UWinnipeg Names First Principal Of Richardson College For The Environment

Dr. Michael Mehta

Dr. Michael Mehta, currently Executive Director of the Population Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta.

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg’s new Richardson College for the Environment has attracted a leading scholar in nanotechnology, climate change and other pressing health and environmental risk issues to become its founding Principal. Dr. Michael Mehta, currently Executive Director of the Population Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta, will assume his new role at UWinnipeg on October 15, 2008.
Dr. Mehta brings with him a wealth of experience specializing in science, technology and society. He holds a BA in Psychology, a Master of Environmental Studies, a Ph.D in Sociology and he did a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Environmental Policy.

He is at the forefront of research in the evolving field of nanomedicine and the health and environmental risks that must be managed by these emerging technologies. Nanoengineered materials are now appearing in common consumer products such as sunscreens and clothing fibers and are poised to touch all aspects of daily life.

“The Richardson College for the Environment represents a bold, new approach to linking the community to The University of Winnipeg and will provide a focal point for exploring and resolving environmental issues in a fresh and exciting way,” said Dr. Mehta. “I am deeply honoured to be named its first Principal. Thanks to the generosity of the Richardson family, the support of The University of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba, and the vision of President Axworthy and others in the faculty and senior administration, this new College can and will be greater than the sum of its parts.”

Dr. Mehta is widely published, authoring five books including Biotechnology Unglued – Science, Society and Social Cohesion; Risky Business: Nuclear Power and Public Protest in Canada and Nanotechnology – Risk, Ethics and Law (co-authored with Geoffrey Hunt.) He has won numerous awards such as Chief Scientist Distinguished Lecturer for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Science, Technology, Advancement of Science, Health Canada (2007), The Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2006), and Agriculture Genomics Award, Genome Canada (2003).

“We are honoured Dr. Mehta is taking on this key leadership role at the Richardson College for the Environment,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President & Vice-Chancellor of UWinnipeg. “His proven ability in leading interdisciplinary programs, and his own leading edge research on the social and ethical dimensions of nanotechnology and biotechnology will add depth and breadth to our program.”

“Dr. Mehta’s field of research, the environmental, social and ethical dimensions of new technologies, is a perfect fit for the transdisciplinary mandate of the Richardson College,” said Brian Stevenson, Vice-President, Academic, UWinnipeg. “His work is also a great complement for our new graduate program in BioScience, Technology & Public Policy, which begins this September.”

The Richardson College for the Environment is contained within the new science complex UWinnipeg is constructing on Portage Avenue between Furby and Langside streets. The College exists to foster greater understanding of emerging issues facing our planet, including forest and urban ecology, the global north, water resources, the environment and health. Construction of the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex is expected to be completed in 2010.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION
Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135 E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

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