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Centre for research and innovation in the bio-economy task force

Archived Backgrounder

Centre for research and innovation in the bio-economy task force


The CRIBE task force will assist in the development and recommendation of a business plan for the implementation and launch of the centre.  It is anticipated that the centre will consist of physical infrastructure and an industry-focused research and development program.

The business plan will be submitted to the Minister of Research and Innovation for approval.  An interim report is due September 20, 2008.

Key Deliverables

The task force will:

  • Oversee the process of developing the concept of the centre and work with government staff to develop it
  • Forge partnerships among industry participants and leverage R&D investments from the private sector
  • Participate in a series of consultations with potential partners such as resource industries and end user/receptor industries, academia, government, and the not-for-profit sector
    • Information from these sessions will inform the development of a business plan (including governance model, strategy/business model) for the centre.

The Ministry of Research and Innovation will be responsible for establishing the centre's operations.


George Ross (Chair) - Deputy Minister, Ministry of Research and Innovation  

Prior to being appointed the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) in January 2008, Mr. Ross held the dual position of Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Operating Officer of MRI, where he was instrumental in advancing the ministry's innovation agenda.  In a short period of time, he was responsible for leading major government investments crucial to enhancing Ontario's knowledge economy, including a $150 million Biopharmaceutical Investment Fund and a new $165 million Ontario Venture Capital Fund which is aimed at investing in Ontario's strong, innovative companies.

Mr. Ross has a wide range of executive experience, including extensive work with stakeholders, policy and program development, and government operations.

Before joining MRI, Mr. Ross was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Field Services at the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). In this capacity, he led one of the largest operational divisions in the OPS with offices in over 55 locations and 3,082 staff across the province. Working with environmental and industry stakeholders and first nations, Mr. Ross led MNR's support for key Ontario government initiatives promoting the wise stewardship and sustainable use of Ontario's natural resources and development of Ontario's northern and rural communities.

Ian de la Roche - President and Chief Executive Officer, FPInnovations  

Dr. Ian de la Roche became President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations in September 2006. Dr. de la Roche brings with him over 30 years of experience in research, research management and strategic planning. He was previously the President and CEO of Forintek Canada Corp and the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC). His prior positions include Assistant Deputy Minister at Western Economic Diversification, and Assistant Deputy Minister at Agriculture Canada. Dr. de la Roche holds a Bachelor of Science from McGill, a Master of Science from the University of Massachusetts and obtained his Doctorate from the University of Illinois.

Frederick F. Gilbert - President and Vice-Chancellor, Lakehead University

Dr. Frederick F. Gilbert was appointed as Lakehead University's fifth President and Vice-Chancellor in July 1998. He is currently a Board Member of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (Vice-Chair). He also is a member of the Advisory Council to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

Before joining Lakehead, Gilbert was Vice-Provost of Colorado State University. From 1992 to 1997 he held the position of Founding Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Previously he held academic and administrative appointments at Washington State University, the University of Guelph and the University of Maine.

Gilbert's academic interests include wildlife management, environmental studies and natural resources science. He holds a B.Sc (Hons) Biology degree from Acadia University and MSc and PhD degrees in Zoology from the University of Guelph.

Patricia Lang - President, Confederation College

Since Patricia Lang's appointment as President of Confederation College in 2000, the College has opened five new centres -- an Aviation Centre of Excellence, a Forestry Centre, Centre for Applied Media Productions (CAMP), Negahneewin College of Academic & Community Development and the Paterson Library Commons. Fundraising campaigns for these projects have included raising $18 million to support these centres.

As a result of her leadership, Confederation College has been especially effective in building community partnerships. She has developed strong relationships with governments, businesses, industries, and communities across the Northwest. This has helped to make the college a key player in regional economic development.

Patricia Lang received her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of New Brunswick and her M.A. from Central Michigan University.  In 1998, she won the Dean's Award at Central Michigan University for outstanding achievement and contributions to community college education in Ontario. She was named an Influential Woman of Northwestern Ontario for 2004 and has been called "one of Thunder Bay's leading ambassadors."

Bill Mauro - MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan

Bill Mauro was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2003. During his first term in office, Bill served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.  Bill was re-elected in 2007 as the MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.  He serves as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and is chairman of the Liberal Northern Caucus.

In 1997, Bill was elected to Thunder Bay City Council and served for six years, including as chair of the city's finance committee. While on Council, he lobbied hard for a new regional teaching hospital and helped extend health services throughout the region.

Bill has also served on the boards of the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, the Children's Aid Society, and the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital.  Thunder Bay has always been Bill's home.  He is a graduate of Sir Winston Churchill High School and Lakehead University.

Lynn Peterson - Mayor, City of Thunder Bay

Prior to becoming Mayor of Thunder Bay, Lynn Peterson served three years as a Member of Council and had nearly 20 years of community service. Before entering municipal politics, she served four terms on the Lakehead Public School Board. For three consecutive years she was elected Chair of the Board, and concluded her career in education governance as President of the Ontario Public School Boards Association.

Ms. Peterson was born and raised in Thunder Bay and served as past President of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.  Included among her many distinctions are Citizen of Exceptional Achievement (City of Thunder Bay - 2001), Bernadine Yackman Award (For outstanding service in education for the children of the North - 2001) and the Giant Heart Award (City of Thunder Bay - 1991).

Harvey Yesno, President and CEO, Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund

Harvey Yesno has served as President and CEO of the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund since 1993.  He has wide-ranging experience in both the public and private sectors. Mr. Yesno served as Chief of the Eabametoong First Nation for five terms and as Councillor for one term. For the past twenty years, he has acted in several different capacities for the National Indian Brotherhood, Assembly of First Nations, and Grand Council Treaty #9\Nishnawbe Aski Nation. 

He also founded and operated Mid Can Air for seven years.  The guiding objectives of his career are the creation of a sustainable business and economic development sector in the Aboriginal community, and the development of regional and community institutions to achieve self determination. He received a Diploma in Avionics Maintenance Technology from Confederation College in 1977 and continues to pursue new knowledge and skills by participating in seminars and courses.