Howard Alper

Distinguished Professor

Howard Alper photo

***photo credit: Humboldt Foundation/David Ausserhofer***

Howard Alper is currently Chair of the Canvassing Committee for the initiative, by the Governor General of Canada(Canada’s Head of State), to Enhance Global Recognition for Canadian Research Excellence. He is also Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa. The basic research Alper has been pursuing spans organic and inorganic chemistry, with potential applications in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and commodity chemical industries.

He has discovered new reactions using homogeneous, phase transfer, and heterogeneous catalysis (e.g. clays, dendrimers). He has also used chiral ligands in metal catalyzed cycloaddition and carbonylation reactions, and succeeded in preparing valuable products in pharmacologically active form. He has published 549 papers, has thirty-seven patents, and has edited several books.

Alper has received a number of prestigious Fellowships and prizes, including the Chemical Institute of Canada Catalysis Award (1984), the Montreal Medal (2003), and the CIC Medal (1997), its highest honour.

In 2004, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India, in 2006, an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, and in March 2013, was made an Honorary Foreign Member of the Chemical Society of Japan(CSJ), the first Canadian ever to be so honoured by the CSJ. He was also elected as a Honorary Member of the Colombian Academy of Sciences in 2011, and of the Mexican Academy of Sciences in 2009.

Alper was appointed in 1996 as a Titular Member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and in 2003 as a member of TWAS - the World Academy of Sciences.

He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999, and in 2002 he received the award of Officer, National Order of Merit, by the President of the Republic of France. In 2012, he received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2014, President Napolitano of the Republic of Italy, bestowed the award of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic to Alper. He was named President of the Royal Society of Canada in November 2001, and was its Foreign Secretary from 2004-2010. In 2004, he was elected to a three-year term as Co-Chair of the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Science (IANAS). In December 2006, he was elected Co-Chair of IAP: The Global Network of Science Academies, serving two 3-year terms.

In 2010, he was also appointed for a three year term to the U.S. National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering, to the Science Advisory Committee of the World Economic Forum, to the Board of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences-Next Einstein Initiative and to the Advisory Board of the Global Young Academy (GYA). In 2011, he was elected as Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Knowledge Economy Network headquartered in Brussels. In 2015, he was appointed to the Board of the ambitious Smart Villages initiative. In 2007, he was appointed Chair of the Government of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) which provides advice to Cabinet and the Prime Minister on science, technology and innovation issues, where he is currently serving his third term. The Council also issues State of the Nation reports every two years benchmarking Canada’s performance on a global basis.