Associate Vice-Presidents

  • Jacquelyn Burkell
  • David Muir
  • Bryan Neff

Jacquelyn Burkell

Associate Vice-President (Research)
AVPR and administrative support contact:

  • Primarily focused on research, scholarship and creative activity in the social sciences, arts and humanities
  • Champions EDID in research, Indigenous research, sustainability efforts and international collaborations across disciplines
  • Provides leadership for initiatives related to the College of Reviewers, research security, research data management and the Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Supports the success of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western Academy for Advanced Research and research centres through related applications, renewals and activities
  • Oversees various internal and external funding programs relevant to the social sciences, arts and humanities, and to undergraduate and postdoctoral scholars, including Mitacs



Jacquelyn Burkell was appointed to a five-year term as Associate Vice-President (Research), effective July 1, 2021. She holds a PhD in Psychology (Cognitive Science) from Western and is a professor in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies.

Jacquelyn served as the faculty’s Assistant Dean of Research for seven years and chaired the Associate Deans (Research) group from 2016-2018. Throughout her career, Jacquelyn has served on a wide variety of academic committees, including the 2016 URB Task Force Steering Committee – Support for Research in Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities at Western.

A highly collaborative scholar, Jacquelyn is a co-investigator on two SSHRC partnership grants – one examining artificial intelligence in the context of justice, the other focused on youth equality and privacy online. More broadly, her research focuses on the social impact of technology and examines how technological mediation changes social interaction and information behaviour.

David Muir

Associate Vice-President (Innovation & Strategic Partnerships)
AVPR and administrative support contact:

  • Primarily focused on increasing innovation opportunities, fostering social impact and translating ideas and research into commercial opportunities
  • Strategically supports partnership efforts related to sustainability, neuroscience and imaging, smart systems, and Earth and space
  • Champions ongoing development of the regional innovation ecosystem and local and international business development efforts
  • Provides leadership to the Innovation & Strategic Partnerships portfolio, including WORLDiscoveries and Western Research Parks



David Muir was appointed Associate Vice-President (Innovation & Strategic Partnerships), effective February 1, 2022. He holds a PhD in Chemistry from Western, where his doctoral research focused on synthetic organic chemistry. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in natural product chemistry at the University of Alberta.

David came to Western from the National Research Council, where he had been Director of Research and Development for the Automotive and Surface Transportation portfolio in London. There, he helped revitalize and grow the facility by increasing supports for the automotive and manufacturing sectors, and by driving partnerships with private and public collaborators in Canada and around the world.

David previously spent 20 years in a series of progressive roles at 3M Canada, including in research and development, and in business management positions in the food and medical sectors.

Bryan Neff

Associate Vice-President (Research)
AVPR and administrative support contact:

  • Primarily focused on research and projects related to science, engineering and technology, including related funding from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council
  • Champions large, institutional granting programs (e.g., Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada First Research Excellence Fund, New Frontiers in Research Fund)
  • Supports the success of the Institute for Earth & Space Exploration, core facilities and the Bioconvergence Centre
  • Provides oversight to the Western Research Chairs program and advances Western’s success with external awards and distinctions



Bryan is an expert on the behaviour, genetics and ecology of fishes, and has worked extensively to conserve native biodiversity and improve the efficiency and sustainability of the aquaculture industry in Canada and globally. His research bridges both discovery and partnership programs, which has culminated in back-to-back NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplements and the SYNERGY prize, NSERC’s top award for collaborative research.

Bryan has taken leadership roles at Western in each of undergraduate education, graduate education, and research portfolios. He comes to this position after nine years as the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Science. Bryan has served on the Senate Committee on University Planning, University Research Board, Academic Integrity in Research Activities panel, and with partnering agencies including Genome Canada on their Large Scale Applied Research Project selection panel, NSERC’s Discovery panel, and NSERC’s strategic planning committee on partnership.