Indira Samarasekera Email:


Professor Indira Samarasekera joined the Liu Institute as a Distinguished Fellow in Residence in 2015.

Indira V. Samarasekera, PhD, FRSC, FCAE, DSc, OC was the 12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta and formerly vice-president (research) at the University of British Columbia. She held the Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing before becoming president of the University of Alberta in 2005.

Dr. Samarasekera’s background and achievements:

  • earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976 as a Fulbright-Hays Scholar
  • granted a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1980
  • received the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial fellowship in 1991, awarded by NSERC to the top four researchers under 40 in science and engineering in Canada
  • appointed to the Order of Canada in 2002 in recognition of outstanding contributions to steel process engineering
  • awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Public Policy Forum’s Peter Lougheed Award for leadership in public policy in 2012

Dr. Samarasekera is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. In 2014, she was named a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, one of the profession’s highest distinctions.

She has received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, Université de Montréal, University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto in Canada, and from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.

Serving the wider community in several ways:

  • past chair of the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT);
  • former member of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council;
  • member of the board of directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank);
  • member of the board of directors of Magna.

She also served on the Public Policy Forum of Canada, a Presidential Visiting Committee at MIT, the Conference Board of Canada, and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service.

As an adviser to the Canadian Minister of Environment at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, she served as a moderator and speaker at the 2010 and 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, and the “Summer Davos” in China.

She participated in the Prime Minister’s roundtable on Canada-India higher education co-operation. She also participated in the 2008 and 2009 G8 summits of university presidents in Hokkaido and Turin, respectively.

A sought-after speaker, she has addressed the National Science Foundation in the United States, the Science and Technology Forum in Japan and the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce in London.