Policy makers research out to academia for new ideas on emerging national issues

Guest Contributor
June 9, 2011

A small policy unit within the federal government has launched a consultative initiative to improve the linkages between university-based research and federal policy makers. Policy Horizons Canada (PHC) (formerly the Policy Research Initiative) is examining ways to improve the flow of information between academia and receptors within government for a wide range of pressing and emerging issues over the next five to 10 years.

PHC has released a discussion paper outlining the issues it intends to pursue, including several within the spheres of S&T and innovation. Entitled Bridging Policy and Research: Exploring Emerging Opportunities, the document was prepared following an on-line dialogue with federal officials and VPs of research from several Canadian universities. PHC was created to serve the knowledge needs of the DM community.

"Our role is to reach out beyond government to sources of knowledge including academia. We draw on knowledge in the research community and what they think is important and what the policy community thinks needs considering, and engage researchers and practitioners in a dialogue," says PHC DG Judy Watling. "The dialogue is a bit of an experiment … We're hoping to pilot some initiatives rather than tackle them all at once."

Working with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, PHC plans to drill down and select the first batch of issues to be examined.

Other granting councils will also be invited to participate and a face-to-face meeting is planned for December to assess initial results.

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Proposed Policy Issues

Rapid changes in information technology

Convergence of industries and technology

Convergence of life sciences, neurosciences and technology

Non-traditional determinants of productivity

Canada's competitiveness challenges

Changing demographic structure

Managing diversity

Integrating Aboriginal communities

Income inequity

Fiscal constraints on GDP growth

Climate change & energy security

Sustainable prosperity, sustainability and green growth

Geopolitical shifts

Global challenges — land, water, air, space, cyberspace

Collaborative governance



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