Suzanne Fortier biography


Universities Canada board director

Suzanne Fortier has served as Principal and Vice-chancellor of McGill University since September 2013. Prior to her appointment as Principal, Professor Fortier was President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) from 2006 to 2013, and held the position of Vice-Principal (Academic) from 2000 to 2005 and Vice-Principal (Research) from 1995 to 2000 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where she was a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and in the School of Computing.

A native of St-Timothée, Québec, Professor Fortier graduated from McGill with a BSc (1972) and a PhD in Crystallography (1976). Her research work has focused in the development of mathematical and artificial intelligence methodologies for protein structure determination. She has also made contributions to the development of novel techniques in crystallographic data mining to gain new insights from the large structural databases.

She has received the Clara Benson Award for distinguished contributions to chemistry by a woman (1997), the Entrepreneurship Award from Communications and Information Technology Ontario (1997), the Queen’s University Distinguished Service Award (2005), honorary doctorates from Thompson Rivers and Carleton Universities, as well as the University of Glasgow (2006, 2014, and 2015 respectively) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). She is an officer of France’s National Order of Merit, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was named a Specially Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2015).

Professor Fortier is currently a member and Vice-Chair of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC), and is a member of the International Jury of France’s Investissements d’Avenir IDEX/I-SITE 2014; the Canadian Business-Higher Education Roundtable. In 2016 she was appointed to the Canadian Federal Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth as well as the World Economic Forum’s Global University Leaders Forum (GULF). She also serves on the Board of Directors of Montreal International; the Conference Board of Canada, Universities Canada and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She has served as a member of several boards and councils, including the federal government’s Council of Science and Technology Advisors (CSTA), the Board of Directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Steering Committee of the Networks of Centres of Excellence, the Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress, and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

Universities Canada