Dr. Alice Aiken

Vice-president, research & innovation


Professor Alice B. Aiken, CD, PhD, MSc, BScPT, BSc

Dr. Alice Aiken is the Vice-President Research & Innovation at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. She is an active researcher focused on health systems transformation and evidence-informed policy-making. Dr. Aiken is currently the Vice-Chair of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and chairs the board of Research Nova Scotia. She is elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.

She was formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie. She is a co-founder and the former Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, a unique consortium of over 41 Canadian and 7 international universities dedicated to researching the health needs of military personnel, Veterans and their families.

She received her PhD and Master from Queen’s University, Canada, her Physical Therapy degree from Dalhousie University, and a BSc in Kinesiology from the University of Ottawa. She also proudly served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 14 years, first as a ship’s navigator in the Royal Canadian Navy, then as a physiotherapist.

She is currently the Honorary Captain(Navy) for Canadian Forces Health Services Atlantic, and a Dame of the Order of St George. For her commitment to the health and well-being of military personnel, Veterans, and their families, she has received the Canadian Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion (USA).

Read Dr. Aiken's full profile

Alice Aiken, an Ottawa native, first came to Halifax as a naval officer in the Canadian Forces and later earned a degree in Physical Therapy at Dalhousie. She returned to the city, and her alma mater, in 2016 as dean of the Faculty of Health.

When the chance to lead university research came up she couldn't resist the opportunity.

"I’m thrilled to take on the role of Vice President Research. Dalhousie is an exciting place to be and this is a fantastic opportunity. I firmly believe that Dalhousie will continue to shine in Canada and internationally as a research leader."

Dr. Aiken herself has made an impact in a variety of fields throughout her career. In addition to her military service, she has served as a professor and associate director of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and head of the Physiotherapy program in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University.

Dr. Aiken is also a co-founder and, until assuming her role at Dalhousie, the scientific director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. She also served patients as a physiotherapist in private practice for 12 years.

“My life has been about service,” says Dr. Aiken of the theme that unites her professional endeavours. The concept of service, she says, also drives her approach to leadership.

“I was an officer in the military and received a lot of formal education in leadership,” says Dr. Aiken. “But I believe in the power of the team. It’s about the team and the mission, it’s not about the individual. And I really believe that a leader is there to serve.”

To that end, Dr. Aiken says that supporting the satisfaction and success of faculty members and students is one of her key objectives.

"I am looking forward to working with President Florizone and the leadership team, faculty, researchers and staff, as we continue to expand our opportunities for pioneering research."

Quick facts

  • Received her PhD and master's degrees from Queen's University
  • Is an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel for Canadian Forces Health Services
  • Rides a motorcycle