Category Archives: Member news

Budget 2018 delivers smart science policy

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NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece from Dr. Robert Luke, Vice-President, Research and Innovation at OCAD University and member of ACCRU.
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The federal government’s Budget 2018 is an advance for the science, research and innovation communities. The overall approach to gender equity, diversity and decolonization is important and timely.

The government has clearly heard the call from the Fundamental Science Review to increase our investment in research. There is a strong focus on supporting interdisciplinary and international collaborative research, which is essential for not only uncovering new areas of knowledge but for realizing the value of ideas as they are translated into application, products, services and other innovation. This underscores the importance of design disciplines as crucial to Canada’s innovation carrying capacity.

And here’s the big news: “Budget 2018 proposes an investment of nearly $4 billion in Canada’s research system to support the work of researchers and to provide them access to the state-of-the-art tools and facilities they need” (p 82).

This is smart policy. Linking investments in science and technology ($3.2B investment in “research” writ large) to national priorities and, importantly, diversity and decolonization, is imperative for inclusive innovation. It is also in line with other leading OECD countries that set national priorities and focus on the spectrum of research – from idea to invoice – in order to realize the benefits of public investment in the production of public knowledge.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

Saint Mary’s researcher appointed to Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Dr. Kevin Vessey is among the latest appointments to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada(NSERC), the nation’s focal point for discovery and innovation in natural sciences and engineering.

The appointment was announced recently by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

Dr. Vessey joins 18 distinguished Canadian’s on NSERC’s governing council. NSERC is a federal research agency that plays an important role in Canada’s research and scientific landscape. It invests over $1.2 billion a year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada

It is an honour to have been appointed to NSERC,” said Dr. Vessey. “I look forward to working with President Mario Pinto and the other Council Members to help oversee the extremely important work of NSERC in its mandate to support research and innovation across Canada.”

Read the Government of Canada announcement here.

University of Lethbridge Associate Vice-President (Research) appointed to SSHRC governing council

Dr. Claudia Malacrida, University of Lethbridge Associate Vice-President (Research), joins 14 other diverse Canadians in being appointed to the governing council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s science minister, announced the appointments to SSHRC, the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports post-secondary research and research training in the humanities and social sciences, in Ottawa this week.

“I welcome the returning and newly appointed council members to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council,” says Duncan. “This impressive list of diverse candidates will help the council further its support for the social scientists and scholars who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge and helping us better understand the world around us.”

“I’m honoured and excited to take on this new responsibility,” says Malacrida, who has been appointed to a three-year term. “As a social scientist with a long career in the West, I’m pleased to be included and to bring the perspectives of my colleagues to the national level.”

SSHRC plays an important role in Canada’s research and scientific landscape and is committed to fostering greater equity, diversity and inclusion in research. SSHRC invests more than $350 million every year, supporting more than 8,000 graduate students and nearly 14,000 researchers. The governing council meets regularly to set policy and program priorities and allocate budgets.

Malacrida, a professor of sociology, joined the U of L in 2002. Her work investigates questions of power and how difference is constructed, both historically and in the present. Her research interests include eugenics, relational challenges faced by disabled women, and issues of power and medicalization in childbirth practices.

“SSHRC funding is critical to sustaining research that responds directly to community needs and the improved quality of life of Canadians,” says Malacrida. “As someone who has been supported by SSHRC grants throughout my career, I appreciate how these funds support developing talent from undergraduate and graduate students right through to senior investigators working on global issues.”

Read the Government of Canada announcement here.

Dr. Robert Luke appointed to Expert Panel on the State of S&T and IR&D in Canada

Dr. Robert Luke, Vice-President Research and Innovation, and OCAD University’s representative to ACCRU, has been appointed to the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) Expert Panel to assess the current state of science and technology (S&T), and industrial research and development (IR&D) in Canada.

Initiated at the request of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), this assessment will be the third edition in the State of S&T and Industrial R&D assessment series.  Additional information on this panel is available on CCA’s website.

ACCRU congratulates Robert and wishes him well as he undertakes this important work.