Letter from the President and CEO of CSPC

Published On: December 2020Categories: 2020 Message, Canadian Science Policy MagazineTags:
Headshot of a man in a suit with the text "Letter from the President and CEO of CSPC, Mehrdad Hariri, President and CEO of the Canadian Science Policy Center" followed by a maple leaf.


Mehrdad Hariri

Canadian Science Policy Center

President and CEO

I am pleased to offer you the second edition of the Canadian Science Policy Magazine.
When the Canadian Science Policy Centre launched the inaugural issue of the Canadian Science Policy Magazine in November 2019, I could not have imagined that our world would change so drastically in a matter of months. In the face of unprecedented global and local challenges, science policy is more important than ever, and the role of science to inform policy is of undeniable importance.

We are at a pivotal time of our modern civilizations. The grand challenges we have been facing remain the same, and have become much more complex, much more interrelated and much more global as a result of the pandemic. There are no solutions to all these issues, they have endangered the very foundations of our societies. Shattered economies, unknown futures, serious health care crises, significant and multifaceted social issues, including our challenges to social fabric and education system. These all are in addition to major exciting challenges, which we had not yet been able to meet, including climate change, food security, inequality, mass migration, terrorism, systemic racism, marginalization, threats to our democracies, political polarization and radicalism, diminishing trust to societal institutions, and many more.

Looking at the degree of the shift, it seems that the business as usual – or better said, as before – is not a viable option. It is time to rethink and renew many foundations of our civilizations. Bold actions are required at this time: for climate change, for the pandemic, for growing inequality and for weakened democracies. As part of this, it is more important than ever before that science becomes an integral part of policymaking. The time is unprecedented and unprecedented times require extraordinary actions and new directions. We must fundamentally change the mechanism of policymaking, and engage both the public as well as scientists and experts.

The second issue of Canadian Science Policy Magazine includes such timely topics as: achieving net-zero emissions, Canada’s quantum plan, battling misinformation, innovation and science funding during COVID, and Indigenous knowledge and data governance. We are honoured to have featured articles from The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Dr. Steven Liss, and  Dr. David Suzuki, discussing science as a tool to battle COVID, global collaborations and partnerships, and perspectives and outlooks on the power of science respectively.

While the magazine presents the perspectives of the most notable names on this changing landscape, Andrew Ruttinger and Fatou Sarr present the younger generation perspective and how CSPC has changed their vision. This impact where we have been able to contribute to the new generation of science policy leaders is what I am most proud of, and is one of the best values of CSPC.

In the shifting landscape, CSPC continues to serve our growing community by embarking on various programs focused. We continue with the core pillars of our strategic directions, and are increasing programming around the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Convening 16 virtual sessions and three volumes of editorials (66 publications) throughout the year have provided invaluable opportunities to discuss the pandemic, as well as its policies and social aspects. CSPC also launched a resource page to include all pandemic related sources, both within Canada and globally, in a database.

Expansions of our programs have included the launch of the workshops, a new website, a new round of Science Meets Parliament, and very soon, launching a membership program for organizations to become more engaged with all CSPC activities, helping with its programs and strategic directions.

Additionally, our Survey Development Committee has embarked on an ambitious project to understand how Parliamentarians’ views on the use of science in policymaking have shifted due to pandemic. We look forward to sharing the results with the community.

In November, we hold the 12th annual Canadian Science Policy Conference, under the theme “New Decade, New Realities: Hindsight, Insight, Foresight”. It is set to be the largest forum for science and innovation policy discussions in Canada. With panelists from across Canada and five continents, CSPC is engaging the global community in conversations on pressing issues of our time. Though the virtual format is new, CSPC is, as always, committed to delivering the best opportunities to connect and strengthen Canada’s policy community. .

CSPC is proud to be at the forefront of advancing Canada’s science and technology policy community, and nowhere is this better reflected than in the Canadian Science Policy Magazine. On behalf of the Canadian Science Policy Centre, I hope that you find insight and reflections within this issue that give you hope and motivation for our new decade. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to connecting with you – through whatever means, virtually or in person – as we look towards the year ahead.