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After an extensive search process beginning in September 2021, we are pleased to share that SFU has named Michael Richards as our next associate vice-president, research (AVPR), and Elicia Maine as associate vice-president, knowledge mobilization and innovation (AVPKMI). Their new positions at SFU will begin on July 1, 2022.

A message from our vice-president, research and international

To the SFU community: 

SFU Archaeology Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) Michael Richards is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the highest academic honour in the country. Richards is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Wellcome Trust University Award holder, and has served as professor at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, at the University of Durham, U.K. and at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he also worked as the associate dean, research and graduate studies in UBC’s Faculty of Arts.

As SFU’s AVPR, Richards will support the development and implementation of SFU's next Strategic Research Plan and play a significant role in ensuring that the university’s infrastructure, resources and research operations continue to meet the needs of its faculty members.

Elicia Maine is the W.J. VanDusen professor of innovation & entrepreneurship at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, the founder and academic director of the Innovation to Innovation (i2I) program and has served as the special advisor on innovation to the VPRI since May 2020. She is an international expert on innovation and entrepreneurship and oversees the ongoing development of a robust innovation ecosystem at SFU. This includes advocating for faculty and students in reducing barriers to mobilizing knowledge, creativity and innovation. As special advisor, Maine has provided incredible leadership to mobilize SFU’s innovation strategy and champion the many innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives by SFU students, staff and faculty. I am so pleased that Maine will be building upon this work in her new capacity as SFU’s inaugural AVPKMI.

As SFU’s first AVPKMI, Maine will provide strategic oversight and champion the many initiatives, programs, and support services by SFU faculty, students and staff that seek to mobilize knowledge, including: SFU Innovates; SFU VentureLabs; the Community-Engaged Research initiative; SFU Knowledge Mobilization; the Technology Licensing Office; and ACT – Action on Climate Team.

Once in the roles of AVPR and AVPKMI, Richards and Maine will be meeting with the community to share more on why these roles exist at SFU and how they will support faculty and the SFU research and innovation community.

I want to extend my gratitude to Professor Angela Brooks-Wilson, who has worked alongside me for nearly two years as AVPR pro tem. Brooks-Wilson’s leadership and insight have been instrumental to ensuring that the needs of our research community have been heard—especially through the challenges of the pandemic. Though she will be leaving the VPRI portfolio, I am so happy that she will continue to be such a valuable part of the SFU community. She will remain working as SFU’s AVPR pro tem until June 30, 2022.

My sincere thanks and congratulations to Elicia and Michael for taking on these important new roles, and my appreciation to Angie for all that she has done for research at SFU.


Dugan O'Neil

Please contact and/or for any questions about the executive search process.