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Experienced research leader Steven Liss appointed vice-president, research and innovation

Internationally recognized science researcher returns to Ryerson University
Category:From the President
November 23, 2016

Steven Liss is currently vice-principal (research) at Queen’s.  

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Steven Liss, an experienced leader from Queen’s University, to guide the Ryerson research enterprise as vice-president, research and innovation, effective April 1, 2017.

Steven, who is vice-principal (research) at Queen’s, is rejoining the Ryerson community. From 1988 to 2007 he was a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biology and associate dean for the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science (research, development and science programs). He will be joining the Department of Chemistry and Biology in the Faculty of Science as a tenured, full professor.

Prior to joining Queen’s, Steven was associate vice-president research at the University of Guelph, and briefly served as acting vice-president research. His positions at three dynamic and distinct institutions have given him experience with a broad range of scholarly, research and creative activities in the humanities, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, health and life sciences, engineering and areas of professional study including law, education and business.

He has been a champion for faculty renewal while advancing diversity and inclusiveness through research that leads to increased understanding of cultures and communities within Canada and abroad. He has facilitated investments toward faculty renewal and recruitment of leading and emerging scholars in key areas including indigenous literatures, languages, culture, art and health.  

An internationally recognized researcher in the area of environmental biotechnology and water and wastewater microbiology, Steven earned his master’s and PhD in applied microbiology and food science from the University of Saskatchewan, and his bachelor’s in microbiology and immunology from Western University.

Steven brings energy and vision to every role that he has taken. He is a team builder who creates positive and transformative experiences for students, faculty, staff and partners collaborating with him, and has a demonstrated willingness to challenge the status quo to solve complex problems. His passion for supporting people and building strong and diverse teams made him an ideal candidate for this role.

As vice-principal (research) at Queen’s since 2010, Steven is a member of the university’s senior leadership team with responsibility for supporting scholarly research activities. As the author of Queen’s current Strategic Research Plan, Steven has contributed to the success and enhancement of research prominence at the university including diversifying sources of funding, recruitment and retention of talent, and the expansion of cutting-edge facilities and infrastructure. This has positioned Queen’s for research success including investments in major national research platforms and networks, a Canada Excellence Research Chair and a Canada First Research Excellence Fund initiative.

Steven serves on a number of boards and management groups that support higher education, research and innovation across Canada. He is the immediate past chair of the Ontario Council for University Research (Council of Ontario Universities), and past chair of the board of management of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. He was the founding co-chair of the Leadership Council on Digital Infrastructure. He was instrumental in the establishment of Compute Ontario and currently sits on the board of Compute Canada.  In 2012 Steven was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to advancing research across Canada.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to Ryerson’s future,” said Steven. “The university is positioning itself as a leader in teaching, experiential learning, research and innovation. I look forward to working with President Lachemi and Ryerson’s leadership team to strengthen and expand regional, national and global collaborations, generate research impact, advance innovation and the student experience, and attract and retain outstanding faculty and staff.”

The vice-president, research and innovation reports to the president and is a key member of Ryerson’s senior leadership team, providing strategic leadership and support for the people, programs and platforms engaged in scholarly, research and creative activity at the university.
Since July, the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation has been led by Usha George. I want to express my gratitude to Usha for stepping into the role and ensuring continued progress toward achieving our objectives for scholarly, research and creative activity at Ryerson.

Members of the search committee are listed below and I want to thank each of them for their great contributions.

Martin Antony
Professor, Department of Psychology

Andrea Bartlett
Undergraduate Student, Business Management

Chanequa Cameron
Graduate Student, Early Childhood Studies

Tom Duever
Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Michael Kolios
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science

Krishna Kumar
Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering

Lynn Lavallée
Associate Professor and Ryerson Ethics Board Chair, School of Social Work

Alexandra Mazalek
Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor, RTA School of Media

Dérick Rousseau
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology

Anver Saloojee
Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration


Mohamed Lachemi
President and Vice-Chancellor