Canada is now home to a number of Big Science research facilities — very large research infrastructures that cost upwards of $100 million, take years to build and operate on decade-long time scales. While these facilities have a powerful impact on the quality and competitiveness of Canadian science, there is no established policy framework in Canada for considering, evaluating and overseeing large-scale research infrastructures. In this context, how can we keep decisions from being made in an ad hoc fashion, without a systematic evaluation of excellence and potential benefits for Canada, or an assessment of the impact such massive investments will have on our capacity as an innovative nation?
Dr. Gilles Patry, the President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), proposes to lead a discussion with some of the world’s top international experts on what direction Canada should consider in developing and implementing a Big Science policy framework, what lessons can be learned from a variety of international experiences and how we can best ensure national coordination in aspects such as road mapping, priority setting, merit review, funding models, governance and management assessments, and decision-making processes.
The discussion will draw on the expertise and wide-ranging experiences of the panel members to help the CFI, along with the Government of Canada, shape a Big Science policy framework suitable for the Canadian context and capable of driving the quality of Canadian science to the next level. This panel session will be a unique opportunity for CSPC and for the Canadian research community. Never before has such a discussion, involving international experts at the chief executive level, taken place in Canada.