While McGill University enjoys an enviable reputation as a one of the top research-intensive institutions in Canada and the world, the challenge of remaining in the upper echelons increases every year due to new global competition, unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic, and changing government priorities, among other factors.
It is against this background that Research and Innovation (R+I) created a new role to help McGill capitalize on opportunities for the funding of major large-scale projects and to ensure that these projects are executed to the highest possible standards. To fulfill this and other objectives, it was announced that Kristina Öhrvall has been promoted to Assistant Vice-Principal, Research Development.
Previously the Director of Strategic Initiatives within R+I, Öhrvall brings substantial experience working within the McGill research community to her new function. The mandate of the newly created position will be to raise the overall level of research activity by acting as an agent of change, driving continuous improvements in how McGill identifies, develops, proposes, and manages world-class, large-scale research initiatives. The term of this appointment is five years.
“I am looking forward to continue supporting the research community at McGill in the planning and development of major research projects,” explained Öhrvall. “And it is a great pleasure to continue working with the excellent team in Research and Innovation.”
Öhrvall has achieved a number of important milestones for R+I and McGill. In her tenure at Strategic Initiatives, she helped secure three Canada Excellence Research Chairs and four Canada 150 Chairs. She was also instrumental in establishing partnerships between McGill, the Government of Quebec, and Genome Canada. She put in place the successful management structure and functioning of Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives, McGill’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) $84-million project, acting for a period as its interim CEO. More recently, she helped the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force establish its secretariat at McGill. In addition, she led the development and implementation of new bibliometric tools, such as SciVal, which are accessible to researchers and administrators across the University.
In her new position, Öhrvall will have more opportunities to represent McGill on certain external committees. It also calls on her to monitor the research landscape in order to identify and develop new strategic, large-scale opportunities with McGill researchers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how quickly funding for large-scale projects can arrive at McGill,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “Kristina’s outstanding project management skills, experience and drive have provided real leadership, not only for these crucial pandemic projects but also for many other major strategic institutional research initiatives at the University.”
Öhrvall joined McGill in 2012. Prior to that, she worked at Concordia University also in administration. Trained as an environmental engineer, she holds a Master of Science degree from Sweden’s Luleå University of Technology.