New science committee set up to coordinate funding agencies

Ottawa has announced a new committee that will coordinate and support the efforts of research funding agencies to make sure that researchers get the most from the government. The new Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) will coordinate among three federal granting agencies—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). In a joint open letter  to the new committee, Science minister Kirsty Duncan and Health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor say CRCC will address the needs of current and future scientists, scholars and students by harmonizing and coordinating the efforts of the granting councils and CFI. The work of the CRCC will address some of the recommendations in the Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, commonly known as the Naylor report released this spring. Aside from improving collaboration among the research-granting agencies, the report also recommends improving access to funds; strengthening equity, diversity and capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and work with the broader academic community; and, providing more flexibility to allow researchers to conduct research with minimal administrative costs. The heads of the three granting agencies will chair the CRCC on a rotating basis with SSHRC president Ted Hewitt as the inaugural chair. The council heads will also work with the deputy ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Health on the committee. The president of the CFI will attend all CRCC meetings, held at least once quarterly to bring valuable perspective on the research infrastructure needs of scientists and scholars. The president of the National Research Council and Canada’s Chief Science Advisor will be invited to participate in CRCC meetings. Other ad-hoc sub-committees or working groups will be created as needed.