Managing Director

Patrick Cortbaoui, PhD

Welcome to the McGill University’s Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security. Our aim is to become a world-renowned leader in the effort of alleviating global food insecurity. For this purpose, IGFS is currently working with its valuable donors and partners towards becoming a recognized Institute for education, research management, consultancy, innovation development and knowledge transfer in all matters related to food security.

For the next five years, the Institute is expanding its programming through increased activities, increasing the number of partnerships (both internal and external), and playing a leading role within Canada and the world. To do so, the Institute plans on not only conducting research projects but also managing, advising and providing multidisciplinary expertise to a wide range of entities, including governmental and non-governmental agencies, academia and private sectors. Moreover, IGFS will offer integrative and interdisciplinary services, engage stakeholders in knowledge-transfer and policy dialogue through an online forum, and become a major actor in policy making.

One of the main strengths of the Institute is the multidisciplinary expertise of its faculty members and affiliates which provides a tremendous added value to the Institute further allowing it to stand out among others working on global food security and sustainable food systems. The Institute has also been directing its focus on issues related to water scarcity, food wastage and its linkage to climate change and rural migration, mainly for youth. As such, the Institute will broaden its scope of work with family farmers as innovators while adopting agricultural resource-use efficiency and joining various global efforts towards finding and implementing sustainable solutions without further compromising these finite natural resources.

The Institute plans to initiate the development of knowledge-transfer platforms (online and in-person) and generate certifications and accreditations in global food security (and related fields) to professionals and students as a means to strengthen their knowledge and capacities. Also, the Institute is envisioning the establishment of a “Skills Council” which aims to equip vulnerable communities with special skills, trainings and innovative technologies.

IGFS aims to empower and build the next cohort of future actors in the fight against hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The aforementioned initiatives would expand the Institute’s outreach by developing and attracting working partnerships with world-class institutions as well as advocate McGill’s outstanding reputation in teaching and research.

Patrick Cortbaoui, PhD., Ag.Eng.


Dr. Cortbaoui is an agricultural engineer, food security consultant and project manager with over 12 years track record in providing solutions to alleviate food insecurity in different regions of the world including North America, Latin America & the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East and Asia. This is done through the establishment and implementation of pre-/post-production technologies and sustainable food management strategies and programs that meet the requirements of the producer, the retailer and the consumer while improving resource-use efficiency along agri-food value chains. He has wide expertise in management encompassing Research-for Development, Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization, Strategic and Operational Planning, Communication and Outreach Management, and Team Mentoring and Training.

He currently serves as the Managing Director at the Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security of McGill University, strengthening the Institute’s role and partnership between academia, the private sector, governments and NGOs. In this capacity, he oversees all operations, functions and activities of the Institute. He is responsible for giving the proper strategic direction and implementing a high-quality vision. Dr. Cortbaoui was recently named an Ambassador for Meaningful Business.

Dr. Cortbaoui received his PhD. in Bioresouce Engineering from McGill University. His interest was to develop and validate engineering solutions to reducing post-harvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables thereby increasing food availability without compromising the environment.

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