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CSPC 2015

Message from Hon. Minister Reza Moridi

Day 1: Nov 25

Evidence Based Decision Making has been a source of much debate in Canada in recent years. The questions of how evidence is integrated into decision making; how we should structure our institutions,...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Establish a framework for evidence to encourage integration of science into practice
    • Integrate and synthesize evidence and bring to policymakers in a meaningful way
    • Ensure evidence is accessible to policy makers by using common outcome measures understood by scientists, policymakers, politicians, industry and public
  • Design process to determine when you have sufficient credible evidence. Transparency is key in building trust and credibility
    • Make advice of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) public and make its information accessible, transparent and reflective
    • Ensure the research and policy making communities take responsibility in evidence generation seriously
    • Build a scorecard of how science departments are responding to integrity and transparency, as well as a checklist to demonstrate how evidence used in policy decisions
  • Engage Parliament and establish a parliamentary science office
    • Fellowships and training for science community to better understand policy making
    • Science policy office should be non- partisan & located within the parliamentary apparatus
  • Network and support independent organizations communicating science evidence in all forms
    • Civic engagement and participation
    • Generation of evidence (citizen science, direction of research, evidence on public values)
    • Evaluation of evidence
    • Hold elected officials accountable
  • Promote leadership in Canadian science policy and develop alliances with other players
    • Understand and engage all stakeholders nationally and internationally (e.g. Quebec chief scientist)
    • Explore potential role for the CSPC
A first of its kind in Canada, this inaugural symposium aims to discuss the topic of diaspora scientists and their potential to strengthen international science and technology collaboration. The...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Government is best positioned to be a collaborator/facilitator.
  • There is often difficulty determining who the appropriate government scientists/contacts are that the community should be reaching out to.
  • Identify the membership, institutional affiliations and specialists of existing diaspora science communities (DSCs)
  • There are no existing platforms where diaspora scientists can come together. (e.g. a database of DSCs in Canada and Canadian DSCs abroad)
  • Individual culture is important, but also infrastructure (e.g. funding frameworks)
  • Linking and leveraging the diaspora would be a good way to advance development objectives.
  • Work with Government of Canada to skill-up Canada’s foreign service in science diplomacy and management of international S&T issues.
  • Recommend to federal government that it expand Canada’s network of science counsellors and better connect with diaspora communities at home and abroad
  • Engage with more than just the usual suspects. Business councils have already established connections that could be leveraged.
  • There needs to be a strong value proposition when asking people to join any diaspora network.
  • There are large Canadian diasporas in places like Hong Kong as well as many Canadian scientific entrepreneurs in Boston and the SF Bay Area that can be tapped into.
  • Conduct further research on the current status of DSCs at home and abroad, existing programs that support DSCs and potential policy options.
What is Science Policy? Always wondered but were too afraid to ask? Think you have all the answers? Then this workshop is for you. Whether you prefer “from bench to bedside”, “mind to market”, “...
Large-scale science facilities are important drivers for growing Canada’s future economy and fostering innovation in industry. These facilities present a challenge for traditional science policy/...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Big science is a long-term game, with research solutions leading to technological advancement, industry engagement and economic impact
  • Big science facilities encourage international collaboration and leverage benefits for Canadian and foreign participants alike
  • Advanced research computing is essential to collaboration and must be constantly upgraded
  • Significant investment is needed to scale the benefits of big science facilities from individual researchers to society at large
  • Canada is a small country and must identify niches where it can excel and succeed
  • Issues faced by large science facilities can’t be addressed by a bottom-up, proposal-driven funding model. It’s time for Canada to take a second look at how these facilities are supported.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health threat. Recent studies indicate that drug resistant microbes could cause the deaths of 10 million people a year and cost the global economy $60...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Surveillance requires open access to data and sharing data across sectors, provinces and countries
  • Shift priorities of Canadian Food Inspection Agency from industry promotion to surveillance (from “farm to fork”)
  • Reform how farmers and people use antibiotics to ensure sustainable use
  • Train more experts in bioinformatics who understand and can use genomics data
  • Focus on AMR policies that emphasize harm reduction, health promotion and resilience
  • Coordinate policies nationally and globally to combat AMR
  • Identify proven models and expand them to other provinces and territories
We are told that digital literacy is a critical set of skills and attitudes that will be necessary for today's youth to succeed and participate in the 21st century. In order to contribute to...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Create a federal digital literacy strategy
  • Ensure provinces design a curriculum informed by a digital strategy
  • Be inclusive – equal opportunities for girls, indigenous youth and youth in poor communities
  • Provide professional training for new curriculum
  • Create opportunities for youth to learn how to innovate using digital skills
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Big science facilities need ongoing funding for operations, maintenance and research
  • Back big science initiatives with “natural” advantages
  • Allow federal labs to conduct both basic and applied research
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation a proven model for funding big science facilities
  • Involve industry where appropriate, but not at expense of basic science
Recently the challenge of collecting, presenting and ensuring the effectiveness of scientific advice in the process of policy making is becoming increasingly important. Especially the integration...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Establish a sound science advisory system based on best practices in other countries
  • Reinstate a national or chief science advisor and chief scientists in key science-based departments
  • Commit to an open dialogue with scientists and the public on a long-term vision for science, technology and innovation
  • Establish firm principles prescribing science-government relations and the use of evidence into the policymaking process
  • Create a Parliamentary Office of S&T
  • Ensure science advice is independent
  • Create direct reporting lines to decision-makers
  • Focus on evidence to inform policy, distinguishing that from policy for science
  • Honest brokerage is not advocacy
  • Acknowledge the limits of knowledge and report in probabilistic terms
  • Trust in science advice is critical

Day 2: Nov 26

Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Canada needs a vision and roadmap for big science
  • Funding for big science is the responsibility of countries and the public sector
  • A big science model should be fair and flexible
  • Governance and accountability are key
  • A user facility should be both host and participant to ensure excellence
  • For CERN, all funding agencies agree on a plan and oversee its execution
  • Canada should become a member of CERN
For innovation to occur and succeed, it needs all parts of its anatomy to work in harmony as with the body, thebrain controls the thought process to bring forth ideas; it also controls the nerve...
Widespread access to the Internet is opening up new opportunities for innovation and scientific discovery. At the same time, online science platforms and network tools are reorganizing scientific...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Work with universities from the Global South help them acquire the tools and skills to establish online institutional repositories, open archives and local journals
  • Support a pan-African open archive based on open source software
  • Rethink the incentive and reward structure of research funding and who sets the standards for the tools and for the quality of research
  • Open Science is a commitment to the idea of science for the public good. This is particularly important for citizens in the Global South.
  • Open access and open science calls for new forms of governance, institutions and sustainability models
  • Article processing fees provide a sustainable business model for open access journals but there are challenges
The mining industry has historically been resistant to try new technologies, but they can no longer afford to keep this stance. As mines go deeper to access ore deposits, they become more costly to...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Mining innovation creates new businesses, particularly in the services supply sector
  • Technology development and adaptation key to mining extraction at greater depths
  • Strong correlation between market price of metals and the level of innovation in mining sector
  • Commercialization of technology in the mining sector is highly competitive
  • The services supply sector drives innovation as these companies are most interested in selling new technologies
  • Public-private collaboration can reduce time-to-market by half
The global population is on track to reach 9 billion people by 2050. At the same time, climate change and a growing middle class are forcing the worlds’ farmers to grow more food on limited arable...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Greater collaboration needed between industry, government and consumers
  • Review viable options for public information, including labelling
  • Make the risk assessment process more transparent
  • Reduce regulatory scrutiny for low-risk varieties
  • Ensure regulators have the necessary skills to evaluate the safety of new GM products
  • Ensure separation in CFIA’s dual mandate of protecting health and safety and promoting industry
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Establish a framework for federal leadership on science and technology
  • Create a federal S&T governance board that will bring coherence to Canada’s S&T ecosystem
  • Develop a streamlined approach to attracting and retaining talent in federal science initiatives
  • Take further steps in optimizing open science for greater collaborative opportunities
  • Develop new mechanisms for better collaboration between federal departments, between countries and with industry and academia
  • Invest in government laboratories and S&T infrastructure

 

Disruptive technologies challenge existing business models – creating entirely new industries (think google) and destroying or transforming entire industries (think encyclopedia Britannica, think...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Disruptive technologies disrupt existing business models
  • Universities need new incentives to deliver the skills industry needs
  • Increase digital literacy and STEM education, from kindergarten to post-secondary
  • Encourage greater ICT adoption by companies
  • Disruption can be minimized through open science and science communication
  • Social sciences and humanities can help policymakers better prepare for these changes
  • Modernize regulations to support disruptive technologies
Canadian Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: The Innovation Economy and Society Nexus by G. Bruce Doern, David Castle, Peter W.B. Phillips The book examines eight STI policy domains in...
The scientific community and policy makers are bombarded with information about Big Data, the Internet of Things, and the power of analytics to produce amazing insights. This session will describe a...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Establish a platform for tools and services to address the gap in Canadian infrastructure for digital research data management
  • Build awareness in government of the importance of data access and analysis to generate knowledge from existing and future data sets that benefit the greatest number of people
  • Extracting knowledge from big data requires different yet complementary skillsets working collaboratively
  • Ways of using data are changing as younger, computationally literate people enter the system
  • Privacy issues should only be cited for certain types of data, not all. Governments often hesitant to release data sets for research purposes.
  • New markets for data will emerge when the entrepreneurial community develops business cases for making data meaningful to more people
  • Canada needs to join other countries in establishing a national big data policy that informs both the research community and end users
  • To remain competitive, Canada must become a nation of digital citizens with high levels of digital literacy
« La science n’a pas de patrie, parce que le savoir est le patrimoine de l’humanité. » – Louis (Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity.) Science has become increasingly...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Science can be an incredible platform to drive national and international collaboration. It is important to consider how we can better enable this
  • Consider academic structures that allow more cross-disciplinary opportunities
  • Create more partnerships between industry, government and academia
  • Look to address boundaries existing within Canada and how we might overcome these
  • Build capacity in Canada to retain talent and resources
  • Look carefully at the policy culture of international partners
  • Partner equally with science capacity in developing countries
  • Consider local issues when partnering to ensure inequalities are not exacerbated
Evolving digital technologies are critical to the global economy and to Canada's future economic growth and prosperity. The rapid pace of innovation, along with shifting global leadership in...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Urban centres with strong concentration of digital technologies are resilient to economic downturns, even when anchor firms fail
  • When large companies like Nortel Network or Blackberry fail, much of the talent they attracted to their respective regions remains
  • Strong, enduring industry-academic linkages are a key building block to achieving and maintaining economic growth
  • Long-term, company-specific data needed for effective policy decisions to sustain regional growth
A 90 minute interactive session that focuses on refining participants understanding of the strategic situation of Canada in the open science landscape, defining opportunities, gaps, and outlining...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Evidence-based policymaking matters
  • An innovation economy depends on both basic and applied science
  • A Chief Science Officer needs the right mechanisms in place to work best
  • Promote STEM career choices and co-op placements
This is an interactive and exciting session that includes three groups of young scientists, policy makers, mid career professionals, established scientists and executives.

Day 3: Nov 27

The field of venture-backed investments into early-stage (preclinical to Phase 2a) biopharmaceuticals has seen a shift to a greater reliance on virtual models of drug development.  This...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Rebalance innovation policies to incent emerging virtual model for drug development
  • Virtual model maximizes impact of top talent, regardless of location or sector
  • Public-private investment in venture capital enhances commercialization potential for university-based drug discovery
  • Virtual model helps to build large, multi-institutional, multi-year projects
This plenary session will begin with a presentation by David Watters of Global Advantage and CSPC Board member, on the key roles played by each major stakeholder group (Federal Government, Provincial...
For 35 years since the passage of the US Bayh Dole Act (1980) and the subsequent growth of technology transfer in Canada (the Fortier Report, 1999), the predominant paradigm of university...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Universities have diversified their interactions with industry with positive effects
  • Industry could benefit from more funding for technology development
  • Mitacs stands out as an effective vehicle for transferring skills from academia to industry
  • Industry engagement has overtaken technology transfer as the preferred model for knowledge translation and commercialization
  • Knowledge translation/mobilization including but beyond industry (with government and community) can be both profitable and socially beneficial
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global problem with efforts underway by individual countries, and by the G7 and WHO, to address the issues. As global efforts advance, Canada must examine the...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Create programs that help bridge the gaps between discovery, clinical testing, development and market
  • Consider a federal framework for AMR similar to U.S. and Europe
  • Incentivize and reward the sustainable use of antibiotics
  • Reward novel discoveries and approaches
  • Create more partnerships between academia and industry
  • Encourage international partnerships between various funders and AMR programs
  • Create partnerships that keep resources and talent within Canada
As the innovation agenda grows globally, so does the need to ensure that entrepreneurship is strategically embedded into post-secondary institutions. Post-secondary institutions in Ontario, and...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Champion an institutional commitment to entrepreneurship
  • Provide exposure to entrepreneurship education, programs and services
  • Actively promote entrepreneurship as a career option
  • Build companies within the institution and link them to the broader business community
There has been increased discussion of what institution or structure(s) should exist to act as a voice for science within parliament as well as provide science advice to parliamentarians and the...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • CSO and PBO need a clear mandate and a large enough budget to support that mandate
  • Position must be independent and non-partisan
  • Learn from the experience and lessons of other countries
  • Consult widely before establishing the position, and review the scientific literature on science advice
  • If want oversight and accountability, establish a PSO which reports directly to Parliament
  • Determine how position fits within larger system of science advice
Blogging and other forms of social media can increase engagement among scientists, government and the public. How can it better be used, or used in new ways to influence science policy and how can...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • Trust and transparency are paramount
  • Reference sources on blog postings
  • Consider having an editorial team review postings
  • Introduce academic incentives to reward scientists for outreach activities
  • Support hubs like Science Borealis that draw scientists, media, public and policymakers
The Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) is using the occasion of the CSPC to release its State of the Nation (SON) 2014 report, which tracks Canada’s science, technology and innovation...
Takeaways and recommendations:
  • STIC’s State of the Nation Report offers a data-rich foundation for moving the conversation on innovation to a new level
  • Government can be a catalyst or convenor for shifting from a national to a sector-based system of innovation
  • A Canadian SBIR program is a favoured approach to enhancing innovation. Current Canadian approach of incubators, accelerators and government procurement is not achieving the desired results
  • A culture change is required to reduce the levels of risk aversion endemic in all sectors
  • Policy needs to move from a dominant focus on start-up firms to the scaling of companies with the greatest potential for global competitiveness
This is an interactive session with participation of all CSPC delegates to discuss the future of science policy in Canada and the role CSPC can play. Science policy is undergoing a fundamental...
Takeaways and recommendations:

Challenges

  • Overall decline in innovation/R&D funding
  • No national innovation objectives
  • No industry sector strategies
  • Inadequate understanding of the structure of the private sector
  • Too narrow a focus on R&D, including scope of SR&ED
  • Little effective federal coordination or federal/provincial coordination
  • Inadequate data on innovation performance

Recommendations

  • An innovation strategy must be an export strategy
  • Rebalance direct and indirect (e.g. SR&ED) support for R&D
  • Canada needs to significantly increase R&D investments, more in line with OECD average
  • Need improved collaboration, information sharing and relationship building among innovation stakeholders to improve Canada’s innovation performance
  • Universities should focus more on providing the skills that industry needs (e.g. experiential learning, co-ops, etc.)
  • Increase support for research in the social sciences (represents 64% of university graduates)
  • Look at ways to make it easier for the private sector to navigate Canada’s 70+ innovation funding programs (e.g. consider consolidating programs)