September 12, 2023
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Karen Bakker, PhD, who until very recently was a member of the NRC Council. Karen had been a member since June 2019 and was re-appointed for a second mandate in September 2022. As a Council member, Karen was an insightful and a compelling voice for research excellence, the mobilization of digital technologies, and inclusive innovation.
An interdisciplinary environmental scientist, Karen earned her B.A&Sc. from McMaster University in 1995, and her PhD in 1999 from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Karen was a former Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology at the University of British Columbia. In 2015, she was awarded Annenberg Fellowship in Communication by Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences; in the same year, she was also a Cox Visiting Professor at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. Her research was recognized by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Impact Award in 2017. She was also the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2022. An author of more than 100 academic publications and 7 books, Karen has left a remarkable legacy of achievement and impact.
Karen regularly acted as an advisor to national and international organizations, and was a past board member of the International Institute of Sustainable Development, as well as the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Council of Canadian Academies. Karen also served as Vice‑President, Strategy for Vancouver-based Riipen, a Future of Work tech platform.
We extend our deepest condolences to Karen's family and friends and her many colleagues and collaborators. We will miss her friendship, wise counsel and enthusiasm for the NRC's work.