Virtual Meeting




In partnership with the British High Commission in Ottawa, CIFAR President & CEO Dr. Alan Bernstein and Sir Mark Walport, former Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, will discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of science with Rebecca Finlay, CIFAR Vice-President, Engagement & Public Policy. They will compare the social and public health approaches to disease prevention in Canada and the UK, and ask whether the pandemic will fundamentally alter how science is conducted.

Dr. Alan Bernstein is President & CEO of CIFAR, and is responsible for developing and leading the institute’s overall strategic direction. He served previously as executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York, an international alliance of funders charged with accelerating the search for an HIV vaccine. From 2000 to 2007, Alan served as the inaugural president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s federal agency for the support of health research. In that capacity, he led the transformation of health research in Canada. He is currently a member of Canada's Vaccine Task Force, which is advising the Government of Canada on COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Sir Mark Walport was the inaugural Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which is responsible for the public funding of research and innovation in the UK. He was Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science from April 2013 to September 2017, and was previously the director of the Wellcome Trust. Mark received a knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours List for services to medical research and was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2011.

Rebecca Finlay is Vice-President, Engagement & Public Policy at CIFAR. She founded CIFAR’s global knowledge mobilization practice in 2014, bringing together experts in industry, civil society, healthcare and government to accelerate the societal impact of CIFAR’s research programs. In 2017, she was responsible for the launch of CIFAR’s AI & Society program to support international working groups and thought leadership on the questions AI poses for all aspects of policy and society. She leads CIFAR’s partnerships with governments and public sector organizations in Canada and worldwide. In 2019, she was honoured as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)./span>