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Indian-origin professor appointed VC of Canada’s prestigious McGill University

Toronto: Noted Indian-origin plant physiologist Professor H Deep Saini has been appointed as the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Canada’s prestigious McGill University.

McGill is the home to more than 10,000 foreign students, including from India, who make up more than 27% of the student population.

Internationally, McGill ranked 31st in the world and first in Canada in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. In the Global University Employability Ranking 2020, published by Times Higher Education, McGill ranked 23rd in the world and second in Canada.

Currently President and Vice-Chancellor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Saini will begin his five-year, renewable term at McGill on April 1, 2023, the McGill university said in a recent statement.

He will also hold the appointment of Full Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, it said

“Saini brings to McGill an exceptional breadth and depth of leadership experience, from Dalhousie, several other research-intensive universities in Canada and abroad. He exemplifies the rare mix of strong academic leadership with a wide-ranging and international perspective,” the statement said, describing him as a “collaborative and innovative thinker”.

Saini grew up in India, where he completed his Master of Science (Honours) in Botany from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana. He then moved to Australia, where he earned his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Adelaide.

After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta, Saini joined Universite de Montreal, where he spent close to two decades, notably as director general of the Institut de recherche en biologie vegetale. He subsequently joined the University of Waterloo as Dean of the Faculty of Environment and went on to serve as Vice-President and Principal of the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus.

In 2016, Saini returned to Australia, this time as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra. During his tenure, the University of Canberra rose from the Top 500 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings to the Top 200. Upon his return to Canada, he took up the reins at Dalhousie University.