Professor Martha Crago is McGill University’s Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation). Prior to returning to McGill, she was the Vice-President (Research) at Dalhousie University. Her previous university administrative positions include Vice-President of International and Inter-Governmental Relations at the Université de Montreal as well as the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Associate Provost (Academic Programs), at McGill.
Professor Crago has been an active researcher in language acquisition across a variety of languages and learners, including monolingual and bilingual Indigenous children learning Inuktitut, Cree, Mohawk, and Algonquin, as well as those learning English, French and Arabic. Her work has been published extensively in scientific journals and books, and she is past Editor-in-Chief of Applied Psycholinguistics, published by Cambridge University Press. She was Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Child Language from 2007 to 2010.
Professor Crago is the Vice-President and Chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Governing Council and Chair of the Research Committee of the U15 group of Canada’s research-intensive universities. She is also a member of the Research Partnership Committee of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Senior Research Officers of the Association of American Universities (AAU). In 2016, the Minister of Science of Canada selected her to be a member of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review. Professor Crago was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2017.
Natalie Dakers is a leading figure in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry and one of Canada’s most influential women.
Natalie is currently President and CEO of Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator. Prior to Accel-Rx, she was founding President and CEO of CDRD Ventures Inc., the commercial arm of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) that supported company creation. Natalie was also the founding CEO of the CDRD, a national Centre for Excellence for Commercialization and Research. She also co-founded Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company and raised $70 million in three rounds of venture financing.
Natalie is currently a board member of BIOTECanada and STEMCELL Technologies, board chair of Augurex Inc. and an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She’s served on many local, national, and private company boards and advisory panels. Natalie has garnered numerous honours including the 2019 LifeSciences BC Milton Wong Award for Leadership.
Robert Luke, PhD, is Vice-President, Research & Innovation, and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University. His expertise is in human-centered knowledge media design, working at the intersections of education and information science to produce useful and useable technology to support education, health and innovation systems.
Robert has worked at the interface of R&D partnerships for the past 19 years. His research on Public+Private Partnerships for Research and Development (P3RD) has been informed by experience conducting this work in the university, research hospital and college/Technology Access Centre contexts. His current focus is on P3RD aligned with the use of Technology/Solutions Readiness Levels and change management practices to support innovation. This work prioritizes the role of innovation intermediaries, the ability to form and foster partnerships with industry, region or cluster, and the teaching of the skills and competencies required to support and sustain innovation-related activities.
He served on the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel Review of The State of Science and Technology and the State of Industrial Research & Development in Canada (2018). In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canadian education and innovation.
Rebecca Melville is currently the Director of Operations at Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design. Previous to that, she held the position of Chief Operating Officer at RE$EARCH MONEY, where she worked in a variety of roles from 2011-2019. She holds an MA in Adult Education and Community Development, with a collaborative degree in Comparative, International and Development Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Sarah Young is Managing Partner at NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada’s leading PR firm, responsible for Atlantic Canada, and leading the firm’s international talent strategy. As a founder of MT&L Public Relations she built the company from a team of six to forty and with her partners in 2013, successfully formed an alliance with NATIONAL Public Relations, tripling the business and soundly establishing a global network.
Her business acumen and wealth of expertise in stakeholder relations, public engagement and coalition building, has earned her the trust of leaders across Canada.
Sarah currently serves as a director on the boards of the Nova Scotia Community College, Develop Nova Scotia, Mount Allison University Board of Regents, as well as the YMCA for Greater Halifax/Dartmouth Board of Honourary Trustees. She is also an Associate with the Creative Destruction Lab Atlantic, helping innovators transition from seed-stage to massively scalable, high-growth companies.
Sarah has been named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO’s and is an active ambassador for the 30% Club, a global organization designed to create growth through diversity on boards. She was a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™, which annually honours 40 Canadians under the age of 40 for vision, leadership, innovation, achievement and community involvement and she is also an alumnus of the Governor General’s Leadership Conference.