Madame Julie Payette has been named Chief Operating Officer of the Montréal Science Centre (MSC). The announcement was made today by Canada Lands Company, a federal arm's-length Crown corporation that owns and operates the MSC. Ms. Payette also becomes a Vice-President of Canada Lands Company and will assume her new role on July 15, 2013.
"In today's world of fast-paced innovation, unparalleled medical advances and instant communication, science and technology have become part of our everyday life. As a vibrant institution of scientific culture accessible to all, the Montréal Science Centre provides a unique window into the astonishing technological processes that shape our society. Science is fun and science is fundamental. I am delighted to join the MSC team." Ms Payette said of her appointment.
Julie Payette is a Canadian engineer and astronaut who flew two missions in space for the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). In addition, Ms. Payette worked as a crew liaison officer with ISS partners in Europe and Russia and served as CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. Ms. Payette was the Canadian Chief Astronaut from 2000 to 2008. In 2011, she became a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC and conducted research on the diplomatic and foreign policy benefits behind international collaboration in large-scale scientific projects. Ms. Payette holds several distinctions, is a chevalier of l'Ordre National du Quebec and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
The role is a homecoming for the Montréal born Payette, who most recently served as Quebec's Scientific Delegate to the United States, based in Washington DC.
"Having a world-renowned Canadian woman lead this institution demonstrates Canada Lands Company's commitment to the success of this important public destination in Montréal," said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and the Minister responsible for Canada Lands Company.
"We're thrilled that Julie Payette has accepted this position," said Robert Howald, acting President and CEO of Canada Lands Company. "As an astronaut and engineer, Julie has impeccable credentials. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge which will enable the centre to continue and enhance its commitment to science and technology. We could not have asked for a better leader to oversee this great attraction as it continues to evolve by broadening its appeal to a wider audience".
As Chief Operating Officer of the Montréal Science Centre, Ms. Payette will be tasked with strengthening the MSC's position as both a first-class institution and premier science culture establishment.
Welcoming more than 700,000 visitors annually, the Montréal Science Centre is one of the preeminent public attractions in the city of Montréal. The MSC is a science and technology complex that is renowned for its distinctive interactive, accessible approach, as well as its focus on local innovation and expertise.