40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada

In March 2011 the Council of Canadian Academies was asked by the Canadian Consortium of Ocean Research Universities (CCORU) to undertake a two-part initiative on ocean science in Canada. The first phase was to identify priority research themes with the support of a Core Group of 22 ocean experts from Canada and abroad.  This activity culminated in the development of the workshop report, 40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada (PDF). The report was publicly released on July 17th, 2012.


The world’s oceans are intrinsically important to Canada’s environment, culture, public health, economy and society. For a country as geographically large and diverse as Canada addressing the challenges of ocean science is complex and requires a high degree of coordination among scientific institutions and technology hubs. Therefore, a key challenge for Canada’s science community is determining strategic research priorities that will be of value to both those who conduct research and for those who use research.

The report, 40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada identifies 40 priority research questions that, if answered, would have the greatest impact on addressing future opportunities and challenges relating to ocean science in Canada. The 40 questions were developed in a collaborative, open and democratic process during a two-day workshop. 

 The 40 questions are grouped according to the following research themes:

  1. Improving fundamental scientific understanding
  2. Monitoring, data, and information management
  3. Understanding impacts of human activities
  4. Informing management and governance

The Council has now begun work on an in-depth, evidence-based assessment on ocean science. Information about this assessment can be found here.

The Core Group

The Core Group, chaired by David Fissel, Chair and Senior Scientist of ASL Environmental Sciences Inc., was comprised of researchers, policy-makers and industry representatives.

For additional information or media inquiries, please contact:

Samantha Rae Ayoub, Communications and Publishing Director at 613-567-5000 ext. 256 or

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