Editorial – 30-18

By Mark Henderson, Editor

Kirsty Duncan says Canadian science is back. However, details on how government plans to alter the existing research ecosystem will have to wait. In a recent interview with RE$EARCH MONEY, the federal Science minister was reluctant to divulge any specific observations or plans her government may have regarding science and research.

Beyond saying that she was working with her closest ministerial colleagues, Duncan deferred any explanations until she receives a report from the expert panel tasked with conducting a review of federal support for fundamental science.

Fair enough. The nine-member panel headed by Dr David Naylor has reportedly receive more than 1,200 submissions creating a workload that Duncan suggested may push back their end-of-year reporting deadline.

It’s imperative that the government get the science portion of its forthcoming Innovation Agenda right. Duncan said early-career researchers, diversity and unfettered funding may figure in her plans for basic research — all problem areas that have received little attention in recent years.

A submission to the science review by the Canada Foundation for Innovation points to other areas requiring attention, including more funding for the granting councils and indirect costs of research (see page 5).

Tying these areas together with the larger innovation agenda will require listening closely to the insights of industry, academic and government policy makers. It’s a task the government has demonstrated it is prepared to do.