Sylvain Charbonneau appointed President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation

Dr. Charbonneau to begin his tenure at the CFI October 1, 2024

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Dr. Ingrid J. Pickering, Chair of the Board of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sylvain Charbonneau as the sixth President and CEO of the CFI. Dr. Charbonneau succeeds Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, who has served as the CFI’s President and CEO since August 2017.  

“Sylvain Charbonneau is highly regarded in the research community both in Canada and abroad,” said Dr. Pickering. “With extensive experience in many areas of Canada’s research and innovation ecosystem, he is well positioned to champion the mandate of the CFI.”  

Dr. Charbonneau comes to the CFI from the University of Ottawa where he has held the role of Vice-President, Research and Innovation, since 2017. During his tenure at the university, Dr. Charbonneau promoted interdisciplinary research across Canada and helped create a dynamic environment that attracted outstanding researchers and partners from the academic, public, hospital and private sectors. Most recently, he led the academic team in securing the largest capital investment in the university’s history — the Advanced Medical Research Centre — which will catalyze discoveries in health-care treatment and support their commercialization.    

“As a former researcher, entrepreneur and leader in research administration, Dr. Charbonneau will facilitate collaboration among various sectors to ensure our researchers continue to have access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure,” added Dr. Pickering. 

Dr. Charbonneau holds an MSc in physics from the University of Ottawa and a PhD in Photonics and Semiconductor Physics from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. Before joining the University of Ottawa in 2013 as Associate Vice-President, Research, he worked at the Institute for Microstructural Sciences at the National Research Council (NRC) for more than 20 years.  

During his time at NRC, he was an adjunct professor at six Canadian universities, trained several graduate students, published more than 180 papers and filed numerous patents. Along with three colleagues, he also co-founded a spin-off company — Optenia Inc. — that focused on novel optical communications technology.   

The CFI Board made the appointment after an extensive search assisted by an independent consulting firm. Dr. Charbonneau will begin his new role at the CFI on October 1, 2024. 

The CFI Board of Directors wishes to thank Dr. Runte for her outstanding leadership over the past seven years.  

“Dr. Runte brought curiosity, passion and ingenuity to work with her every day,” said Dr. Pickering. “Under her leadership, the CFI secured ongoing funding for research infrastructure, increased its international profile and launched new funds that support Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy and research in and for the North. She also spearheaded a new strategic plan that builds on the country’s strengths, inspires the next generation of innovators, and stresses the importance of conducting research that benefits all Canadians.”  

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation  

With a bold, future-looking mandate, the Canada Foundation for Innovation equips researchers to be global leaders in their field and to respond to emerging challenges. Our investments in state-of-the-art tools, instruments and facilities at universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions underpin both curiosity- and mission-driven research that cuts across disciplines and bridges all sectors. The research infrastructure we fund mobilizes knowledge, spurs innovation and commercialization, and empowers the talented minds of a new generation.