A day before he assumes his role as the University of Lethbridge's seventh President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Digvir Jayas has been named the 2023 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration in Manitoba. The award is granted by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, Manitoba region, to recognize distinctive leadership in public administration or significant contributions to the field of public administration in the province.
Jayas served as the University of Manitoba's (UM) vice-president (research and international) (VPRI) for 13 years, and as associate vice-president (research) for eight years before that. During that time, UM research funding saw more than 50 per cent growth, to more than $230M in 2021. Jayas established countless partnerships locally and internationally and provided leadership nationally, chairing the board of TRIUMF (Canada’s particle accelerator), chairing the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and serving as vice-chair of the U15 Research Committee.
“During my 21 years of leadership in the UM VPRI office, I am most proud of the initiatives I’ve launched that engage and support transdisciplinary and undergraduate research,” says Jayas. “This includes the Undergraduate Research Awards, that allow students to be mentored by a professor of their choice, in addition to the monetary award. More than 200 awards are given annually and, since the program launched, more than 1,500 students have benefitted.”
Jayas began his UM academic administrative career in 1997 as head of the Biosystems Engineering Department where he led the renewal of the research infrastructure, including construction of the Canadian Wheat Board Centre for Grain Storage Research. The following year, Jayas joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences as Associate Dean (Research), leading a strategic interdisciplinary research plan. During this period, Jayas also provided scientific and administrative leadership for the development of the Richardson Centre for Food Technology and Research.
“I congratulate Dr. Jayas on this well-deserved recognition,” says Mario Pinto, who took over as UM's VPRI in 2022. “The impacts of Digvir’s work are widely felt across the UM research enterprise through innovative programs like the Transformational Partnerships initiative, which incentivizes collaboration between UM researchers and the private sector. During his long career he established a globally recognized foundation for research at UM that will endure long into the future.”
Jayas begins his tenure with ULethbridge on July 1, 2023.