Canadian Science Abroad: A Case for Coordinated International Science Engagement
The Canadian science and technology landscape consists of a diverse community including academia, government, industry and the not-for-profit sector. Each entity within this system maintains a unique mandate, including national and international priorities, according to which it operates. While there is recognition of the importance and value of international engagement, as demonstrated by the emphasis placed on international by each of these organizations, collectively, there is limited coordination within Canada’s S&T community. What opportunities are being missed through lack of coordination and national support to these individuals who are offering their time/expertise to the global endeavor? What opportunities for increased scientific reputation, international influence, and scientific diplomacy are we missing by failing to harness our internationally motivated scientific base?
The Public Policy Forum brought together senior thought leaders representing 19 federal departments, agencies and national associations in November 2015 to discuss opportunities for enhancing the coordination of Canada’s international science engagement. The group traversed many topics and themes, addressing not only coordination of science, but the role and value of science, scientific infrastructure, science diplomacy, Canadian identity through and beyond science, global challenges and wicked problems, our common appetite for change, and Canada’s future scientists. Our report explores the dominant themes of that discussion. Where there was consensus, recommendations have been put forward. More often, discussion has raised more questions that require further exploration. This conversation is the first step in what we plan will be a series of like-minded discussions to explore these and additional related topics.
PPF has identified four areas for further exploration:
- the (barriers and opportunities for the) commercialization of Canadian science;
- how to effectively promote Canadian discoveries;
- the ‘how and why’ of partnerships to support research infrastructure in Canada;
- and, how to break down false barriers to increase collaboration and networking among the scientific research community in Canada.