• Suzanne Bertrand

    Quebec, Canada

    Past Chair, ABIC 2012


Suzanne is the Deputy Director General- Research (BioSciences) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi Kenya. She overseas strategy, partnerships and research to deliver solutions to eliminate constraints to livestock production in the developing world. Animal health, genomics, feed, forages, environment are areas of research under her directorate.

Dr. Bertrand’s background is a unique mix of science and managerial roles in government, academia and the private sector, with a long interest and hands-on experience in international development. Her expertise has been in managing stakeholder and client relationships, and building the engagement strategies for various projects.

With a PhD in plant molecular biology earned at Laval University, she began her career as a scientist with Agri-Food Canada, working on forage plants. Her focus shifted rapidly from laboratory-based research to application of modern agri-technology in the developing world. Her first overseas assignment was as a consulting plant physiologist for the Gansu Forest Nursery Project in the People’s Republic of China, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, and was appointed Project Director for the last 3 years of the project. Dr. Bertrand then went to North Africa, again as Project Director, to manage the installation and start-up of five tree nurseries in Tunisia, a project funded by the Nordic Development Bank and World Bank. 

Dr. Bertrand spent six years in the USA, first as research assistant professor at North Carolina State University, and then as a founding principal for a biotechnology start-up company. She was then recruited as Group Manager, Innovation with Livestock Improvement (LIC), a large dairy breeding enterprise in New Zealand, where she managed LIC’s Research and Development Group, delivering science-based solutions in the areas of genomics, reproductive health, animal evaluation and commercialisation to the dairy sector. 

In 2008, Dr. Bertrand became Director, International Linkages for the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology in New Zealand. In this role, she established an overarching framework for external engagement by the Ministry and developed the International Linkages Strategy for New Zealand science.  She was recently Chief Executive Officer for NZBIO, an NGO representing the interests and supporting growth of the bioscience sector in New Zealand. Membership in NZBIO spans the spectrum of agbiotech, human health, industrial, environmental and food bioscience, from start-up companies, to Crown research institutes and universities, to large corporates and multinationals.

Dr. Bertrand has a lifelong interest in fine cuisine, art history, all things gardening, and travel.