The un-editorial: How do we forge ahead?

Published On: October 2017Categories: Canadian Science Policy Conference 2017, Editorials


Fabio Balli

Concordia University

Lead for BreathingGames.Net and Researcher

Favio Balli

The un-editorial: How do we forge ahead?


How to start an editorial as a new contributor to CSPC? How to build on the existing knowledge? How to discuss Open Science & Innovation in a meaningful way to the reader?

To sketch possible answers to these questions, I built on the thirteen CSPC editorials written since the last conference. I did a short synthesis of what I perceived to be important in the texts, but I hope it inspires the reader to discover the original editorials.

Melanie Martin shares her personal experience and the importance of releasing resources to support passionate individuals who need them.

Fayyaz Baqir questions how we could adopt the mindset necessary to preserve resources for the benefit of the population, instead of reinforcing poverty and inequalities.

Mark Poznansky suggests that mobilizing venture capitals could help commercialize research and stimulate economic growth.

Donald Stuss advocates for reinforced collaborations with industries and patients to learn from their experience.

Feridun Hamdullahpur encourages nurturing curiosity from childhood to science at home to address emerging challenges.

David J. Scott shows how modern science and traditional wisdom combined can enrich communities.

Christine Tausig Ford acknowledges that the federal budget supports a diversity of disadvantaged groups and contributes to unleashing Canada’s potential.

Tina Saryeddine, David Hill, and Bill Tholl remind us that Canadian inhabitants fund research and that continuously assessing efforts may delay funding essential for the health and well-being of Canadian inhabitants.

Jim Woodgett shares that, while Canada science was restored to its former nobility, it should also take the unique opportunity to recruit talented individuals willing to leave the USA or UK. Woodgett reminds us that 4/5 of the council’s funds are reserved for projects from earlier years.

Serge Buy highlights the need to precise how budgets will concretely support research in agriculture, beyond the review of infrastructure and climate change fundings.

Louise Binder observes changes in drug pricing regulations, wondering if this will increase the access to medicine to patients.

Imogen Coe depicts testimonials of women facing a culture hostile to their contribution and recommends the adoption of financial incentives to ensure equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Catarina C. Ferreira and Martin Geiger propose to strengthen ties with European research, encouraging international mobility and funding to address collective challenges.

A recurring topic of these editorials is the need to rethink the way we collaborate and share resources.

• How to recognize and connect individuals throughout the country – and beyond – to forge ahead?

• How to adopt economic and legal standards that value efforts that benefit the collectivity?

• How to transform our education, to build a more inclusive society, where everyone can develop their skills in a way that benefits others?

Interestingly, only eleven questions were asked throughout the editorials. How can we then move from these individual voices to a choir where everyone has their rightful place, and acts towards a common vision?

• What if digital technologies, 3D printing, and participatory research offered leverage to address today’s challenges in society?

• Can we imagine funding systems that foster collaborations between all researchers, instead of having them compete, and lose the efforts done by the majority of applicants? What if research funds created a token, a cryptocurrency that would encourage crossfertilization between sectors?

• What if scientists were responsible as a group for ensuring ethics, as opposed to institutional leaders?

Open Science allows us to question the status quo, and to leverage technologies for a socio-cultural transformation that could benefit all. I believe that scientific findings are only relevant when they enable to draft a solution to a question that is well raised. But how much time do we usually invest in defining our questions, in regard to the time we take to answer them?

As for me, the most important question for Science is: How can we unleash existing scientific knowledge to save lives? What is yours?

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