Media Releases

University of Toronto President joins MaRS board of directors

January 22, 2015

TORONTO, ON – MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict is pleased to announce the appoint­ment of Pro­fes­sor Mer­ic Gertler, Pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, to its board of direc­tors.

“Pro­fes­sor Gertler’s unique inter­na­tion­al per­spec­tive and excep­tion­al con­tri­bu­tions to the fields of eco­nom­ic geog­ra­phy and region­al devel­op­ment will be key as MaRS con­tin­ues to build and strength­en inno­va­tion net­works not only in Ontario, but around the world,” said Gor­don Nixon, MaRS board chair­man.

“Pro­fes­sor Gertler is inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned for his research on city-regions as hotspots of inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty in the glob­al econ­o­my,” said Ilse Treur­nicht, CEO, MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict. “He brings to the board a deep under­stand­ing of the key ingre­di­ents required to grow our inno­va­tion econ­o­my in Ontario—something that is crit­i­cal for the pros­per­i­ty of future gen­er­a­tions. We are hon­oured to have him join the MaRS board.”

“I am pleased and hon­oured to join the MaRS board,” said Pres­i­dent Gertler. “Research and inno­va­tion are fun­da­men­tal to the mis­sion of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. Through MaRS, Ontario has devel­oped the kind of inno­va­tion engine that cities and nations around the world rec­og­nize as cru­cial in cre­at­ing jobs and long-term eco­nom­ic and social pros­per­i­ty. ”

Fos­ter­ing entre­pre­neur­ship is a key pri­or­i­ty for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, which is a found­ing part­ner in MaRS. From 2009 to 2012, U of T, includ­ing its affil­i­at­ed hos­pi­tals, cre­at­ed more start­up com­pa­nies than any oth­er sin­gle North Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ty, and togeth­er they anchor one of the top three bio­science clus­ters in North Amer­i­ca. The Uni­ver­si­ty is home to a diverse ecosys­tem of entre­pre­neur­ship sup­ports, includ­ing accel­er­a­tors, pro­grams, cours­es, class­es, and co-cur­ric­u­lar orga­ni­za­tions. Its sev­en accel­er­a­tors are spread across sev­er­al dis­ci­plines and three cam­pus­es, and pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive resources for stu­dent and fac­ul­ty entre­pre­neurs as well as recent grad­u­ates.

About Pro­fes­sor Mer­ic S. Gertler
Pro­fes­sor Gertler began his term as the 16th Pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to on Novem­ber 1, 2013. Pri­or to that, he served as the Dean of the Fac­ul­ty of Arts and Sci­ence, where he cham­pi­oned many impor­tant inno­va­tions in under­grad­u­ate teach­ing and learn­ing. He is a Pro­fes­sor of Geog­ra­phy and Plan­ning, and the Goldring Chair in Cana­di­an Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, was the found­ing co-direc­tor of the Pro­gram on Glob­al­iza­tion and Region­al Inno­va­tion Sys­tems (PROGRIS) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Munk School of Glob­al Affairs and has held vis­it­ing appoint­ments at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don, UCLA, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo.

Pro­fes­sor Gertler’s research has attract­ed $8.4 mil­lion in exter­nal fund­ing. He has pub­lished sev­en books and more than 80 jour­nal arti­cles and book chap­ters. He was also a mem­ber of the Expert Pan­el on Busi­ness Inno­va­tion estab­lished by the Coun­cil of Cana­di­an Acad­e­mies, which pub­lished its land­mark report “Inno­va­tion and Busi­ness Strat­e­gy: Why Cana­da Falls Short” to wide acclaim in 2009.

In May 2012, he was award­ed an hon­orary doc­tor of phi­los­o­phy from Lund Uni­ver­si­ty, Swe­den for his con­tri­bu­tions to the fields of eco­nom­ic geog­ra­phy and region­al devel­op­ment. He is also a Fel­low of the Acad­e­my of Social Sci­ences (UK). Most recent­ly, Pro­fes­sor Gertler received the 2014 Dis­tin­guished Alum­ni Award from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley and the 2014 Dis­tin­guished Schol­ar­ship Hon­or from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Geo­g­ra­phers (AAG).

Dr. Gertler joins exist­ing MaRS board mem­bers:
• Dr. John R. Evans (Chair Emer­i­tus)
• Gor­don Nixon (Chair)
• The Hon. John P. Man­ley (Vice Chair), Pres­i­dent and CEO, Cana­di­an Coun­cil of Chief Exec­u­tives
• Elyse Allan, CEO, GE Cana­da and Vice-Pres­i­dent, GE
• Lawrence S. Bloomberg, Direc­tor of Nation­al Bank of Cana­da
• Elaine A. Camp­bell, Past Pres­i­dent, AstraZeneca Cana­da
• Derek Evans, Pres­i­dent, CEO and Direc­tor of Pen­growth Ener­gy Cor­po­ra­tion
• Richard W. Ivey, Chair­man, Ivest Prop­er­ties Lim­it­ed
• Geof­frey Matus, Pres­i­dent of Man­duk­we Inc.
• Michael H. McCain, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
• Calvin R. Stiller, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus, Uni­ver­si­ty of West­ern Ontario
• Ilse Treur­nicht, CEO of MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict

About MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict:
MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict (@MaRSDD) in Toron­to is one of the world’s largest urban inno­va­tion hubs. MaRS cul­ti­vates high-impact ven­tures and equips inno­va­tors to dri­ve eco­nom­ic and soci­etal pros­per­i­ty. MaRS pro­vides expert advice and mar­ket research, and makes con­nec­tions to tal­ent, cus­tomers and cap­i­tal. MaRS start­up ven­tures have cre­at­ed 6,500 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised $1 bil­lion in cap­i­tal and gen­er­at­ed $500 mil­lion in rev­enue.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Lara Torvi
Man­ag­er, Media & Com­mu­ni­ty
MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict