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Departmental Science Advisors Network

Providing good science advice to deputies, ministers and Cabinet comes not from a single official or office, but from a network of science advisors within governmental departments and agencies who are formally engaged at critical steps in a process. As a result, in 2018 the Office of the Chief Science Advisor announced it would seek to establish a network of departmental science advisors (DSA).

The DSA Network is chaired by the Chief Science Advisor and typically meets on a monthly basis to:

  • Collaborate or champion multi-departmental initiatives identified by the DSA Network;
  • Act as peer reviewers for initiatives;
  • Promote the use of science-based evidence to inform policy development, practice and evaluation;
  • Share best practices to support each other’s respective mandates;
  • Act as a conduit for information and advice from the scientific and research communities to administration and government, individually or through the coordination of expert panels or bilaterals;
  • Promote a co-ordinated approach to science advice to the government; and
  • Collectively stay abreast of activities and advice streams across government.

With diverse areas of expertise to share and draw from, members are building a robust advisory function that will encourage collaboration across multiple sectors as the network continues to grow in the coming months and years.



Departmental Science Advisors Network Biographies

  1. Sarah Gallagher, Science Advisor to the President, Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
  2. Shawn Marshall, Departmental Science Advisor, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  3. Pascal Michel, Chief Science Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
  4. Vik Pant, Chief Scientist & Chief Science Advisor, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)
  5. Paul Snelgrove, Departmental Science Advisor, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)
  6. Cara Tannenbaum, Departmental Science Advisor, Health Canada (HC)
  7. Danial Wayner, Departmental Science Advisor, National Research Council Canada (NRC)
  8. Gordon Lovegrove, Departmental Science Advisor, Transport Canada (TC) and Infrastructure Canada (INFC)


Sarah Gallagher

Sarah Gallagher
Science Advisor to the President
Canadian Space Agency

Education

  • B.A., Physics, Yale University (1995)
  • Ph.D., Astronomy and Astrophysics, Penn State University (2002)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, MIT Kavli Institute For Astrophysics and Space Research (2002-2003)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Spitzer Space Telescope, University of California, Los Angeles (2003-2006)

Career

  • Appointed as the Science Advisor to the President at the CSA in 2018.
  • Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western University.
  • Research area: growing supermassive black holes at the centres of distant galaxies and the interactions between galaxies in crowded environments.
  • Advisory committee member for the Hubble Space Telescope and two space data archives.
  • Director on the Board of the Canadian Astronomical Society.
  • Co-author, "A Vision for Canadian Space Exploration," a white paper that presents a vision of a robust and dynamic ecosystem of space exploration development.

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Shawn Marshall

Shawn Marshall
Departmental Science Advisor
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Education

  • B.A.Sc., Engineering Science from the University of Toronto (1991)
  • Ph.D., Geophysics and Astronomy, the University of British Columbia (1996)

Career

  • Appointed as the Departmental Science Advisor in 2019.
  • Professor in the Department of Geography and a Canada Research Chair in Climate Change at the University of Calgary.
  • Cryosphere scientist with a specialization in glaciology, using a combination of modeling and field research to study glacier and ice sheet dynamics and cryosphere-climate processes in western and Arctic Canada, Iceland, and Greenland.
  • He has been involved as a Board member with the Arctic Institute of North America and through numerous cryosphere science and related committees within Canada and internationally, including current service on the Science Leadership Council of the international Mountain Research Initiative, as the Vice Chair of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Cryosphere Study Group, and as the Canadian representative to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) Cryosphere Working Group.

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Pascal Michel

Pascal Michel
Chief Science Officer
Public Health Agency of Canada

Education

  • D.M.V., Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal
  • M.P.V.M., Masters in Preventative Veterinary Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health, University of California, Davis (1992)
  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Guelph (1997)

Career

  • Pascal Michel was appointed Chief Science Officer of PHAC in 2015.
  • He is primarily responsible for overseeing and directing excellence and innovation in science, and for organizational leadership with respect to the Agency's science policies.
  • Pascal Michel has worked in academia on various joint appointments where he has published numerous scientific papers as an author and reviewer and has established strong collaborative relationships nationally and internationally.
  • He is a co-founder of a multi-sectorial research center focusing on the epidemiology of zoonoses and developed long lasting relationships with the United Nations for providing a global health expertise to an international engagement on the peaceful uses of space sciences.

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Vik Pant

Vik Pant
Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor
Natural Resources Canada

Education

  • B.A., Finance and Management Information Systems, Villanova University
  • M.A., Information Technology, Harvard University
  • M.B.A., International Management, University of London
  • Ph.D., Information Science, University of Toronto

Career

  • Appointed as the Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor of NRCan (2019) and reports directly to the Deputy Minister.
  • Vik is responsible for providing strategic direction to build capacity within NRCan’s scientific community, promoting a departmental vision for S&T and assessment of future needs.
  • Vik is responsible for accelerating the creative application of innovative digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, to enhance NRCan’s ability to conduct research and analysis, as well as provide evidence-based policy advice that is supported by advanced analytical techniques. Vik works with counterparts from other science-based organizations to ensure that the management of federal policy and research activities support and align with Government of Canada priorities.
  • Vik joined NRCan from the MaRS Discovery District, a technology start-up accelerator in Toronto, where he was a Senior Technical Advisor of Applied Artificial Intelligence. Prior to that, he held progressively strategic positions in leading software enterprises including Oracle, SAP and Open Text.

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Paul Snelgrove

Paul Snelgrove
Departmental Science Advisor
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Education

  • B.Sc. Hon. (Biology), Memorial University of Newfoundland (1984)
  • M.Sc. (Oceanography), McGill University (1987)
  • Ph.D. (Biological Oceanography), Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT/WHOI) (1993)

Career

  • Appointed as the Departmental Science Advisor (2020).
  • Professor of Ocean Sciences and Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.
  • Since 2008, has led the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, which works on all 3 of Canada’s oceans to develop new tools and approaches to support sustainable oceans.
  • Since 2017, Associate Scientific Director of The Ocean Frontier Institute, which brings together researchers in Atlantic Canada and beyond to support research on safe and sustainable oceans.
  • Biological oceanographer working in coastal and deep-sea marine community ecology and conservation, ecosystem functioning and connectivity of fish and seafloor invertebrates, biodiversity patterns and drivers.

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Cara Tannenbaum

Cara Tannenbaum
Departmental Science Advisor
Health Canada

Education

  • M.D., McGill University (1994), specialization in internal medicine (1997) & geriatrics (2000)
  • M.Sc. Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University (2002)

Career

  • Appointed as the Departmental Science Advisor (2019) and reports directly to the Deputy Minister.
  • Professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal.
  • Provides independent scientific advice to Health Canada senior management on complex priority files.
  • Champions a new Framework for Science and Research Excellence across the department.
  • Launched Health Canada’s first Science and Research Integration Network.
  • Since 2015 Dr. Tannenbaum is also the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute on Gender and Health. In this capacity, at the request of Health Canada, Dr. Tannenbaum is overseeing a number of collaborative projects aimed at strengthening the integration of sex and gender into key policy and program initiatives.
  • Dr. Tannenbaum is a member of Health Products and Food Branch's (HPFB) Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women (SAC-HPW).
  • Dr. Tannenbaum is the recipient of several awards including the Canadian Science Policy Trailblazer Award, the Purvis Memorial Award from the Society of Chemical Industry, the William B. Abrams Award from the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the May Cohen Gender Equity Award from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

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Dan Wayner

Dan Wayner
Departmental Science Advisor and Chief Science Officer
National Research Council Canada

Education

  • B.Sc., McMaster University (1980)
  • Ph.D., Dalhousie University (1984)
  • Two-year postdoctoral position with K.U. Ingold at the NRC in the area of organic free radical chemistry

Career

  • Appointed as the Departmental Science Advisor and Chief Science Officer at the NRC (2018).
  • Prior to his retirement (2016) he served as VP Emerging Technologies at the NRC.
  • Director General of the NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (SIMS, 2003-2010).
  • Following a successful research career, he shifted his focus to R&D management as founding Director General of the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT, 2001-2003).
  • He established new and stronger partnerships with universities and industry, building on complementary strengths and synergies. One of these with the University of Ottawa, the Joint Attosecond Science Laboratory (JASLab), established Ottawa as the "attosecond science" capital of the world.
  • He carried out seminal work in the electrochemistry and thermochemistry of transient reaction intermediates at the NRC Division of Chemistry (1986). He served as leader of the Molecular Interfaces Program, an interdisciplinary research initiative that earned worldwide recognition for its ground-breaking work in self-directed nanoscale chemical reactions using scanning tunneling microscopy.
  • His contributions to science have been recognized with a number of awards including the Rutherford Medal – Chemistry of the Royal Society of Canada (1999) and election as a Fellow to both the Royal Society of Canada and the Chemical Institute of Canada.

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Gordon Lovegrove

Gordon Lovegrove
Departmental Science Advisor and Chief Science Officer
Transport Canada (TC) and Infrastructure Canada (INFC)

Education

  • Ph.D. in civil engineering (sustainable land use and transport), University of British Columbia (2006)
  • Diploma in Public Administration, Cap College (1996)
  • MBA in Public Policy, Simon Fraser University (1993)
  • M. Eng, Civil Engineering, UBC (1988)
  • BA. Sc., Civil Engineering, UBC (1982)

Career

  • Appointed in 2021 as both Transport Canada (TC) and Infrastructure Canada’s (INFC) Departmental Science Advisor. He reports directly to the Deputy Ministers of TC and INFC.
  • Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia
  • Leading expert in sustainable transportation, infrastructure and community development, road safety and Hydrail (hydrogen fuel-cell/battery hybrid rail power).
  • Expert witness and internationally recognized consultant on sustainable development and transport safety.
  • He has published over 80 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, conference proceedings and books. He has also presented his work at national and international conferences.
  • Vice President of Technical Programs for the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and member of many national and international committees.
  • In 2020, he received the Community Service Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of British Columbia for his efforts in helping to create sustainable communities.

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