Managing Director

Patrick Cortbaoui, PhD

Patrick Cortbaoui

Welcome to McGill University’s Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS). Our primary goal is to establish ourselves as a globally recognized leader in combating food insecurity on a worldwide scale. To achieve this objective, IGFS is currently collaborating with esteemed donors and partners to solidify its position as an institute of excellence in education, research management, consultancy, innovation development, and knowledge transfer in all aspects pertaining to food security.

Over the next five years, the Institute will expand its initiatives through heightened engagement, increased partnerships (both internal and external), and a prominent role within Canada and the international community. In addition to conducting research projects, IGFS will provide comprehensive management, advisory, and multidisciplinary expertise to governmental and non-governmental agencies, academia, and the private sector. Furthermore, the Institute will offer integrated and interdisciplinary services, facilitate knowledge transfer and policy dialogues through online forums, and emerge as a key player in shaping policy decisions.

A significant strength of IGFS lies in the diverse expertise of its faculty members and affiliates, which greatly enhances its standing in the global food security and sustainable food systems arena. The Institute is dedicated to addressing critical issues such as water scarcity, food waste, climate change, and rural migration, particularly among youth populations. IGFS aims to collaborate with family farmers as innovators, promoting agricultural resource-use efficiency and participating in global efforts to implement sustainable solutions that preserve natural resources.

Food insecurity disproportionately affects women and rural residents, with 33.3 percent of adults in rural areas experiencing moderate to severe food insecurity compared to 28.8 percent in peri-urban areas and 26.0 percent in urban regions. Projections indicate that nearly 600 million people will face chronic undernourishment by 2030, posing a significant obstacle to achieving the SDG goal of ending hunger, particularly in Africa.

Ultimately, IGFS is committed to empowering the next generation of leaders in the fight against hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. These initiatives will not only expand the Institute's reach but also foster partnerships with leading institutions worldwide, further amplifying McGill University's reputation for excellence in teaching and research.

Patrick Cortbaoui, PhD., Ag.Eng.


  • Renowned leader sought-after for ability to provide expert and strategic counsel and deliver bespoke advisory solutions to global food systems challenges
  • With significant field experience enabling an understanding of the nuance and intricacies of international development programs
  • Broad history of operational excellence and implementing innovative, scalable solutions
  • Embodies leadership by supervision and mentoring of others and through ambassadorship and role-modeling

Dr. Cortbaoui is an agricultural engineer, food security consultant and project manager with over 15 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 system 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 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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