Measuring Environment Canada's Research and Development Performance (2014): chapter 1

Key Findings


  • Environment Canada (EC) is a science-based department, with all respondents to a 2014 survey of  Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) programs, sub-programs and sub-sub-programs indicating they either use or produce science.
  • Internal users of Environment Canada’s research and development (R&D) are satisfied with how the Department’s science meets their needs, with the majority (83%) assigning it a positive or neutral ranking.
  • Environment Canada’s science delivers on all components of the Department’s mandate, Science Strategy priorities and Strategic Outcomes.
  • Environment Canada’s science is focused on environmental issues of current significance to the Government of Canada, with the majority of publications (85%) supporting at least one Science Strategy priority area.


  • Environment Canada contributes to the Open Access movement, with nearly half of its scientific peer-reviewed publications available free and online.
  • Environment Canada’s scientific datasets are increasingly being made available to employees and the public under Open Data initiatives.
  • Environment Canada’s science is accessible to non-specialists through mechanisms such as EC Science Alert, traditional and social media. 


  • Environment Canada’s science is produced in a timely manner, with the majority of R&D-using survey respondents (74%) assigning it a positive or neutral ranking.
  • Environment Canada’s science is adaptable, with the majority of survey respondents (78% R&D users, 84% R&D producers) assigning it a positive or neutral ranking.
  • The proportion of Environment Canada’s budget and total workforce devoted to S&T activities has remained relatively stable at around 60% over the past decade.
  • Environment Canada publishes across a diversity of scientific fields.


  • Environment Canada is a highly productive institution, publishing around 700 scientific peer-reviewed papers per year.
  • According to bibliometrics, the scientific impact of Environment Canada’s publications is well above world average.
  • Compared to other institutions, Environment Canada’s science is world-leading in Contaminants & Stressors (PA1) and Weather (PA2), in terms of productivity, scientific impact and specialization.
  • Environment Canada’s science is most impactful in Climate Change (PA3) and least impactful when it does not fall under one of the Science Strategy priority areas.


  • Environment Canada is highly collaborative, with nearly 90% of its publications co-authored with external partners.
  • Collaboration greatly increases the scientific impact of Environment Canada’s publications.
  • Canadian universities remain top national collaborators and American governmental institutions remain top international collaborators.
  • Environment Canada collaborates with Indigenous communities and provincial and territorial governments.
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