Professor Philippe Crabbé was born in Belgium where he obtained a Doctorate of Law and a Master's degree in Economics in 1958 and 1962 respectively from the University of Louvain. He obtained a degree in quantitative Economics in Paris in 1962 as well and spent two years at the Institut national d'études démoraphiques, conducting research on Medical Economics and Demography. He spent five years at Harvard working on quantitative Economics and on the valuation of human lives in economic decisions. He joined the National Energy Board as an economist in 1967 to work on the econometrics of the demand for energy and the exploration for oil and gas. He joined the University of Ottawa, Department of Economics, in 1969 where he became Professor of Economics of Natural Resources and of the Environment. He became Chair of the Department in 1973. He was visiting professor at the Centre for Research on Operations Research and Econometrics of the University of Louvain, and at Laval University and the University of British-Columbia.

He was the co-editor of one of the first books on the Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment in Canada. He is a past President of the Société canadienne de Sciences économiques. He is widely published in Forestry, Fishery, Mining and Environmental Economics. He became the first Director of the Institute for Research on Environment and Economy at the University of Ottawa, an interdisciplinary and interfaculty institute which focuses on sustainable development. He was the Principal Investigator of the $2.25 million "Ecosystem Recovery on the St. Lawrence" Eco-Research project, one of the ten funded by Environment Canada under the Green Plan. He recently published a booklet on Sustainable Development.