In April 2014, Peter Phillips, was honoured with the title “Distinguished Professor” by the University of Saskatchewan Distinguished Professorship Advisory Committee. This lifetime designation is meant to honour and celebrate exceptional achievement in research, scholarly or artistic work.
Phillips’ research accomplishments are concentrated in the area of global agri-food research and innovation systems. He is currently co-leader of a $5.4M multidisciplinary agri-food policy research network, Value Addition through Genomics and GE3LS (VALGEN™), which runs 2009-14. VALGEN™ examines the role of intellectual property, studies ways of regulating and governing important new agricultural innovation, and adapts and tests engagement tools with the Canadian public to determine their interests, fears and attitudes concerning new technologies. The VALGEN™ team involves researchers from across the country, including from the Universities of Victoria, British Columbia, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa, McGill and Laval. Over 100 students and employees, as well as 60 industrial and government partners have contributed to the VALGEN™ project. VALGEN™ is supported by Genome Canada and managed by Genome Prairie.
He is currently a co-applicant and investigator on a $725K SSHRC Insight Grant on Rethinking Intellectual Property Rights for Open Innovation and on a $1.5M NSERC Create Grant for the Integrated Training Program in Infectious Diseases, Food Safety and Public Policy (ITraP), a unique program in interdisciplinary research and training. He has been an applicant and investigator on more than 15 other peer reviewed grants worth more than $150 million. He has been the author or editor of 11 books—his latest, the Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development (ed. with S. Smyth and D. Castle) was published by Edward Elgar in 2014. He also has published more than 90 journal articles and book chapters.
With a PhD in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics, Phillips has practiced for 13 years as a professional economist and senior policy advisor in Canadian industry and government. At the University of Saskatchewan he has held the Van Vliet Research Chair, created and held an NSERC-SSHRC Chair in Managing Technological Change, was a founding member and director of the virtual College of Biotechnology, and was founding director of the graduate school of public policy.
Phillips has had visiting appointments at the LSE, the OECD, the European University Institute, University of Edinburgh and the University of Western Australia, where he was Professor at Large in the Institute for Advanced Studies. He is associate editor of AgBioForum, a leading on-line journal, was a founding member of the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee, and was a member of the NAFTA Chapter 13 expert panel on GM maize in Mexico.
He is vice-chair of the Board of Directors of Ag-West Bio Inc., which operates a biotech venture fund. Phillips has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Agri-food Policy Institute, the Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, and Pharmalytics, a pharmaceutical testing company.