Op Ed – Review of Basic Science
Canadians have come to expect their government to engage them in meaningful dialogue about the future of the country. Our government is living up to their expectations with a series of consultations about issues ranging from the environment and infrastructure to innovation and science.
Much of this dialogue has migrated online, making it easier than ever before for more Canadians to share their views. We take their thoughts seriously. We are listening. The perspectives of all Canadians will guide us as we work together to build a strong country and a strong, vibrant middle class.
Canada’s scientists are part of the discussion. Our government values science, the hard work of scientists, and evidence-based decision making. Science helps us understand the world we live in, drives innovation and provides the data needed to make sound policy that will improve our environment and climate, economy and society.
In June, I appointed a nine-member panel to conduct an independent review of federal support for fundamental science in Canada. The panel includes several distinguished research leaders, including Dr. David Naylor, Chair of the panel and former president of the University of Toronto; Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of BlackBerry Ltd. and Quantum Valley Investments; Dr. Art McDonald, Canada’s most recent Nobel Laureate; Dr. Martha Piper, former president of the University of British Columbia; Dr. Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec; and Dr. Anne Wilson, an emerging researcher at Wilfred Laurier University.
The panel’s goal is to examine the funding mechanisms the Government of Canada employs to support basic science. The panel’s consultations—with researchers, stakeholders and Canadians—have addressed issues such as what is working well in the system, where the gaps are and what can be done to ensure scientists continue to receive the support they need to pursue their research.
After months of constructive dialogue and meaningful feedback, the panel’s consultation period comes to a close on Friday, September 30, 2016. There are only five days remaining, and I encourage all Canadians to visit the panel’s website, sciencereview.ca, to contribute their perspective on the role of research in our society and what we can do together to build a better future for science and our scientists in Canada.