FYI / ATI
Katherine McColgan, CAE
Executive Director — Directrice générale
Canadian Federation of Library Associations
Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques
New science committee will help meet the needs of Canada’s researchers
Government unveils plan to improve coordination among research funding agencies that support scientists, students
October 27, 2017 – Ottawa ON
When Canada’s scientists have the best support to meet their needs, whether new labs and equipment, access to funding, or opportunities to collaborate with their research peers or train new generations of students—they are able to pursue bold new ideas and make exciting breakthroughs in research.
Much of this support comes from funding supplied by Canada’s three federal granting agencies—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—and by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Though these agencies are vital to Canadian research, more needs to be done to improve how they support scientists and students who are a source of new knowledge, skills development and innovation.
That’s why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, today announced the creation of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC). In an open letter, the ministers tasked the committee to improve collaboration among the granting councils and the CFI to the benefit of researchers and students across the country.
The CRCC will address several of the recommendations made in the Fundamental Science Review, including improving support for international, multidisciplinary, risky and rapid-response research; ensuring better access to funding for young researchers; improving equity, diversity and the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader academic community; and making the research system more nimble so that researchers can seize opportunities with minimal administrative burden.
The presidents of the three granting agencies will chair the CRCC on a rotating basis. SSHRC President Ted Hewitt will be the inaugural chair of the committee. The CRCC Chair will work with the presidents of NSERC and CIHR, and with the Deputy Ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Health Canada to enhance coordination among their agencies and departments.
The president of the CFI will attend all CRCC meetings, bringing a valuable perspective on the research infrastructure needs of scientists and scholars. The president of the National Research Council of Canada and Canada’s Chief Science Advisor will be invited to participate in CRCC meetings.
The ministers are confident the new committee will play an important role in reinvigorating Canada’s support for science to meet the current and future needs of the country’s scientists, scholars and students.
“With the creation of this committee, Canada’s researchers can be confident that we are taking action to address some of their most pressing issues while creating new opportunities for them to succeed. I firmly believe that when scientists and scholars have a strong and coordinated system of support, they are encouraged to pursue bold new ideas and innovate in ways that open new frontiers in research.”
–The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science
“Our government is committed to supporting researchers whose efforts lead to profound new discoveries and innovations that improve our health, our economy and our communities. I look forward to the improvements the CRCC will bring, enhancing Canada’s reputation for world-class research.”
–The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
- The CRCC committee may strike ad-hoc sub committees or working groups on specific issues as appropriate.
- The CRCC will meet at least once quarterly. The chair may call additional meetings.
- The Government of Canada has made evidence-based policy-making a top priority, and this announcement follows previous actions in this regard, such as the return of the long form census and the updated communications policy confirming the ability of federal scientists to speak about their work without being designated first.