Our community is devastated by the passing of Dr. Ian R. Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology at the University of Ottawa. To honour his memory, we have established the Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund, which will continue his remarkable legacy by supporting students, innovative programming, and cutting-edge research.
About Dr. Ian R. Kerr
A founding member of the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society, Ian joined the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section in 2000 and was named as the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology in 2001. Ian identified the need to examine the legal and ethical implications of technology years before these issues emerged as leading societal concerns. His towering career spanned a myriad of law and policy challenges including robots and the law, artificial intelligence, privacy, surveillance, security, digital rights management, algorithms, electronic contracting, human rights, and human enhancement. As always, he brought a unique, multi-disciplinary perspective, drawing on his four-way appointment in Law, Medicine, Philosophy, and Information Studies.
Ian was an immensely gifted teacher, a world-class researcher, a devoted colleague, and generous friend and mentor. He was widely recognized as a remarkable talent, whose impact on students, faculty, and his field will be felt for decades to come. In the classroom, he challenged students to think in new ways and he worked to bring out the best in everyone. At the University of Ottawa, he was an exceptional builder, playing the lead role in creating the LL.M. in Law and Technology, the cross-border Techno-Rico course, and ID Trail, one of the first multi-million dollars multidisciplinary research projects focused on online identity. In the policy realm, his work was quoted by the Supreme Court of Canada, by politicians in the House of Commons and the Senate, and in numerous government reports.
Ian’s generosity, warmth, and good humour touched the lives of thousands of people. Whether national privacy commissioners or first-year law students, he made time for everyone, offering encouragement, insight, and a deeply held view that everyone had an opportunity and responsibility to help shape our collective digital future.
The Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund
In establishing the Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund, his friends and colleagues plan to support scholarships, fellowships, activities and initiatives honouring the legacy of Dr. Ian R. Kerr in the fields of technology law, ethics and policy.
Ian’s vision was to ensure that top students from around the world would have the necessary funding and support to pursue their scholarly dreams researching legal, ethical and policy questions surrounding new technologies at the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society. To continue his efforts towards a more inclusive academy and empowering emerging researchers, the Fund will create graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral scholarships to notably support students from non-traditional backgrounds or perspectives, or from abroad who are not usually supported by traditional funding schemes.
Our vision for the Fund goes beyond the creation of Kerr Fellows supported by scholarships and research fellowships. The Fund will also support initiatives that continue his legacy of excellence in research, pushing the boundaries of thought leadership on technology and society. For example, the creation of the Kerr Lectures will be a new high-level event series to enable distinguished thinkers from around the world to share with the general public the results of original study on important subjects of contemporary interest on current and future technological issues.
To ensure Ian Kerr’s legacy in research excellence lives on at the University of Ottawa and beyond, Daniel Debow and Jordana Huber have generously pledged to match donations made to the Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund to a maximum of $100,000. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to double the impact of your donation!
"Ian was so many things; an innovative teacher, a remarkable leader, a wonderful human, and a friend. He was an inspiration to us, and we hope this matching incentive will inspire you to give generously to the Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund. This fund will truly honour Ian's legacy - to help elevate the best and brightest students to advance knowledge and understanding of AI and emerging technologies, and of how their integration will have an impact on society. Together, let's make the fund the best it can be for years to come."
Daniel Debow and Jordana Huber