Editorial 32-4

The recently concluded 17th annual RE$EARCH MONEY conference proved to be another success. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, and already there are new ideas about how to make next year’s conference yet another must-attend event for the STI policy and investment community.

It’s not every day that STI stakeholders gather to discuss the pertinent issues of the day. So it was exciting to hear from a wide range of different geographies, sectors and levels of government. Whether it was in the plenary or break-out panel discussions or in networking breaks, discussions were insightful and productive.

Open and continuous dialogue should be a hallmark of research and innovation. For how else can collaboration happen without open communication. Whether it’s around basic research or commercialization and policy issues, when it comes to looking for answers, it’s always better to bring together the best and brightest from diverse perspectives. That’s what drives research and innovation.

Even Budget 2018 encourages this collaboration through new initiatives. In fact, some funds are contingent upon the recipients collaborating with other sectors.

The pre-budget lobbying of the research community was also a good example of how effective dialogue can be. As many have said, the significant funding for science and research is a product of collaborative efforts in the community to convince government that its support will pay economic and social dividends. The historic funding commitment was made because stakeholders kept the conversation going until there was a manifested positive outcome. And the discussions are expected to continue because the Budget did not respond to all stakeholder requests.

To tick off all items on those wish lists, it is up to the stakeholders to make sure they continually engage with government and encourage them to become active facilitators and participants. Of course, there’s no guarantees, but without the dialogue, nothing will happen. So keep the conversations and debates going even after conferences and workshops have wrapped up — until the mic drops.