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Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Canberra

Professor Deep Saini is the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra. Professor Saini was previously the Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Prinicpal (chief executive) of the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he was also a Professor of Biology. Professor Saini began his academic career in 1982 at the University of Alberta and subsequently served as the Director-General of the Plant Biology Research Institute at the Université de Montréal and Dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. An educational visionary and distinguished scientist, his research on plant biology and biotechnology has focused on the cellular mechanisms behind crop survival and yield in hazardous environments.

At the University of Toronto Mississauga, Professor Saini led major expansions and internationalization of enrolments, hired nearly 100 additional professors, and oversaw a $250 million expansion of facilities. Under his leadership, the University of Toronto Mississauga launched the Mississauga Academy of Medicine (a medical school), the Institute for Management and Innovation (a novel sector-oriented business school), the Centre for South Asian Civilizations, the Professional Accounting Centre and the Centre for Cancer Stem Cell Therapeutics.

Professor Saini has served as the President of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists and Federation of Canadian Plant Science Societies. He has been editor of several scientific journals, sat on the Advisory Council on Corporate and Social Responsibility for Export Development Canada, was a member of two overseas trade missions by the Ontario Premiers, and served on the board of the United Way of Peel Region. He currently sits on the board of the Research, Innovation and Commercialization Centre and the Economic Development Advisory Board of Mississauga.

Professor Saini is fluent in English, French, Hindi and his native Punjabi, and has a good working knowledge of Urdu. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and M.Sc. (Honours) and B.Sc. (Honours) from Punjab Agricultural University, India. He has been honoured by Nanjing University, the Sikh Foundation of Canada, the Punjab Academy of Sciences and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He was featured in India Abroad's "2011 Power List" and is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

A former field hockey player and track-and-field athlete for his universities in India and Australia, Professor Saini remains passionate about personal fitness. He is also an avid golfer and jogger.


  • –present
    Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Canberra