The State of Canada’s Science Culture

The Minister of State (Science and Technology) on behalf of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (CSTMC), Natural Resources Canada, and Industry Canada has asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess the state of Canada’s science culture.

Progress Report

The Expert Panel on the State of Canada’s Science Culture held its fourth face-to-face meeting from December 9-10th in Ottawa. At this meeting, the Panel considered comments from the peer review process. The report is now undergoing final revisions and will be published in 2014.

Background

Over the past 30 years, public interest and debate has been steadily growing in Canada and abroad over the need to foster a science culture as part of the national science and technology agenda. In this period, significant government and private investments have contributed to the development of hundreds of individual science culture programs and institutions.

Now more than ever the volume of programs and data support the need for a national examination of issues, such as the performance indicators that best reflect the vitality of Canada's science culture, and a need to understand where Canada ranks internationally. The expert panel will be asked to consider these and other questions such as what factors influence an interest in science among youth; what are the key components of the informal system that supports science culture; and what strengths and weaknesses exist in the Canadian system.

Assessments of science culture can focus either on science in the general culture, or the culture among scientists. This assessment will focus principally on the former, with additional interest in understanding the underlying connections among entrepreneurship, innovation and science. By gaining a better understanding of the elements of a science culture system and the measures of its success, this assessment will inform policy analysis and help to direct public and private investments in a constructive and timely way.

The full assessment process includes a rigorous peer review exercise to ensure the report is objective, balanced and evidence-based. Following the review and approval by the Council’s Board of Governors, the complete report will be made available on the Council’s website in both official languages. More information about the Council’s process can be found here.

Question

What is the state of Canada's science culture?

Sub-questions:

  1. What is the state of knowledge regarding the impacts of having a strong science culture?
  2. What are the indicators of a strong science culture? How does Canada compare with other countries against these indicators? What is the relationship between output measures and major outcome measures?
  3. What factors (e.g., cultural, economic, age, gender) influence interest in science, particularly among youth?
  4. What are the critical components of the informal system that supports science culture (roles of players, activities, tools and programs run by science museums, science centres, academic and not-for-profit organizations and the private sector)? What strengths and weaknesses exist in Canada's system?
  5. What are the effective practices that support science culture in Canada and in key competitor countries?

Expert Panel

The Expert Panel on the State of Canada’s Science Culture is chaired by Dr. Arthur Carty, O.C., Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo. For a complete list of panel members visit the Expert Panel on the State of Canada's Science Culture page.

For further information, please contact:

Dane Berry, Associate Program Director at 613-567-5000 ext. 278 or dane.berry@scienceadvice.ca

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