A total of 51 proposals were received for this year’s conference. Thank you to everyone who took the time to make a submission.
An Exhilarating Program Featuring 21 Panel Sessions
CSPC 2012 will feature 21 panel sessions exploring the four conference themes, with over 70 invited speakers from across Canadian private sector, government, academic, and non-profit communities. This year all of the sessions have been proposed, developed, and organized by members of the broader Canadian S&T policy community.
Theme 1: Innovating on energy supply and demand for more sustainable resource management: a critical test for the integration of science, technology and policy
Environmental Management of the Alberta Oil Sands Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Andrew Miall
University of Toronto
Environmental management of the Alberta Oil Sands is Canada's biggest environmental issue. Because of unresolved issues of air and water pollution, the industry has yet to win a complete "social licence" to exploit this resource, and has recognized the need to "up its game" with regard to environmental management. The panel will outline the background of oil sands management, going back to the beginning of the modern industry era, and will summarize the recommendations that have been made to the two levels of government with regard to environmental science policy. Dr. Schindler will address some of the major scientific issues. Tackling these problems at the highest level is why COSIA was formed.
This organization, which was created at the top level of industry management, by the CEOs of the largest industry participants, is in the process of establishing a properly managed scientific monitoring program. This is very much a work in progress. Meanwhile, concerns by First Nations regarding their integration into environmental evaluation and management remain unaddressed.
Complex Biofuels Public Policy Challenges – Leadership, Policy Development and Regulatory Approaches Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Stuart Smyth
University of Saskatchewan
Bioenergy, specifically transport biofuels, is becoming an increasingly important strategic priority for Canada. Biofuels policy intersects regulatory and governance issues around science and technology, domestic and international trade, energy security, environmental sustainability, agricultural productivity, economic development especially in rural areas, and a number of other key areas.
The extent to which Canada realizes net societal benefits from a domestic biofuels sector will depend upon the successful coordination of federal and provincial bioenergy policies and the development of a more integrated environmental governance structure. At the present time, a science-based consensus on sustainability criteria and a standard methodology for environmental impact assessments have yet to be achieved, notwithstanding the existence of a multiplicity of federal and provincial support programmes established to foster the domestic biofuels industry. And while crucial progress has been made in the inventory and identification of bioenergy feedstocks, there is a paucity of reliable, country-specific baseline data to support various environmental claims (both positive and negative) made in relation to biofuels production and consumption.
Managing the complexities of biofuels governance is a major challenge. During this panel discussion, we will identify key priority areas for coordination at the national and international perspective. Expert policy researchers and makers will provide insights into these priority areas including standardization and coordination of methods, mandates and public engagement. The goal of the panel discussion will be to establish priority barriers to biofuels policy development at a national and international level, and to develop an action plan for leadership in defining mandates, setting targets, and facilitating federal-provincial collaboration.
Energy Innovation and the Role of Government in Canada’s Energy Future Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Zhewhen Chen
Waterloo Global Science Initiative
How is Canada reacting and adapting to the swiftly changing landscape of energy in the domains of science policy and innovation? What are the roles of the private sector and civil society in facilitating the transition? What are the best and latest in the energy technological space? Our panel session at CSPC 2012 will tackle these timely questions, drawing on expertise from the private sector, Canada’s energy innovation ecosystem, public NGOs, and academia. More specifically, we propose discussion along the following major subject areas:
Innovative Ideas and the Role of NGOs—the Waterloo Global Science Initiative’s (WGSI) Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 sets the context—transformation of Canada’s energy infrastructure into a coherent low-carbon electricity ecosystem—for discussion. In this critical transition, the roles of private sector and civil society will be examined:
- What are Canada’s most interesting and innovative energy NGOs and think-tanks? Where are they and what are they doing?
- To what extent have they acted as experts and participated in scientific communities surrounding energy policy issues?
- Can NGOs drive energy transitions in technology, policy, and energy use among Canadians, through research and advocacy?
- How are they contributing in research cycles in terms of fostering the relevance and effectiveness of scientific research, setting priority for science policy, and translating knowledge to action?
- How do NGOs interact with industry and government in the energy space? What kind of partnerships could be forged among them?
Innovations and the Role of Private Sector—How will Canadian energy and natural resources markets and industry react and adapt to the changing technological and policy landscape:
- Electricity system management, oil sands developments and regulation, and the potential for collaboration among private sector players and with public and civil society partners to stimulate innovation.
- What innovative solutions are being adopted in the energy business to address Canadian energy challenges of today and tomorrow? What is the right mix of private sector financing and public money to spur Canadian energy innovation?
- Is the clean energy/cleantech sector economically sustainable without public financing?
- Is there a link or an interaction between innovation in traditional Canadian energy (oil, gas, nuclear, fracking, oilsands, oilfield services, geological mining) and emerging renewables?
- What can we learn about public attitudes towards new energy services, for instance, from the smart grid experiences of Ontario and BC?
- What public infrastructure is most needed to support private sector and NGOs in energy innovation? (e.g. smart grids? Net metering? Tax incentive? Interconnectivity standards? Upgraded transmission capacity?)
Marine Renewable Energy – Resources for Sustainable Energy and Marine Industry Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Paolo Marcazzan
UK Science and Innovation Network (British Consulate General Vancouver); Marine Renewables Canada (formerly OREG)
This panel will examine policy aspects relevant to the marine renewable energy sector, seeking to: a) inform the science policy community of this developing field and highlight current and future steps to bring this sector to large scale commercialization; b) introduce some of the key players from Canada and the UK, two countries that are leading integration of science, technology, engineering into an industrial pathway; c) identify and address gaps and potential synergies for development and international alignment of policies in this field . Panelists have been selected and/or identified from key members of the marine renewable energy communities in the UK and Canada, and include representation from government, industry and academia.
Theme 2: Re-imagining Canadian Healthcare: How innovation in science and policy can contribute to a more sustainable system
Next Generation e-Health: Integrating Research, Policy, Industry and Providers for Sustainable Healthcare Improvement across the Care Continuum Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Laurel Taylor
CIHR-Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
How can an integrated approach to innovation contribute to a sustainable system in Canada using e-health as an example? What is the value that research/policy/industry/provider can provide to the innovation chain to improve quality and continuity of care and ultimately health outcomes? What critical elements need to be in place with respect to research, policy, industry and providers to support real and sustained innovation? What gaps exist in the research/policy/industry/provider domains that may be barriers to innovation in Canada in the e-health domain?
Building Sustainable Healthcare: Policies, Perceptions and an Aging Population Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Alison Hebbs
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Year-long surgery wait times. Six month waiting lists for nursing homes. 15 hour emergency room holdups. These common (mis)perceptions of Canada’s healthcare system shape the public’s response to – and attitudes towards – developing sustainable healthcare policies.
But what is the reality of our healthcare system – and does it matter? Building a sustainable healthcare system will not only require addressing public perceptions, but also nimble responses to the changing needs of an aging society. The challenges of sustainable healthcare will be compounded as the demand for caregivers increases, and as the purse-strings of government tighten in the face of continued economic austerity.
Join Canada Research Chair in Aging and Caregiving Janice Keefe; expert, doctor and consultant Michael Rachlis; and political scientist Stuart Soroka for an inspiring conversation chaired by Antonia Maioni as they explore health and caregiving policy, public perceptions of Canadian healthcare, and how to build a sustainable healthcare system in tandem with these challenging realities.
The Power of Food: Improving the Health of Canadians Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Cornelia Kreplin
Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions
The question for debate is: "Does Canada need a national food and beverage policy or legislative framework that results in food as a contributor to improved health of Canadians? Is the current body of science sufficient to inform development of policy/legislation?"
There are three basic positions that could be taken: A) No government intervention is necessary. Canadian consumers decide the impact of food on their health through their dietary choices. Food manufacturers are guided by market signals. B) Government has a role to play by providing guidance to food and beverage manufacturers and advising consumers of healthy food choices. However, adherence to guidelines is voluntary as government has decided not to control food product attributes. C) Recognizing the significant impact that food has on health of Canadians, Government has decided to enact legislation that limits quantities of ingredients that could have a detrimental impact on health (i.e. salt, sugar and transfat) and encourages increased content of substances that are recognized to have a health benefit (i.e. fibre).
Panelists will be asked to outline why the position must be taken, whether they really believe it is the right thing to do and what the challenges to implementation might be.
Theme 3: Food, Fuel and Farmers: Agriculture at the convergence of multi-disciplinary science policy issues
Innovation and Agriculture and the Role of Policy Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Isabel Dopta
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Agriculture is changing rapidly in response to changing global markets and competition, new technologies and new research into the relationships among agriculture, food, health and sustainability. These changes provide new opportunities for Canadian farmers and food companies, but also new challenges. Innovation will be a critical element in the survival and success of Canada’s agriculture and food industry. Innovation takes many forms - product, process and organizational - and the process of innovating is changing. Firms and farms are no longer innovating alone, most reach out to partner with supply chain and knowledge partners to access ideas and skills. Governments are also partners in their endeavours, either as active participants or through the policy environment surrounding firms and shaping their innovation activities. This moderated session will examine the changes in Canada’s agri-food industry and how those changes are changing innovation in Canada’s farms and food firms. It will also examine the current policy frameworks and the new directions needed to enhance agri-food innovation in Canada.
Livestock Genomics and Society Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Ellen Goddard
Livestock Gentec Centre
Technology continues to be important in increasing agricultural production to feed a growing population and dealing with challenges such as climate change. Livestock agriculture is potentially contentious because of the possible inefficiencies in the use of scarce resources and because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Society remains somewhat conflicted about the place for livestock agriculture within the food systems (referenda in the US to mandate certain types of poultry production as a measure of animal welfare, for example) while globally the demand for livestock products grows, particularly in previously underdeveloped economies as they become wealthier. Animal diseases remain major problems for animals and livestock production, globally, and the public response to certain methods of disease treatment (vaccination, for example) also increases the complexity of livestock management.
Genomics can provide a method of identifying characteristics of animals which are more (less) susceptible to disease or which are more (less) productive allowing for selection of animals through breeding programs that can ameliorate disease or reduce environmental footprints. Although these advances are clearly possible there remain many science policy issues around this new science. For example how should this research be funded – is there a public good aspect to the research suggesting the need for public funding or does the potential private gain to breeders and primary producers suggest a role for private investment? With the potential increases in speed of genetic improvement possible with genomics, are there issues of domestic animal biodiversity that need to be more broadly debated within Canadian society or given the history of agriculture, is animal genetic selection something that remains essentially a private decision? Do we understand the process of adoption of new technologies associated with farmers of varying agricultural production units, of various demographic characteristics and of various different kinds of social networks? If the process of adoption is likely to be slow (for cost or other reasons) are there policy procedures which need to be introduced to encourage adoption (or not)? Are the views of the Canadian public on the appropriateness of these uses of genomics an important criteria in developing science policy or should it be assumed that the public will become educated and accepting?
In this panel the role of livestock genomics in society will be considered. The science case for the necessity of livestock genomics will be discussed. The regulatory oversight of biotechnology in animal agriculture, in the context of both genetic modification and genomics, will be presented. Influences on producer adoption and possible disadoption of genomics in breeding decisions will be identified and contextualised through previous empirical research on rBST adoption (recominbinant bovine somatotropin) in the US. An industry perspective on the role of genomics in livestock production will be described. The views of the Canadian public on this use of genomics and on various interventions related to the use of genomics will be presented from surveys conducted in 2012.
Addressing the Food and Fuel Demands Through Private, Producer and Public Partnerships Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Richard Gray
Canadian Agricultural Innovation and Regulation Network (CAIRN)
The objective of this session is to identify the need for Private, Producer and Public partnerships in Biotechnology research.
The first presentation by Greg Graff will provide a very important update on the global private and public ownership of agricultural and medical Biotechnology IP. The second paper by Frank Curtis will provide an international comparison of funding models for wheat research, highlighting the important role that IP rights play in driving private agricultural research investment. Having the stage set, the third paper by Richard Gray will argue that 4P models of private-producer-public partnerships are needed to generate the funding required to reinvigorate global agricultural productivity growth. The opportunities for growth in affordable food and fuel will be limited in the absence of better funding models for agricultural research.
Session Moderator: Derek Brewin
Paper one: The Global Genetics IP Landscape
By Gregory Graff (co-authors- Phil Pardey, Bonwoo Koo, and Brian Wright)
Abstract: The paper will report on an extensive study that describes the global genetics IP landscape. As a subset, it will include an update thru 2010 for the crop agricultural biotechnolgy IP situation, in tandem with vet, human biomedical, industrial, etc., essentially the whole of the life sciences industries. Some basic summary statistics customized for a Canadian audience, will be presented.
Paper two: The Relationship Between Intellectual Property Protection Systems and Royalty Collection Efficiency in Wheat: an International Study
By Frank Curtis
Abstract: Wheat breeders in different countries adopt diverse systems for the collection of the royalties that fund further research. Factors including national legislation, structure of the seed business and prevailing farming practices influence the type and effectiveness of the various royalty collection systems. Market data from 14 countries is presented and the relationship between the national royalty collection systems and the efficiency of collection is analyzed. In addition, Limagrain experience in developing 4P partnerships is discussed against this funding background.
Paper three: The potential for private-producer-public partnerships to reinvigorate agricultural productivity growth
By Richard Gray
Abstract: The introduction of intellectual property rights (IPRs) to protect knowledge created from agricultural research, development and extension (RD&E) has, in many instances, created strong incentive for private investment and has helped to address the chronic underfunding of agricultural RD&E. Models of levy-based, industry-controlled RD&E, used to create private-producer–public partnerships (4P) also show some promise to address chronic underfunding. This paper will explore the potential for 4P models to fund and govern agricultural research using examples of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and 4P firms in Australian wheat breeding sector.
Theme 4: Science-Technology-Society-Nexus
Resolving the Canadian Paradox: The Need for a Uniquely Canadian Perspective on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Peter Josty
THE CIS, The Centre for Innovation Studies
Canada’s prosperity, apparent economic resiliency and high human development index confronts the observation that Canada appears to have chronically lower productivity than the US. Conventional wisdom is that growth and prosperity depend on productivity, and that productivity is correlated strongly with R&D. However, if this link is so emphatic and direct, it follows that Canada cannot possibly be as prosperous as it is. So is there a Canadian paradox? Or are we merely seeing the result of a misplaced emphasis on inputs like R&D rather than outcomes like innovation? Is there a problem with our conceptualization of innovation and what we expect it to yield? Can this explain why Canada’s existing innovation policies, along with those of many of our OECD counterparts, do not seem to work? Given the many unique features of Canada’s industrial history and structure, particularly the structural position of natural resources within our economy, how can we envisage innovation policy in a positive way that identifies and leverages our industrial strengths amidst tightening global competition?
This panel will bring together a group of leading thinkers from university, public service and corporate backgrounds to debate these questions, structured around critical discussion of a proposal for a uniquely Canadian perspective on innovation policy as developed in a recent position paper by Professor Richard Hawkins. Widely discussed across Canada, the paper argues for a shift in policy emphasis from the current preoccupation with technology producer goods to a more balanced model that includes our capital-intensive sectors, like resources and services. The panel will debate the proposition that one of Canada’s most important and unique advantages in global markets is being both a resource economy and a knowledge economy; that our challenge is to devise innovative ways of ensuring that investments in science and technology generate substantive enterprise that sticks and grows in Canada. The panel will explore how such aims might be achieved through policies that encourage smarter exploitation of the linkage between the production of new knowledge and skills, the extraction, development and management of natural resources, and the growth of high value added services.
The panel session will be motivated by a broad overview of significant recent developments in global innovation scholarship which has shown that innovation is the product of a much wider range of human, economic, social and behavioural factors than previously thought. With reference to recent initiatives in the US, the OECD and the EU to rethink the innovation policy regime, significant gaps will be identified between ideas that currently underpin much Federal and Provincial policy in Canada and the leading edge of “the science of science policy”, where many Canadian scholars are making significant contributions.
Dissecting Canada’s Science & Technology Landscape Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Cate Meechan
Council of Canadian Academies
Canada’s science policy community is seized with issues regarding the current state and the future of science and technology in Canada. As a result, having an in-depth understanding of the state of Canadian S&T is critical for informing discussions about future Canadian policies in a rapidly evolving global S&T environment.
On September 27th, 2012, the Council of Canadian Academies will release its second assessment on the state of S&T in Canada. This evidence-based report is one of the most in-depth examinations of Canadian S&T ever undertaken. The report examines Canadian research strengths across the full spectrum of fields in engineering, the natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences, the arts and humanities. The methodology employed by the 18-member expert panel who conducted the assessment is robust and breaks down the current state of S&T both nationally and regionally. The assessment also provides an understanding of where Canada stands on the international stage and what fields of research are emerging across our country.
Two of the panel members will be asked to speak to the Council’s report and findings. The other two panel members will provide their perspective on what the findings mean for Canada and specifically for Canada’s research community. The panel will provide their reflections and put forward ideas on what Canadian S&T policy must look like going forward to ensure Canada remains on the leading edge for innovation.
Thinking Big: Science Culture and Policy in Canada Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Maryse de la Giroday
Science culture is more than encouraging kids to become scientists to insure our economic future; more than having people visit a science museum or centre and having fun; more than reading an interesting article in a newspaper or magazine about the latest whizbang breakthrough; more than educating people so they become scientifically literate and encourage "good" science policies; it is a comprehensive approach to community- and society-building.
We live in a grand (in English, magnificent and en francais, big) country, the second largest in the world and it behooves us all to be engaged in developing a vibrant science culture which includes:
artists (performing and visual), writers, scientists, children, seniors, games developers, doctors, business people, elected officials, philosophers, government bureaucrats, educators, social scientists, and others as we grapple with 21st century scientific and technical developments.
As scientists work on prosthetic neurons for repair in people with Parkinsons and other neurological diseases, techniques for tissue engineering, self-cleaning windows, exponentially increased tracking capabilities for devices and goods tagged with RFID devices, engineered bacteria that produce petroleum and other products (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Living Foundries project), and more, Canadians will be challenged to understand and adapt to a future that can be only dimly imagined.
Composed of provocative thinkers from the worlds of science writing, science education, art/science work, and scientific endeavour, during this panel discussion they will offer their ideas and visions for a Canadian science culture and invite you to share yours. In addition to answering questions, each panelist will prepare their own question for audience members to answer.
Fundamental Research as a Driver for Long-Term Canadian Innovation: A Missed Window of Opportunity? Case study - stem cells/regenerative medicine. Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Simon-Pierre Demers
University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine Post-Doctoral Association
The overarching objective of this panel is to examine the breadth and nature of the innovation system, its key players and their roles, and mechanisms by which innovation can be sustained in the long-term in the context of a modern and competitive knowledge-based economy. It is in the interest of all Canadians to realize the importance of fundamental research as a driver of long-term innovation, and the potential of emerging fields of research in consolidating Canada's future position as a world leader in a competitive knowledge-based economy. The panel will present examples of innovation success stories that have been made possible through investment in fundamental research. Specifically, it will address the issue of 'Fundamental research as a driver for long-term Canadian innovation: A missed window of opportunity? Case study - stem cells/regenerative medicine.' This issue in general is one of major importance in science and society today, and the case of stem cells in particular engages most if not all categories of science policy stakeholders. The panel will present a diverse range of expert perspectives including American science advocacy to policymakers, an academic viewpoint on the intimate relationship between fundamental research and innovation, and the perspective of a respected UK science policy authority. It will seek to identify and suggest mechanisms by which both 'science can inform policy' as well as 'policy can support science' approaches can be implemented to effectively facilitate promising long-term innovation strategies.
Science and Government: How Governments Access Innovative Science in the Knowledge Economy Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Camille Ryan
University of Saskatchewan
Accurate, objective and independent information is required to inform debate leading to the formation of government policy. It is not clear how governments access appropriate scientific information in the policy development process, or if it is being accessed at the appropriate stage. For example, there is currently a Private Members’ Bill that seeks to investigate “When does life begin?” For another, Bill C-474 (which failed in 2011) sought to introduce non-science factors into the approval of new seed varieties. These examples raise the question: How is objective science accessed to inform debates in what essentially are science-based questions?
Responses to this can be varied: the Prime Ministers’ Office may have access to in-house scientists capable of writing scientifically valid and comprehensive analytical statements or the process may be politically driven whereby Members of Parliament survey constituents to reach non-scientific consensus. How (and if) policymakers and government leaders acquire scientific information thereby informing decision-making and debate is a fundamental part of the policy development process. The role of science in the policy development process has substantial impacts for society as a whole.
The proposed panel will address perceived growing gap between government and science. It will focus on how governments in other jurisdictions use science to build or shape policy. Attention will be given to the kinds of structures that are in place and the lessons that can be learnt from this. The panel experts will present, debate and discuss the various factors affecting policy development and decision-making pertaining to the role of science. The objective is to contrast and compare Canada with other jurisdictions such as the UK and the US.
Here there be Monsters: Science Advice with Uncertainty or Unknowledge Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Peter Gogolek
Natural Resources Canada
Scientists, particularly in the government, are expected to be capable of providing advice on the issues of the day, when requested by the policy forming arms of government. Ideally, this process would involve a dialogue between the scientists and the policy analysts that clarifies the issues and identifies the relevant scientific information. The scientist would then synthesize the scientific knowledge into concrete advice. The process becomes quite complex when the scientific information is incomplete, of dubious quality, apparently contradictory, or even absent. The scientist is then on the horns of a dilemma: training and prudence would have the scientist decline to offer any advice but the professional position of the scientist within the government requires that advice be given. How can the scientist resolve this conflict?
There are several components that have to be addressed in handling this situation:
- What is the difference between risk and uncertainty?
- What are best practices when communicating the uncertainty to the non-scientist?
- How can one extract knowledge from the available scientific data, particularly in the face of apparent contradictions and variable quality?
- How can one address the perception that ‘uncertain’ is the same as ‘arbitrary’?
- Is there a middle ground between stasis (The Precautionary Principle) and laissez faire (let’s see what happens and fix it later if necessary)?
This panel will use the example of drawing up new regulations for industrial flares to illustrate these components of advice in times of uncertainty and unknowledge.
The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese: Turning Talk of Creativity Into a Sustainable Creative Economy Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Mary Anne Moser
Jay Ingram, science writer and broadcaster, and co-founder, Beakerhead
Mary Anne Moser, VP Strategic Communications, Cybera, co-founder, Beakerhead
Haley Simons, Executive Director, CreativeAlberta
Patrick Finn, Professor, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary
Jasmine Palardy, Program Manager, Beakerhead
This session will get you engaged in a creative process. Don’t worry, it’s not a competition. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. This session will be enlightening for anyone interested in science at the societal interface. It will ask participants to experience three ways to propel ingenuity all around us in our everyday science-to-society practices. You will be a part of an experiment that supports the proliferation of ideas, and the propensity to act on them. This session is brought to you by the ambitious arts and engineering collaboration called Beakerhead, launching in Calgary in September 2013.
The Space Science and Technology-Policy-Society NEXUS: Multisectoral Solutions Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Andrew Yau
University of Calgary
This year marks Canada’s 50th anniversary as a space faring nation with the launch of Alouette-1 on September 29th, 1962. Canada was the third nation in space after Russia and the US and like most countries today, is increasingly dependent on space science and technologies. Space has become an intrinsic part of the Canadian economic and social fabric: this includes from satellite radio and television broadcast to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (e.g. Global Positioning System) to a wide range of Earth observation applications such as weather forecasting, natural, agricultural and oceanic resources management, Arctic and marine surveillance, etc., as well as traditional activities within the fields of space science and technology and exploration.
The CSPC 2012 themes of Agriculture, Energy and Health all see important contributions from space technologies as enabling tools. Furthermore, these technologies also represent an important source of science data. However, putting space technologies to use to help address policy challenges such as drought, contaminant monitoring or remote health care require the careful knitting together of the science, technical and engineering expertise that resides across government, industry and academia. Therefore, optimizing the interplay between the policy priorities of government and the space-enabled solutions found in the public and private sector will lead to greater innovation and enhanced service delivery to address many of today’s pressing social, economic and environmental issues.
This session will feature a panel of space experts from industry, academia and government and will explore the following questions:
- What are the major policy challenges in fields such as agriculture, energy, health, etc., that could benefit from space technologies and what are the roles of industry, academia and government in enabling those solutions?
- What are the major gaps (e.g., funding, coordination, collaboration) that must be addressed to ensure these technologies are developed/implemented to help address policy issues?
- How can the space science – policy dialogue be improved to ensure policy and decision makers are made aware of the space technologies that can help address pressing social issues such as climate change, drought/flood monitoring or security and defence?
Talking to Canadians about Biotechnology: Should we wake up the neighbourhood? Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Giuliano Tolusso
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
This session would pose to panelists and participants the question of whether greater public awareness/education on agricultural biotechnology and how it is regulated in Canada would pave the way for a more neutral public space better informed by science and less dominated by emotion, thus leading to a higher quality of public discourse.
Public opinion research conducted for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2010-11 reported that overall confidence in the regulatory and approval systems for biotechnology has eroded. However, focus group results suggested that there is also very little knowledge about regulation. The survey results showed the same: a majority of Canadians have little (40% not very familiar) or no familiarity (42%) with the process by which biotechnology is regulated. Compared to a similar survey conducted in 2006, the case could be made that the “regulatory knowledge gap” in terms of biotechnology is widening. The latest survey also suggests a correlation between claimed familiarity with the regulatory systems in place, and confidence in these systems. Those with more familiarity with the regulations are generally more likely to believe they are strict, and are more likely to have confidence in the overarching system. One issue at play when it comes to the existence of this “regulatory knowledge gap,” is the value of doing more to communicate with or educate Canadians on biotechnology and how it is regulated. The 2010-11 survey results point to gaps in understanding of the issues and realities in terms of regulations and governance.
Other recent surveys (e.g., International Food Information Council’s 2012 “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology & Sustainability”) showed doubts and opposition can be assuaged given exposure to factual, science-based information. For instance, when consumers were presented with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current labeling policy for foods produced using biotechnology - which calls for labeling only when the food’s nutritional content or its composition is changed, or when a potential safety issue is identified - 66 percent of respondents indicated their support for the policy.
This session will take the form of a moderated panel with four 15-minute presentations. One will feature an overview of Canadians’ attitudes towards biotechnology with a particular focus on issues around their knowledge of and confidence in Canada’s science-based approach to its regulation. Another will examine the potential for and effectiveness of various specialized engagement mechanisms (e.g., “citizens’ juries”) that could be used to provide a technical and scientific counterbalance to what has traditionally been an emotionally-charged debate. The remaining two presentations would provide perspectives on public knowledge and engagement from the agricultural biotechnology industry – the staunchest promoters of the technology and its benefits to society, and a representative of the organic sector - which often advocates publicly for tighter controls on the use of biotechnology in agriculture, and labeling of its derived products.
Entrepreneurship as a vehicle for innovation Show/Hide Details
Organizer: Dominique Garro-Strauss
International Development Research Centre
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. We work with researchers and innovators in those countries to find practical, long-term solutions to the social, economic, and environmental problems their societies face. One of the aims of the Centre’s Supporting Inclusive Growth (SIG) program is to enhance small and medium sized enterprise development, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Entrepreneurship and policies that encourage entrepreneurship are vital catalysts for innovation and productivity among enterprises.
A clear case study of SIG’s support to entrepreneurship and policy-oriented research that promotes inclusive growth is its multi-regional funding to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) program. GEM is an international study of entrepreneurship which has been used by some 85 countries around the world since its launch in 1999. GEM is the largest study of entrepreneurial dynamics in existence and provides a wealth of information that could aid government policymakers as well as the business community better understand the key bottlenecks and opportunities for nurturing entrepreneurship, enterprise formation and growth. With annual surveys undertaken on country basis, GEM measures entrepreneurial activity based on interviews with individuals (rather than studying firms, or SMEs), in order to document the behavior and characteristics of nascent entrepreneurs as well as established business owners and the characteristics of the businesses they are involved in. The degree of innovation, competiveness, and growth expectation is studied, as well as the social environment and it’s conduciveness to entrepreneurship.
This panel will showcase IDRC’s support to GEM in three regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The GEM studies in the different regions have their own specific thematic focus. GEM Africa focuses on youth entrepreneurship and perceptions, aspirations and practices of young entrepreneurs. Specific attention is paid to policies that promote high performance and high growth firms in a recent GEM MENA study. Finally, there is an emphasis on creative industries and social entrepreneurship in the Caribbean GEM project. However, all regional initiatives share a main goal to provide an instrument to measure the role and development impact of entrepreneurship, inform public policy efforts and produce a baseline for setting policy targets and enable monitoring of performance trends.
The Canadian perspective will also be included in the panel discussions through the participation of Peter Josty, Executive Director of The Centre for Innovation Studies (THECIS – Calgary). Dr Josty will discuss the relevance of the GEM methodology for the Canadian context and present what a GEM Canada initiative (none has been undertaken in the last 9 years) would look like for 2013 and what is its value for the Canadian research and policy community.
2012 Special Sessions
Creating policy consensus by maximizing dissent: a working session to design the CSPC Hub Show/Hide Details
Have you ever participated in consultations to develop policy where it seemed that nobody could agree on anything? GREAT! We want you in this working session. In 2011 CSPC took a bold step forward with the announcement of its Business Plan to become an entity with operations throughout the year that would build and act on the momentum generated by the conferences. One of the business lines identified by CSPC stakeholders was to create a Hub that would serve Canada's science policy community by generating and sharing knowledge and tools relevant to pressing issues. What do you think this Hub should look like? How should it operate? How should it engage stakeholders? What are the key levers for science policy in Canada? Come to this session and experience a policy-making exercise that maximizes the value of dissent, and while you're at it - help CSPC take it's next steps into becoming a bold player in Canada's science policy landscape.
Preparation: to participate in this session you are requested to familiarize yourself with the following section of the CSPC business plan (link provided).
Genome Canada's GPS event: The Innovation Continuum: Moving Promising Technologies off the Shelf Show/Hide Details
Innovation, the commercialization of invention such as scientific endeavors, is widely acknowledged as crucial to modern industrial economies. While Canadian policy-makers have emphasized the importance of scientific research for societal benefit, less is known about how such activities can lead to commercialization, and as a result promising technologies have been left sitting on the shelf.
We propose the 'TCOS' Framework of Innovative Uncertainties, which conceptualizes innovation as a process of overcoming uncertainty from multiple perspectives – Technological (i.e. scientific and engineering feasibility), Commercial (e.g. knowledge about user needs, industry structure, etc.), Organizational (intellectual property management and capabilities) and Social (e.g. the social perception of the technology, unintended impacts on certain stakeholders, environment, etc. ).
Drawing on two Genome Canada GE3LS studies on the commercialization of forest pathogen detection technology and lignin-based bio-products as an alternative to petroleum feedstocks, we discuss how the provision of knowledge about commercial, organizational and social uncertainties at the earliest phases of technology development can move promising technologies off the shelf.
This panel will launch the 2012-2013 GPS series Where Genomics, Public Policy and Society Meet, which Genome Canada has organized since 2009 to facilitate a dialogue between policymakers and researchers exploring issues at the interface of genomics and its ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social aspects (or GE3LS).