scaled will share their experiences and insights regarding policies that work – and those that don’t.

13:00 - 14:00

Parallel sessions | SESSION B | Digital strategies for a successful tomorrow

Moderator: Olivia Neal, Executive Director for Digital Change, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada

Dugan O'Neil, Associate Vice President, Research, and Professor of Physics, Simon Fraser University

An update on Canada’s digital and data consultation and any relevant policies and programs that emerge in Budget 2019.

14:00 - 15:00

Parallel sessions | SESSION A | Re-thinking Regulation – Adding agility to Canada’s system

Karen Hamberg, Vice-Present, Government Relations, Westport

Tina Green, ADM, Health Canada

Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice President, National Affairs and Partnerships, CFIB

Jeannine Ritchot, Executive Director, Regulatory Policy and Cooperation, Regulatory Affairs Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat

A look at the recent horizontal review of regulations affecting Canada’s innovation ecosystem. What changes are afoot and what needs to be done to support Canadian innovators while protecting the public?

14:00 - 15:00

Parallel sessions | SESSION B | The place of policy in enforcing EDI practices

Kelly Nolan, Founder,

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) have been integrated into the fabric of the federal government’s policies and programs, including those directed to the science, technology and innovation ecosystem. To what extent are policies effective in changing the culture of the organizations that depend on government funding and support? What lessons can we learn from efforts so far? What else needs to change?

15:00 - 15:30

Networking break and exhibits

15:30 - 17:00

Plenary Panel – Talent and Skills: Using the full spice rack

Moderator: Benoit Tessier, Director General of Skills Policy and Economic Strategy Tables at Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)

Rhonda Barnet, President & Chief Operating Officer, AVIT Manufacturing

Elisha Ram, Associate ADM, Skills and Employment Branch, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

AJ Tibando, Executive Director, Palette Inc.

Attracting and retaining the right talent is the top challenge facing companies and research institutions today. As Canada develops the skills portion of its Innovation and Skills Plan, what policy levers and programs are being developed to address this critical need?

17:00 - 17:30


17:30 - 18:30

Reception and exhibits

18:30 - 21:00

Dinner and special innovation conversation

Moderator: Paul Dufour, Senior fellow, University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy and Principal, PaulicyWorks

Sarah Gallagher, Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Western University, Science Advisor to the President of the Canadian Space Agency

Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor

Dan Wayner, Science Advisor & Chief Science Officer, National Research Council (NRC)

Day 2 - April 17, 2019

07:30 - 08:30

Registration and exhibits

08:30 - 09:30

Plenary Panel – The First Year: Superclusters in Review

Julien Billot , CEO, SCALE AI

Bill Greuel, CEO, Protein Industries Canada

Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Ocean Supercluster

Jayson Myers, CEO, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada

Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster

Hear from senior executives from the five Supercluster initiatives as they review their progress, including successes, challenges and learnings for moving forward.

09:30 - 11:00

Plenary Panel – Superclusters: A Closer Look

Dave Dzisiak, Commercial Leader Grains & Oils, North America, Corteva Agriscience

Warren Wall, CEO, D-Wave

Industry leaders from the five superclusters share how their business goals and challenges are being addressed within the overall supercluster initiative.

11:00 - 11:30

Networking break and exhibits

11:30 - 12:30

Plenary Panel – Whole of government update

Nancy Hamzawi, Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology at Environment and Climate Change Canada

Janet King, Associate Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada

Senior government policy makers review progress in interdepartmental collaboration to support the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan.

12:30 - 13:00

Conference Close

Partners & Exhibitors




Canadian Science Policy Fellowship Partner


Corporate Dinner Table

Association Partners