University of Toronto President joins MaRS Board of Directors

TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2015 – 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