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Photo of AVPR Michael Richards. He is wearing a blue suit with a white shirt and has his arms crossed. He is smiling.

Michael Richards

Associate Vice-President, Research (AVPR)

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Michael Richards joined the Office of the Vice-President, Research and International (VPRI) on July 1, 2022 as the Associate Vice-President, Research (AVPR).

Dr. Richards is professor of archaeology and a Canada Research Chair in Archaeological Science, who applies methods such as isotopic analysis to determine past human and animal diets and adaptations. Before SFU, Richards was a professor at the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany) and professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. He was also a Wellcome Trust University Award holder and then professor in the Department of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford (U.K.) and a professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham (U.K.). Richards is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada—Canada’s highest academic honour. Dr. Richards earned his PhD at the University of Oxford (U.K.) and has an undergraduate and Master’s degree in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University.

Richards’ research interests include the evolution of human diets over time, especially the diets of Neanderthals and early modern humans, and the spread and adoption of agriculture in Eurasia. His current research includes developing new isotope systems for dietary and migration studies, using isotope analysis to explore and catalogue the range and nature of human dietary adaptations throughout the Holocene, and developing and applying isotope analysis in forensics. His research group is working in many areas of the world and in many different time periods, including collaborations with B.C. First Nations and with the B.C. Coroner. 

The AVPR is a full-time leadership role that supports the priorities and objectives of the VPRI Office. A key objective of the role is supporting the implementation of the Strategic Research Plan that positions SFU to grow its capacity in research and knowledge mobilization. The AVPR manages key institutional opportunities, such as institutional level funding proposals and strategic partnerships. The AVPR also plays a significant role in ensuring SFU’s infrastructure and research operations continue to meet the needs of its faculty members.

Richards is well-positioned in his role to ensure the SFU research community receives the support and services needed to develop and deliver research programs with meaningful impact across the communities we serve.