Feb. 7, 2020

Gift from Alberta rancher John Simpson creates new agricultural research centre

Simpson Centre will advance leading-edge agri-food and agri-business research in School of Public Policy

On Feb. 7, 2020, The School of Public Policy, with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, announced the creation of the Simpson Centre for Agricultural and Food Innovation and Public Education. The new centre will advance research around public policies that strengthen and support the growth and sustainability of agri-food and agri-business, particularly in western Canada.

The Simpson Centre was made possible through a generous gift from noted Calgary rancher and businessman John Simpson. Simpson, a born and raised Albertan, is the owner, chairman and CEO of the CANA Group of Companies, a family-owned private construction services and development company.

Simpson's support fuels four key research areas that will impact decision-making in an effort to strengthen the agricultural sector in Canada and as it exports abroad. Those four fields are trade policy, environment and climate change, agriculture as a major resource sector, and food and agriculture technology.

“Agriculture is of major importance not just to farmers and ranchers, but to all Canadians. We all benefit from advances in agri-tech, accessible export markets and business-friendly policies that help spur economic growth,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, UCalgary president and vice chancellor.

“Several years ago, The School launched an initiative to quantify the contribution of various resource sectors to the economy,” says Dr. PG Forest, director of The School of Public Policy. “We intuitively knew that the contribution of resource sectors, such as agriculture and livestock, were being undervalued and underestimated. John Simpson understands that — and he understands the incredible future contribution of globally traded Western Canadian agricultural exports to our economy. We’re grateful for his generosity and foresight.”

The Simpson Centre will foster collaboration between The School of Public Policy and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine as well as other programs at the University of Calgary to drive evidence-based agri-food policy, new innovations in animal production, and to create dialogue to bridge the gap between producers and consumers through public education,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. We are grateful to John Simpson and the Simpson Family for this unique initiative.”

About The School of Public Policy

The School of Public Policy is Canada’s leading policy school. The School was founded with a vision to drive policy discourse with relevant research, outreach and teaching. Its faculty is composed of scholars with exceptional academic credentials and experienced practitioners in business, government and the non-profit sector. The School’s research is renowned for its independence, credibility and fact-based analysis. The School’s influence is reflected by its wide dissemination among policy-makers, business leaders and the media; it is Canada’s most cited policy school, by both traditional media and academic publications.

About the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) was established in 2005 to meet Alberta’s need for highly skilled veterinary graduates to support rural Alberta, production animal and equine industries, animal and human health research, and public health. In a short period of time, UCVM has carved a reputation for itself as place for innovative veterinary education and cutting-edge basic and applied research, now ranking in the top 50 veterinary programs worldwide. 

About Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High

This gift from John Simpson is part of Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, UCalgary’s $1.3 billion fundraising campaign. Fueled by the generosity of UCalgary’s friends and supporters, we are igniting discovery, creativity and innovation to make lasting positive change at the University of Calgary, in our city and beyond.

Gift by John Simpson

President Ed McCauley speaks on Feb. 7, 2020 at the announcement of the gift by John Simpson.

Dana Fenech, The School of Public Policy