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Professor Meric S. Gertler began his term as the 16th President of the University of Toronto on November 1, 2013. Prior to that, he served as Dean of Arts & Science—the largest faculty at the University—from 2008 to 2013, where he championed many important innovations in undergraduate teaching and learning.
He is Professor of Geography and Planning, the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies, and a member of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. His research investigates the role of city-regions as sites of innovation in the global economy, and the foundations for local economic success and prosperity.
At the outset of his presidency, Professor Gertler articulated Three Priorities for the University of Toronto following extensive consultation with the U of T community:
He has laid out specific strategies, goals and milestones in Three Priorities: A Discussion Paper.
Professor Gertler is internationally renowned for his research on the geography of innovative activity and the economies of city-regions. He has served as an advisor to local, regional and national governments in Canada, the United States, Singapore and Europe, as well as to international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union. He was the founding co-director of the Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems (PROGRIS) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and served as director of the Department of Geography’s Program in Planning.
His research has attracted $8.4 million in external funding and he has published nine books including Manufacturing Culture: The Institutional Geography of Industrial Practice, and Growing Urban Economies: Innovation, Creativity, and Governance in Canadian City-Regions, the latter co-edited with Professor David Wolfe. He is also co-editor of the widely used Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography, winner of Choice Magazine’s “Outstanding Academic Book” award, and the New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography (with Gordon Clark, Maryann Feldman and Dariusz Wójcik).
His more than 100 journal articles and book chapters have had significant impact in his field and have led him to be one of Canada’s most highly cited geographers. He has held visiting appointments at Oxford University, University College London, UCLA, and the University of Oslo.
Professor Gertler is a director of the MaRS Discovery District, a trustee of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, and chair of the Presidential Steering Committee of the U7+ Alliance of world universities. He previously served on the International Advisory Board of Uppsala University in Sweden; the Expert Panel on Business Innovation in Canada for the Council of Canadian Academies; the Ontario government’s Highly Skilled Workforce Planning and Partnership Table; the Singapore Ministry of Education’s 11th International Academic Advisory Panel; and as past chair of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and of Universities Canada.
A graduate of McMaster University (BA), the University of California, Berkeley (MCP) and Harvard University (PhD), Professor Gertler holds honorary doctorates from Lund University, Sweden, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, and Université de Montréal. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He has received the Award for Scholarly Distinction in Geography from the Canadian Association of Geographers, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, the Distinguished Scholarship Honor from the Association of American Geographers, and the Sir Peter Hall Award from the Regional Studies Association (UK). In December 2015, Professor Gertler was appointed to the Order of Canada.