Sylvia Muyingo – Research Scientist/Statistician, African Population and Health Research Center
Amandeep Gill – Project Director/CEO, International Digital Health & AI Research Collaborative (I-DAIR)
Marisa Creatore – Associate Scientific Director for the Institute of Population and Public Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR-IPPH)
Moderator: Naser Faruqi – Director of Education and Science, International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Context: What are the challenges and opportunities for global health research in a post COVID-19 context, and how can we build on the transformative potential of artificial intelligence and data science approaches including those in the Global South? This panel of renowned experts from three continents highlighted key issues around global research cooperation, data sharing and bias in AI from the perspectives of academia, health care providers and funding agencies. It also discussed implications for future policy and practice in pandemic responses. The panelists showcased inclusive and equitable digital solutions on a global scale, such as the International Digital Health and AI research cooperative (I-DAIR) or the Global South AI4COVID program at Canada’s IDRC, used for capacity building and reduction of health disparities.
It’s essential to use evidence to support decision making. Socio-economic and political contexts must be taken into account in order to properly translate evidence-based research into policy and practice.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, AI has not been utilized to its fullest extent. There have been missed opportunities to use AI to determine the spread of the pandemic and track variants.
There have been many challenges with regards to data use in research during the pandemic, including the use of poor quality data and a lack of integration of medical data.
AI is not always reliable and is not necessarily neutral because there can be data sampling bias, digital exclusion, and a lack of transparency.
There is a digital divide among different groups, especially with AI. While some nations are more easily able to access and use AI, other nations don’t have the capacity or funding.
Actively assess the multi-faceted and intersectional impact of AI and digital systems on marginalized groups. Consider how to involve marginalized groups through open dialogue and discussion. Engage with stakeholders and explain the needs that drive research.
Provide more incentives for collaborations between researchers, stakeholders, ministries, and data producers so that there can be a deeper flow of information between actors.
It’s important to foster inclusion in data, using measures which include promoting open access data, developing and strengthening data governance policies, and normalizing algorithm audits.
The structure of AI must be improved to build public trust. Building accountability frameworks will help guide those working with AI to use it in an ethical and beneficial way.
Organized by: Québec Government Office in London, UK Science and Innovation Network in Canada
Sonny Rathod – Head of Canada Partnerships, UK Research and Innovation
Sam Jeremy – Director Atlantic Canada, Head Global Issues Team & Science and Innovation Network, British High Commission Ottawa
Pierre-Philippe Couture – chef d’équipe de la Direction des partenariats canadiens et internationaux en innovation (DPCII), Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec (MEI)
Madison Rilling – Director of Talent & Outreach, Optonique
Caroline Martin – Science & Innovation Lead, High Commission of Canada, UK
Moderator: Jean-Christophe Mauduit – Lecturer in Science Diplomacy, University College London
Context: Co-organised by the Government of Québec and the UK’s Science and Innovation Network, this panel reflected on the crucial role of science attachés in steering and strengthening bilateral collaboration while also addressing how their role changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring growth and equitable recovery in the post-pandemic world is paramount with science diplomats unlocking cooperation platforms between scientists, diplomats, policymakers and entrepreneurs based on innovation and values-led strategies. Representatives from UK Research and Innovation, industry and scholars discussed their changing expectations and how science attachés can help them seize new opportunities.
Identifying potential for collaboration is the key focus of science attachés. While attachés are aware of the priorities of their own governments and ministries, it is important that they frequently dialogue with their end users and network in multiple sectors so that they can grow their mission at every step and create opportunities for talent.
Funding agencies rely heavily on evidence to show the benefits of their investments to their governments. Science attachés play an important role in providing this evidence through the workshops and discussions that they facilitate.
While the scientific relationship between Canada and the UK has largely been collaborative rather than competitive, interprovincial competition exists between different Canadian provinces looking for partnerships of their own. Partnerships between the UK individual provinces may be facilitated where they make sense, but usually federal partnerships are more practical–the UK wants agreements with Canada, not different versions of Canada.
The pandemic has brought science to the forefront of our social consciousness. In the UK government, it has changed structures regarding how policy is made and how science is taken into consideration.
The pandemic has helped the general public realize how much can actually be achieved when we all work collaboratively on a global scale and dedicate resources to solving problems in society.
International networks have grown over the last two years due to an increase in virtual meetings. Using a hybrid approach in the future would be beneficial for partnerships, as it would allow conversations to begin online and continue in-person when possible.
It is important to monitor and report on the progress of science attachés so that we are aware of the impact that they have. There is a need for more science attachés and more advocacy to support a growing number of them in the global network.
Science and innovation should go hand in hand with commercial interests. We often focus solely on academic relationships when trying to facilitate innovation, while treating commercialization and markets as a separate entity. The two are interwoven and need to be discussed together if we truly want to build bio-innovation in Canada.
For next generation and early career scientists interested in getting involved with science diplomacy, organizations like the Science & Policy Exchange and conferences like CSPC are a great way to meet people in the field who can discuss their experiences. Science diplomacy comes in many forms and people get involved in different ways. While expertise in either science or policy (or both) is an advantage, prospective science attachés should be results-oriented and focused on achieving new things while having enthusiasm for the science diplomacy space.
Organized by: Defence Research and Development Canada – Centre for Security Science
Colin Murray – Senior Advisor, Defence Research and Development Canada
Meenakshi Gupta – Senior Science and Technology Officer, Science, Technology and Innovation Division (BII), Global Affairs Canada
Shaun Riordan – Director of the Chair for Diplomacy and Cyberspace, European Institute of Cyberspace
Moderator: Zachary Myers – Radiological-Nuclear Portfolio Manager, Defence Research and Development Canada
Context: As COVID has persisted, it has strained national relations in some ways and strengthened them in others. International affairs have persisted out of necessity for sharing pandemic-relevant information which has allowed for tremendous scientific collaboration and a kind of science diplomacy to emerge. Yet despite this cooperative approach the pandemic has also shown nations putting their own interests first, allowing tensions and security concerns to persist. The panel focused on defining science diplomacy, how to foster greater citizen engagement and how to build strategic partnerships that allow nations to serve global interests while concurrently serving their own.
Scientific exchange and science diplomacy are two distinct concepts. Diplomacy is a process of negotiation and thinking about other countries and the world. Scientific exchange is conducted in a technical way without being impacted by politics. It can be used to build trust, spark discussion, and inform evidence-based decision making.
The pandemic and climate change are among the greatest challenges countries are faced with today. There is a need for global collaboration and cooperation at all levels (individuals, communities, regions, governments) to work towards global solutions.
Recognizing different attitudes in different countries and the ways in which attitudes affect how people react to and overcome challenges is vital to diplomacy.
Social media passes on information faster than research results from scientists. People feel threatened with the lack of valid information and can lose trust in institutions.
To mobilize progressive global cooperation, it’s critical to figure out how to build and foster trust. Trust can be built from partnerships with mutual exchange and science can be used as a tool to create bridges and ties to other partners.
There is a need for global cooperation, partnership and collaboration to set norms, standards and policies for emerging technologies like AI to ensure they are not used to destabilize international relations or create international conflict.
To achieve science diplomacy, it’s necessary to identify the key outcomes we are looking for and what the intended impacts are. In the global arena, we must all work together towards a uniform goal that is beneficial for everyone, and engage diverse voices from many institutions.
It’s important to engage with technology companies and other players shaping the political landscape and treat them as political actors. Industries must be engaged in science diplomacy.
Education must be used to train diplomats in science and technology issues and provide society with counterpoints to disinformation.
Set up a non-politicized forum for scientists to come together to discuss and understand problems.
Rebecca Spyke Keiser – Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy (CORSSP), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Mel Southwell-Lee – Branch Manager, Policy and Strategy, Australian National Research Council
Mark Ruglys – Head of Research Security, Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy
Philippe Johnston – Chief Information Officer for the National Research Council and the President, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Association of Canada
Moderator: Cherie Henderson – Interim Assistant Director Requirements, CSIS
Context: This panel discussed how Canada and its allies are handling the issue of research security. Countries with open and collaborative research ecosystems are particularly at risk, and the shift to remote work has made Canada and like-minded countries attractive targets to hostile actors with malicious intent. The panelists from the public and academic sectors of participating Five Eyes Alliance countries discussed how each country is handling research security, and shared tips and tools to address this issue.
International collaboration in research is essential. We have found this to be especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing awareness and education should be a priority to support research security.
International collaboration must be done in a principled and secure way. Researchers need to ensure they know who their partners are and have strong risk mitigation strategies to address any potential risks to the security and integrity of research.
It’s important to keep research benefits within the country and allow the local economy to grow and benefit from it. Understanding and disclosing affiliations, funding sources, and potential conflicts of interest is highly important in research security.
Investment is needed to hire the right people and obtain the resources and systems required to increase security around research and intellectual property.
Researchers are already under a lot of stress just to secure grants, so the process for increasing security requirements should be made as simple as possible.
Cybersecurity is a key issue, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with research on the virus being targeted; risks are compounded by the work-from-home environment.
Keep international collaboration as open and free as possible, while ensuring collaboration and research activities are also as secure as necessary.
Prioritize more sensitive areas of research for security requirements to ensure risk-targeted actions.
Developing more standardized procedures and best practices for storing data could help to ensure consistency across systems and ensure that researchers are taking appropriate measures to protect their own data.
Establish clear lines of communications between academic institutes and security agencies so that security concerns can be communicated.
Include more security experts in the academic process, especially for international collaborations.
Organized by: National Research Council Canada (NRC)
Daniel Holder – Deputy Head, International Strategy, RWTH Aachen University
Cathrine Meland – Head of Department of Research and Innovation, The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries – Norway
Mike Biddle – Programme Director – Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), Innovate UK
Yuko Tsuda – Deputy Director, Washington D.C. Office, Department of International Affairs, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
Eddy Zuppel – Program Leader, Clean and Efficient Transportation Program, National Research Council Canada
Moderator: Melanie Cullins – Director General, National Programs and Business Services, National Research Council Canada
Context: The climate crisis cannot be addressed by any single organization, sector, country, or even region. Research in universities and laboratories around the globe must be commercialized if we are to succeed. This panel draws on experts playing a key role in enabling innovation in Canada, Japan, Norway, Germany and the UK, which are all recognized leaders in climate change related research, innovation and technology. Panelists presented their initiatives addressing climate change and the role of international partnerships. The session highlighted successes, underlined pitfalls, and discussed innovation and commercialization policy approaches that can most effectively address the climate crisis.
The pandemic and climate change have proven that neither the private sector nor single governments can handle global issues on their own.
Sustainability is key to our survival, and marshalling innovation is a must if challenges are to be met.
Autonomous systems, big data, AI, and zero and low carbon emission technology are common interests of new governments. Governments should build on shared interests and collaborate with other governments, something the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy has done successfully.
Carbon capture, hydrogen and other green technologies are already being used, but the challenge now is to scale them up and deploy them in the right place while understanding local nuances.
How can we attract new players who are not traditionally willing to cooperate with labs and government–especially when there are barriers to trust?
Mission-driven science should continue to be the focus of governments to help identify specific problems and determine what industry, scientists, NGOs, and policy makers can do to address these problems. Having a strong long-term S&T strategy/foresight group is key. Clear goals catalyze effective action plans.
Governments, scientists, industry and NGOs must collaborate and share information across borders. International collaboration and coordination should be at the core of government efforts.
When countries specialize in certain tech areas (e.g., electric battery safety or hydrogen fuel cells), share that knowledge with countries that specialize in other areas. This will make it easier to maximize the amount of research being done while preventing unnecessary duplication of work.
Inclusive and comprehensive funding calls can support the many collaborative international projects that have been proposed but which often fail to progress due to challenges in finding funding.
International frameworks, such as the EU Green Deal, are important and can help facilitate and create rules for research collaboration.
Organized by: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Alejandro Adem – President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Vice-Chair, Global Research Council
Andrea Ordóñez – Director, Southern Voice
Linda Adhiambo Oucho – Executive Director, African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC)
Saleemul Huq – Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD)
Moderator: Jean Lebel – President, International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Context: COVID-19 and climate change are the pressing global crises of our time and addressing them will require engagement with knowledge, innovation, and science from all parts of the world. However, efforts to overcome these crises are constrained by the under-representation of voices from the Global South in international research and knowledge ecosystems. This plenary explored the value of Southern research and international cooperation to address COVID-19 and climate change at multiple scales – from local to global. It featured leading researchers from the Global South who shared their experiences and reflections on doing research on COVID-19 and climate change with relevant stakeholders in local spaces, and challenging questions of power, authority, and inequality within global evidence ecosystems. It also showcased Canadian leadership in supporting Southern-led research, equitable knowledge production and international collaboration for a more sustainable and equitable future.
Southern voices and research are under-represented in global research and knowledge ecosystems, despite the fact that the Global South is home to most of the world’s population and they are facing greater challenges. Research is mainly designed, funded, and led by the North, even when it focuses on countries in the Global South.
The popular media narrative is North-oriented and tends to globalize Northern problems while undermining issues in the South, leading to further inequalities in research planning and funding.
Systemic biases and inequalities in research planning and funding limit our ability to tackle critical and accelerating global challenges at multiple scales. Simultaneously, we risk leaving behind those most impacted.
Southern-led research is urgently needed to produce local, evidence-based solutions and connect with research elsewhere to inform international responses.
Value and promote knowledge produced in and by the Global South.
Rethink global funding and research policies and build structures to better support South-to-South collaboration and exchange.
Actively encourage the North to learn from countries in the South that have long been facing climate change and have been forced to adapt to it.
Include the expertise of local populations and practitioners in research processes to co-produce knowledge that will be more accessible and practical.
Proactively seek out, read and cite the work of researchers from the Global South, and address both individual and institutional biases.
Share knowledge in ways that are easily understandable for people living in communities (not just for the research community).
Proceedings prepared by Antoine Zboralski
Canadian Science Policy Centre
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Science Policy is inclusive of both policy for science and science for policy. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, i.e., the generation of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly qualified personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of policy for science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies. Science for policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, and criminal justice and others.
Innovation Policy Definition
Innovation Policy focuses on putting the outputs of research (knowledge, technology) into use for broad socio-economic benefits. Innovation policies generally support and promote technology transfer, product, process development, validation, commercialization and scale up, national and regional innovation systems with the objective of improving productivity and competitiveness and driving economic growth and job creation. Social innovation is considered as an integral part of innovation policy. CSPC encourages nominations from all disciplines of science (natural sciences and engineering, social and human sciences, and health sciences) and from all sectors (governments at all levels, academia, private and non-profit sectors, media, and others).