Research Nova Scotia Introduces Inaugural CEO

September 04, 2019

Research Nova Scotia (RNS), a not-for-profit corporation created last year to support local academic research and development opportunities, welcomes Stefan Leslie as Chief Executive Officer. He succeeds interim CEO Marli MacNeil, whose leadership was invaluable throughout the organization’s first few months of operation.

Leslie holds degrees in international development (University of King’s College and Dalhousie University) and marine management (Dalhousie University). He comes to Research Nova Scotia from the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network where he served as Executive Director. During his tenure with the not-for-profit, he successfully led MEOPAR to renewed funding, increased the organization’s influence with partners and stakeholders nationwide, and launched the Fathom Fund, an initiative embracing crowdfunding and innovative methods to support scientific research.

Prior to MEOPAR, Leslie held leadership roles with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and spent several years with the New Zealand fisheries ministry. His experiences there involved regular collaboration with industry, researchers, and community to achieve largescale projects such as the protection of 1.25 million square kilometers of New Zealand seabed.

Speaking on behalf of the RNS Board of Directors, Dr. Alice Aiken, Chair, expressed confidence in the unanimous decision to appoint Leslie as CEO. 

“Mr. Leslie is a seasoned leader whose experience working in the not-for-profit research sector has provided him with a deep understanding of the environment in which Research Nova Scotia will operate. The Board and I are positive that he is the right person to shape the future of RNS.”   

Leslie shared his enthusiasm for the new opportunity, stating he’s eager to apply his knowledge of both government and non-profit work to help RNS support opportunities for research and development across Nova Scotia. 

“I am looking forward to bringing my background in both government and working with a non-profit research organization to Research Nova Scotia as it works to enhance the province’s research capacity. Close collaboration with partners in academia, government, not-for-profit and the private sector will enable RNS to facilitate research that will play an essential role supporting inclusive economic growth, and a healthy population and strong healthcare system.”

Leslie’s demonstrated passion for research and strong background in stakeholder engagement will be an integral force in guiding RNS’s strategic development and positioning the new organization as an essential asset in Nova Scotia’s research and innovation ecosystem.

About Research Nova Scotia  

Research Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit corporation established to facilitate research and development contributing to economic growth for the province and the wellbeing of Nova Scotians. RNS invests in academic and clinical research across Nova Scotian universities, colleges and healthcare centers.  

To learn more about Research Nova Scotia visit: