Simpson Centre

About the Simpson Centre for Agricultural and Food Innovation and Public Education

On February 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.

Housed at the School of Public Policy, the Simpson Centre will focus on the numerous social and economic factors that facilitate the success of Canadian agri-food and agri-business.  The goal is to make the Simpson Centre a locus of Canadian research that strengthens and supports the growth and sustainability of agri-food and agri-business – especially in western Canada.


John Simpson


The Simpson Centre was named after noted Calgary rancher and businessman John Simpson. Mr. 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. John and his wife Jollean live on the Simpson Ranch in the foothills of Alberta.  The ranch is home to one of Canada’s largest Hereford herds.

John is not only a serious rancher but a serious equestrian. His passion for riding started at the age of five and continued to bloom from there. He represented Canada in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, the 1978 World Show Jumping Championships in Aachen Germany, and the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, where he helped the jumping team win a Silver medal.

In 2005 John was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal in recognition of his outstanding service to the people and Province of Alberta. In 2008 John was inducted into the Spruce Meadows Hall of Fame. After many years of community services, John received an Honorary Degree from Mount Royal University and an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Calgary


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 –  Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice chancellor, University of Calgary.

How The School of Public Policy will Support the Simpson Centre

The School of Public Policy is known for its independence, rigour and fact-based analysis. The School will support the Simpson Centre in research and public education on forward-looking and practical issues in the agricultural sector, while always maintaining The School’s rigorous standards. Those standards include having an independent advisory council, the separation of funding from research outcomes, and the use of double-blind peer review.

At the same time, the School of Public Policy aggressively works to impact policy discourse through the rapid and assertive dissemination of our findings through the media, to other academics, and to business and government.

For more information regarding the Simpson Centre, please contact:

Dr. Guillaume Lhermie, DVM, MsC, PhD
Director, Simpson Centre
Office (403) 220-6295
Cell (587) 719-1801

Karen Spencer
Project Coordinator, Simpson Centre
Office (403) 210-8947
Cell (403) 680-4285

How will it be structured?

The Centre has a Director, who holds an academic appointment in the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Assisting the Director with operations is a project coordinator, who will ensure that the research work of the Centre represents the best use of endowment funds and takes full advantage of the pre-existing resources and infrastructure available at The School of Public Policy and the University of Calgary. An independent Advisory Board oversees operations and provides input on research issues.  This model has been successfully used by The School with its Extractive Resources Governance Program.

Are other faculties or schools involved in this project?

The project of a dedicated centre focused on research and public education in the agri-business and agri-food sector was developed in close collaboration between UCalgary School of Public Policy and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Other schools and faculties are expected to contribute their particular expertise to the Simpson Centre on a program basis. Once the centre is established, it will develop partnerships with other research centres in the province, in Canada and beyond.