Institute Governance

Organizational chart of Rotman Institute governance structure

Governance Structure

The Director of the Rotman Institute reports to Western Research’s Governing Board, an Advisory Board, a Research Advisory Committee, and an Executive Committee. The Governing Board, chaired by the Vice-President Research (or designate), provides sign-off authority on Institute programs, annual approval of the budget, and review of vision, strategy, and metrics for evaluating success.

Learn about the Scope, Structure & Governance of Western Research Institutes

Institute Director

The achievement of the Institute’s Vision and Mission constitute the Director’s primary responsibility, all within the greater context of their university appointment. The Director is appointed to a renewable five-year term, and reports to the Vice-President (Research), who has responsibility for oversight of the strategic plan and the Institute’s budget.

Associate Director(s)

Associate Directors are Institute faculty members at Western, nominated by Institute faculty. Appointments are made by the Vice-President (Research) based on the recommendation of the Institute Director. Associate Directors are responsible for advising and supporting the Director in operationalizing and implementing strategic priorities via research programs, events & activities. Each takes leadership of a particular portfolio.

Rotman Director Chris Smeenk and Associate Director Eric Desjardins
Pictured Above: Chris Smeenk , current Institute Director (left) and Eric Desjardins, Associate Director from 2018 – 2022 (right).

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee provides oversight on the day-to-day operations of the Institute, including, but not limited to: management of administrative personnel; allocation of funds and budget oversight; the planning and hosting of conferences, workshops, speakers series at the Institute; and the administration of other Institute initiatives and activities. View the Western Research Institutes Executive Committee Terms of Reference Guidelines.

  • Chris Smeenk, Institute Director

  • Jann Paquette-Warren, Director, Western Research Institutes (ex officio)

Research Advisory Committee

The Research Advisory Committee provides input & advice from the broader research community to the Executive Committee and the Director on topics including, but not limited, to: research priorities; selection of visiting scholars; recruitment and appointment of postdoctoral fellows to the Institute; training programs; promoting leadership in informed public debate of policy issues related to science; and promoting public engagement on issues in science. Current Research Advisory Committee members are listed below. View the Western Research Institutes Research Advisory Committee Terms of Reference Guidelines.

  • Francesca Vidotto, Elected Member – Philosophy and Physics

  • Michael Anderson, Elected Member – Philosophy & Cognitive Science

  • Jann Paquette-Warren, Director, Western Research Institutes (ex officio)

External Advisory Council

The Institute’s External Advisory Council includes distinguished and respected academic experts of international stature in disciplines relevant to the Institute’s Vision and Mission. Current External Advisory Council members are listed below. View the Western Research Institutes External Advisory Council Terms of Reference Guidelines.

Alan Bernstein, Rotman IAC member

Alan Bernstein

President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research;
President Emeritus, Canadian Institutes of Health Research;
Executive Director, Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise

Dr. Alan Bernstein is Executive Director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an alliance of researchers, funders, and advocates committed to accelerating the development of an HIV vaccine. He was the founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His scientific work includes contributions to our understanding of embryonic development, hematopoietic stem cells, and cancer. His honours include the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Robert L. Noble Prize from the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and the Australian Society of Medical Research Medal. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Jane Maienschein, Rotman IAC member

Jane Maienschein

Professor and Director of the Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University

Dr. Jane Maienschein is Regents’ Professor, President’s Professor, Parents Association Professor, and Director of the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University. Dr. Maienschein specializes in the History and Philosophy of Biology and on the social impacts of, and relationships between, biology, bioethics, and biopolicy. An expert on embryology, genetics and cytology, Dr. Maienschein combines detailed analyses of the epistemological standards, theories, laboratory practices and experimental approaches with study of the people, institutions, and changing social, political, and legal context in which science thrives. She is the author of several books and many articles and has received numerous grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, among others. In 2010 she was named Professor of the Year in Arizona by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Julian Savulescu, Rotman IAC member

Julian Savulescu

Professor and Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics, University of Oxford
Director, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Professor Julian Savulescu has held the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford since 2002. He has degrees in medicine, neuroscience and bioethics. He directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, and leads a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award on Responsibility and Health Care. He directs the Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He co-directs the interdisciplinary Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities in collaboration with Public Health, Psychiatry and History. In 2017, he joined the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, spending four months per year as Visiting Professorial Fellow in Biomedical Ethics where he is working to establish a programme in biomedical ethics, and Melbourne University as Distinguished International Visiting Professor in Law. In 2018, he concluded an extended tenure as Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the highest impact journal in the field, and is founding editor of Journal of Practical Ethics, an open access journal in Practical Ethics.

Ken Waters, Rotman IAC member

C. Kenneth Waters

Tier I Canada Research Chair in Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of Calgary

Dr. C. Kenneth Waters is a Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary. Dr. Waters’ research concerns the nature of scientific knowledge and the conditions that make this knowledge possible. His belief is that that biology provides an illuminating context for investigating a number of philosophical issues concerning science, and he is fascinated by biologists’ efforts to investigate, manipulate, and understand life. His particular interests include evolutionary biology (specifically concerning issues related to epistemic pluralism and causation), and genetics and allied sciences (specifically issues about realism, reductionism, and the structure of scientific knowledge). He was previously at the University of Minnesota, where he was named a Scholar of the College from 2009-2012, and prior to that was the John Dolan Professor from 2007-2009.

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