Government unveils plans to strengthen fundamental research in Canada
Science Minister Kirsty Duncan delivers vision for science to Canadian Science Policy Conference
November 2, 2017 – Ottawa
Strong science is the foundation for the transformative discoveries and innovations that improve our world: new medical therapies, artificial intelligence technologies, novel agricultural practices and more. That’s why developing a long-term plan for science in Canada is critical to ensuring researchers have the support they need to continue asking bold questions, training new generations of students and making a difference through the sciences.
Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, outlined the government’s vision for science at the annual Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa. The plan the Minister articulated was informed by her mandate letter, the recommendations made in Canada’s Fundamental Science Review and her many interactions with talented researchers and students working in facilities across the country.
The Minister’s vision is summed up in three points: strengthen science, strengthen evidence-based decision making and strengthen the culture of curiosity in Canada. The Minister is delivering on these points through a variety of actions, the most recent of which include:
- implementing changes to the Canada Research Chairs program, such as limiting renewals of the Tier 1 Chairs, to increase diversity, equity and inclusiveness;
- establishing a new Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) to improve collaboration among the three federal granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to the benefit of researchers;
- charging the Chief Science Advisor with assessing the merits of creating a network of departmental chief science advisors in government;
- announcing new investments in research and research infrastructure, such as $554 million through the CFI’s Innovation Fund, for the new tools and facilities researchers need to make discoveries and train the next generation of students; and
- building on the success of the first Prime Minister’s Science Fair by encouraging more youth to consider a career in the STEM disciplines.
These, along with the many other actions the Minister has taken to date to invest in and support science, are part of a multi-year plan that will foster world-class research and deliver on Canada’s growth objectives.
“Our government understands that if we are to fulfil our goals of building a strong economy, promoting a cleaner environment and growing the middle class, we must rely on science. The work of researchers across our country drives our ability to make evidence-based decisions about our health and safety, our communities, and our future prosperity. I firmly believe a shared vision for science will ensure that we have a strong research foundation to draw on for years to come.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science
In addition to limiting renewals for Tier 1 Chairs to a maximum of two 7-year terms, Minister Duncan also announced further changes to the Canada Research Chairs program that will foster greater equity and diversity.
The Canada Research Coordinating Committee was launched on October 27, 2017, and will include the presidents of the three granting councils, who will chair the committee on a rotating basis. The committee will also call on the expertise of the Chief Science Advisor, the president of the National Research Council and the deputy ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Health Canada.
The Minister of Science commissioned Canada’s Fundamental Science Review and is now in the process of implementing many of the recommendations for strengthening science in Canada made by the independent review panel.
Ann Marie Paquet
Office of the Minister of Science
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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