Associate Vice-Presidents

  • Jacquelyn Burkell
  • David Muir
  • Bryan Neff

Jacquelyn Burkell

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

  • Primarily focused on research and projects related to arts, humanities and social sciences
  • Works with stakeholders to better integrate research and teaching missions
  • Champions EDI&D in research and international research collaborations in all disciplines
  • Works with centres and relevant institutes regarding applications, renewals and ongoing activities



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
  • Works with stakeholders to implement a pan-campus strategy for partnerships across disciplines and sectors
  • Provides leadership to the Innovation & Strategic Partnerships portfolio, 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
  • Works to enhance grant submission processes and champion large granting initiatives
  • Provides strategic oversight of internal funding programs
  • Advances Western’s success in external awards and recognitions



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.