Associate Vice-President Strategy and Innovation, University of Alberta
When Riya Ganguly was wrapping up her PhD in physiology and pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba, she started talking about her work to more and more people. She was presenting her findings on trans fats and what they do to our molecular pathways to professors and fellow students, certainly, but also at meetings and conferences.
It was then that she found her calling: connecting with people. “I loved that part,” she says. “I thought, ‘If I could do that for a living, that would be amazing.’”
And so it is. She left her research duties behind and found her way into technology transfer, working to bridge the gap between researchers and other people, institutions and companies.
She worked in various tech transfer roles at the Universities of Manitoba and Calgary before returning to Edmonton, first to work as vice-president of strategy and innovation at Edmonton Global and, more recently, to take on the role of associate vice-president, Enterprise at the University of Alberta. There, she works to develop partnerships between external stake-holders and the university.
“It feels like this job was made for me,” she says. She insists that pure research will always be a crucial part of the fabric of a university, but that her work can open new doors for researchers. “It’s not, ‘You must do this,’” she says. “It’s, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we can also pursue these opportunities?’”