About The
Simpson Centre


Our mission is to strengthen and support Canada’s agriculture and agri-foods sectors through focused, evidence-based, practical policy analysis on trade, the environment, and innovation. Agriculture in Canada is a major driver of economic growth, and we are here to help make that happen, sustainably and responsibly.

Vision 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 focuses 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.


The School of Public Policy is known for its independence, rigour and fact-based analysis. The School supports 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.

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 ensures 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.

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. This transdisciplinary model also involves other schools and faculties contributing their particular expertise to the Simpson Centre on a program basis. The Simpson Centre is actively developing partnerships with other research centres in the province, in Canada and beyond.

About 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 & Vice Chancellor, University of Calgary

Our Partners

Partnership is a critical aspect to achieving the Simpson Centre’s goals. We are networked with leading organizations in Canada’s agriculture space. We place great value on our partners, and the Simpson Centre’s work is richer because of them. The School of Public Policy gratefully acknowledges the support of our funding partners. Here, we feature current funders of the Simpson Centre’s research.  Please contact us if you would like to join our network of supporters.