A highly regarded chemical biologist with a distinguished record in championing research across several continents, Professor Mario Pinto, has been announced as Griffith University’s new Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).
Professor Pinto joins Griffith’s leadership team after serving as President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Chair of the Global Research Council, Co-chair of the Canada-India Joint Science and Technology Committee, and Vice President Research and Chair of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University, Canada.
The decision to move halfway across the world to take the top research role at Griffith felt natural after his tenure at the British Columbia institution.
“I like upstart universities, those who are not fettered by tradition, and willing to engage in bold experiments,” he said. “Embracing interdisciplinary modes of research and teaching is vital because it’s the real way forward to address global issues.”
Professor Pinto believes strongly in the power of diversity and dialogue in effecting meaningful change.
“Griffith University and Simon Fraser University have a very similar ethos with a real focus on issues that matter, like sustainability, as well as facilitating the development of discovery and practice-based research,” Professor Pinto said.
Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans says the appointment of Professor Pinto will help raise the profile of Griffith as an emerging leader in research, development and innovation.
“Professor Pinto has world standing in individual research capability as well as building university-wide research performance, implementing commercialisation opportunities and fostering relationships with government, industry and community partners,” Professor Evans said.
Professor Evans also acknowledged Professor Pinto’s outstanding contribution to the promotion of equity, inclusion and diversity across many research fields.
Professor Pinto said he was impressed by Griffith’s deep ongoing commitment to its values, particularly in relation to social justice, sustainability, and equity and inclusion.
A recipient of numerous awards recognising the quality and impact of his research, including a Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Pinto boasts an enviable record in brokering partnerships with industry and commercialising entities, government departments, community organisations and international partners.
As VP Research at Simon Fraser, Professor Pinto established partnerships between several academic disciplines and with many industry and commercial leaders locally and internationally, including the Bombay Stock Exchange, and shared best research practices with Sri Lanka’s National Science Foundation.
“We need to think of research as an ecosystem where academics, communities, businesses, and government work in concert,” he said. “We are all in this together.”
With a family tradition in both the Humanities, Performing Arts and Social Sciences and Sciences, Professor Pinto was also excited about the breadth and strength of research areas at Griffith University.
Professor Pinto argues that strengths in social sciences and humanities can permeate an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach to global problems.
“Griffith’s role as a leader in socially conscious research and inclusive scholarship in advancing societal knowledge will ensure it educates global citizens—ambassadors of the future—skilled in the art of creative, critical, and adaptive thought and equipped to improve life in an ever-changing, complex world, in terms of wealth creation and economic prosperity but also in ensuring social equity and global citizenship.”
Receiving his undergraduate degree and doctorate from Queen’s University in Ontario, Professor Pinto has published more than 250 papers and holds a simple but firm view on research.
“A recognition of scholarly impact is what counts and publishing and innovation remains at the core,” he said. “Researchers must also take some risks and not wander aimlessly down the well-trodden path.”
Professor Pinto also has a breadth of experience in research commercialisation, as one of the founding members of the Centre for Drug Research and Development, Zone Start-Ups India, VentureLabs® and Venture Connection.